Branch Line railtours raise £55,000 for two charities

TWO Branch Line Society railtours in March raised a total of £55,000 for charity.

More than £43,000 of the total was from March 18’s ‘Bound for Craigy’ InterCity 125 tour of unusual lines and depots along the length of the East Coast Main Line.

A bespoke lamp bracket had been made to fit the ‘Bound for Craigy’ headboard onto power car No. 43300 Craigentinny 100 on March 18 prior to the train’s departure at 05.30. The initial destination was Bounds Green depot. GEOFF PLUMB

Another £12,000 was raised on March 12, when the BLS ran a farewell tour for Southern’s Class 442 EMUs (see Railtours).

Funds raised by the HST tour will go to the Railway Children charity, which supports children at risk on the streets in the UK, India and East Africa, while those from the ‘442’ trip are being donated to Southern’s corporate charities – Eastbourne-based Embrace and Luton’s Keech Hospice.

The ‘Bound for Craigy’ tour was promoted by the BLS in conjunction with Virgin Trains East Coast, the 125 Group and Preserved Locomotives Enthusiasts Group (PLEG).

Those on board the tour included HST designer Sir Kenneth Grange, who said: “Four decades on, the HST remains the backbone of the rail network and has had a major impact on the general life of most people in this country.

“I think it’s still fair to say that the Inter-City 125 remains one of my proudest achievements and it has given me a great deal of pleasure to share this anniversary with so many other HST fans for such a good cause.”

The 800 miles travelled by a one-day railtour was the longest in the society’s 62-year history, and has created a new UK record for a one-day charity railtour in terms of funds raised.

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