We are on our way!!
It has always been said that good things always come out of bad.
When we first embarked on building of the extension to Bala Lake Railway, we knew how important it was for the railway, the local economy of Bala and the surrounding area. But we never expected that this importance and now urgency would be so greatly demonstrated from the situation we find ourselves today in this current crisis.
Natural Resources Wales are about to embark on a £6.5M scheme to upgrade the flood defences of the town. The railway’s extension will run over 360m of the defences along the north shore. Thanks to their tremendous support, NRW agreed to incorporate the additional work required to build the railway. Due to the economies of scale, they were able to keep the cost of the railway’s contribution down to £277,000 providing we were able to commit to them by the end of February 2021. To miss this opportunity would have put the whole project in jeopardy and send costs spiralling into the millions. Fund-raising had gone well but the deadline, fast approaching a target to raise £50,000 in one month, was set.
By setting that target to raise the final amount in one month in order to meet our commitment to Natural Resources Wales, we held our breath hoping that people would also appreciate the urgency and importance.
That month has now passed and I can announce that people have supported us, and not only has that target been met but it has absolutely smashed it raising £71,000. This is beyond our wildest expectations. We have been bowled over by how wonderful people have been. We have had support not only from the town of Bala but from all over Wales. This support has extended throughout the entire UK and as far away as France, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
The Bala Lake Railway Trust, all the staff and volunteers of the railway, the businesses and residents of the town of Bala, would like to express their heartfelt thanks to each and every person who has supported us and donated. You are now forever part of this railway.
Not only did this enable us to make our commitment to Natural Resources Wales, we can begin to press ahead with the next phase of designing and costing the building of the embankment that will run down on a 1 in 120 gradient from the flood defences towards the new station.
There is a long way to go and fund-raising will continue apace to fund other facets like final land purchases, building of the engine shed, station building and signalling.
To quote a previous prime minister:
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
This means that if we carry on at the same pace, we could have half the entire route built within the next year.
Remember, this is back to Victorian pioneering engineering of 150 years ago, in building a brand new railway serving Bala. This is not the restoration or reinstatement of an old railway.
Once we are allowed to travel, please bring your friends and families to see us. I would be very pleased to show you how important your help has been.
Julian Birley BEM
28th February 2021
The route with a view. With this incredible support, It won’t be long. Thank you to everyone.