Dear followers of the Boardroom Blog,
I am pleased to tell you that our railway has had a very good first half of the financial year. We are on course to have our third excellent financial year since the line was reconnected in October 2012.
In summary the unaudited P&L numbers are as follows;
£000 Actual to 31/07/15 Budget to 31/07/15
Turnover 836 793
Net Profit/(Loss) 84 (20)
This better than budget performance has been driven by the success of all our major special events starting with the Cheltenham Festival in March through to the Bus Rally in July. Although this has not been a great summer, we have been lucky with the weather at all the events except the Diesel Gala ,where the organisers had to endure atrocious weather on two of the three days. Despite that they managed to put on a great show and actually increased visitor numbers!
Passenger numbers for scheduled services are up around 7%, and group bookings have already exceeded those of the whole of last year which itself was a record. Fish and Chip trains are as popular as ever and Fire & Drive and Diesel Drive are sold out.
With a steady stream of income from operations and very good grant support from the GWRT we have had the funds to push on strongly on all aspects of getting to Broadway. Line side clearance, fencing and drainage work have proceeded steadily, Civil Engineering have finished the repair of the culvert and slip at Laverton, and Permanent Way have purchased and laid the track ballast as far as Little Buckland to which point the rail we bought towards the end of last year can shortly be laid. In the second half we hope to have the funds to clear all of the line side so that Civil Engineering can identify whether any significant slips exist and, hopefully, enough funds to ballast the track bed as far as Peasebrook Farm.
Meanwhile, as I'm sure you know, the station comes on apace with the platforms and signal box nearing completion, and with the exciting event this month of the completion of the foundations for the station building itself. The steel frame for the building has been ordered as have most, if not all, of the bricks, including some very expensive bricks for the door and window surrounds to ensure a truly heritage station. There are interesting developments on the footbridge, and we are planning to spend enough on it so that the hopefully towers (only) can be in place this financial year.
While, for an enterprise of our size, all of this is about as good as it gets, nevertheless, the sobering truth is that we still need more than a million pounds to get to Broadway. As we are intent on doing so as planned for 2018 we will have a follow up tax efficient share issue next Easter (2016), building on our success with the 'Bridges to Broadway' appeal.
Before I finish I must point out that the railway is not only focussed on Broadway and capital has been spent, for example, on bringing the platform 2 at CRC almost to a finished state. In addition, the newly repainted model railway coach was purchased by the railway earlier in the year, and we have also bought a Mk 1 TSO carriage and, most recently, a Mk1 BG. Finally, the concreting of the David Page loco shed proceeds at a measured pace and will , on completion, be a superb facility.
That's about it, don't hesitate to contact me directly if there's anything I can help with.
GWSR PLC Finance Director