Bluebell Railway needs £300,000 to steam out of lockdown

The Bluebell Railway needs to raise £300,000 to continue operating after lockdown Credit: ITV Meridian

A steam railway that has starred in Downton Abbey and Poirot needs £300,000 to help it recover from lockdown.

The Bluebell Railway in Uckfield in East Sussex has hosted big names including Daniel Radcliffe and Dame Maggie Smith during its 60-year history. But now, with the coronavirus pandemic slashing income for attractions across the UK, the heritage rail line knows that the recovery period will be "critical".

"Surviving the lockdown was the first priority but the recovery period once the Bluebell Railway reopens is also critical.

Fundraising organiser Trevor Swainson

The Bluebell Railway launched an initial appeal in March after it closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It asked supporters to donate and the appeal has raised more than £50,000 so far.

It is now extending the appeal with targeted requests and is hoping to raise at least £250,000 more. Alongside the appeal, the railway has created a specialist website to allow people to scout for filming locations.

The heritage railway launched a fundraising campaign in March Credit: Bluebell Railway

"We pride ourselves on being able to offer the very best experience for film production companies with a dedicated department which specialises in supporting filming activities.

Mike Hopps, a member of the railway's filming team
The railway's fundraising team say recovery out of lockdown will be "critical" Credit: ITV Meridian

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