The not-for-profit railway conservation has taken a huge blow amid the Coronavirus crisis, postponing its new season opening due to health concerns of both staff and the public. Now, the charity is expected to suffer a huge financial loss, which NYMR has said could “threaten the very existence” of the railway.
Due to begin running again in April, NYMR has confirmed the new season will be postponed indefinitely, with all upcoming events including festivals and tours also cancelled as a result of the current pandemic.
Operated by volunteers (most of which sit in the ‘high risk’ group for COVID-19 due to being over 70), the NYMR has been forced to make the decision with health and safety in mind, with a spokesperson saying:
“In light of the current government advice, we have made the difficult decision to delay the opening of North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s 2020 season until further notice.
“While there have been no reported cases of coronavirus at the railway, the wellbeing of our visitors, staff and volunteers is our absolute priority and matters of health and safety have our complete attention.”
As a result of the postponement, which sits in-line with the Government’s social distancing advice, the charity is expected to lose approximately £1 million in the coming weeks, a huge blow to the piece of Yorkshire heritage. Launching an appeal for help during these dark times, the public call-out for donations reads:
“We could potentially lose up to £1 million over the upcoming weeks. Figures of this magnitude could threaten the very existence of the railway. Please help now and support the NYMR to ensure we survive.”
The railway is the UK’s busiest heritage railway and attracts more than 400,000 passengers annually – and while all money generated within the business is put back into the railway, the railway still does a whole lot for Yorkshire’s economy, attracting thousands to some of North Yorkshire’s prettiest towns and villages like Levisham and Goathland.
As the NYMR can’t claim insurance compensation for business interruption and no Government aid for charities during this time has been announced as of yet, the NYMR are asking for donations to ensure their survival throughout the crisis, encouraging any charity, no matter how big or small.
If you’d like to help, find out more or donate here.