18 May 2020

Glenbrook Vintage Railway seeks passenger support for historical train

5:07 pm on 18 May 2020

The operators of one of New Zealand's largest heritage railways are worried that the loss of passengers over the lockdown could mean that its historical trains will be mothballed indefinitely.

The train from Glenbrook Vintage Railway.

A train from Glenbrook Vintage Railway. Photo: Facebook/Glenbrook Village Railway

Glenbrook Vintage Railway operates trains dating back to 1878, and usually carries around 30,000 passengers during a normal operating season.

Without support, it could be forced to shed its staff.

Glenbrook Vintage Railway general manager Tim Kerwin told Morning Report it was looking at options to stay afloat.

"Things are pretty rough right now," he said.

"We shut our doors soon as New Zealand went to a level 3 stage and we're unlikely to run any trains for any passengers until we get down to level 1 and even then we need to see what the restrictions will be."

He said with trains it was tricky because if they remained unused, it was expensive to get them running again.

"We're looking for support to get us through the interim, to cover our lost income and projected lost income from the effects of Covid-19, and to keep our trains ready to be operating."

To keep the wheels turning of the almost 50-year-old service that seen 1.5 million people through its gates, Kerwin said a crowdfunding campaign was launched.

"We receive no funding from central or local government aside from the odd grant here or there for large projects.

"We're funded by passengers coming through our gates. We're looking for public support to get us through."

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