Railways report healthy visitor figures for 2016

THE nation may be suffering from ‘Brexit Blues’ in some quarters following the EU referendum last June, but our preserved railways have had a good year in 2016, some recording record visitor numbers and most seeing a year-on-year passenger increase.

The Nene Valley Railway enjoyed a good year in 2016 with passenger numbers up by 15%, putting the Peterborough line on a good footing to start its 40th anniversary year. On hire BR ‘2MT’ No. 78018 looks well with its ‘Blood & Custard’ Mk1 set at Castor on December 27. ANDREW BELL

The trend may not be unanimous, but those railways that responded to The RM’s request for visitor information were keen to report an upturn in traffic.

The South Devon Railway, for example, has seen an impressive 6.9% increase from 2015, with 103,906 ticket sales, compared to the 97,200 of the previous year.

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A similar percentage increase was recorded by the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, although the line’s financial year runs from April to April so there is no final figure available yet. That said, by the end of the year the Yorkshire line had carried 98,203 visitors, up 6% on 2015.

The Bluebell Railway has also reported an increase year-on-year of a little under 3%, with 143,000 tickets sold and 16,650 general admissions, totalling 159,560. This compares healthily to the 2015 figure of 155,500.

Read more in February’s issue of The RM – out now!

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