The South Devon Railway has chalked up its third successive record breaking season and carried over 112,000 passengers for the first time - an appropriate finale to the SDR's 20th anniversary year, beating the three previous highest seasons' figures that were achieved in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
In December alone, some 10,000 passengers rode on our Santa by Steam, Carols Down the Line and Mince Pie trains. Final figures were 102,021 adults and children plus another 10,379 under fives, bring a total of 112,400, an increase of 853 or 0.84% on 2010's record figures.
Achieving over 100,000 passengers for the fourth time in five years, especially during a severe economic recession, is a major milestone for the largely volunteer-run railway. The SDR has now carried a grand total of 1,768,343 passengers since it took over the line from the Dart Valley Railway Company in 1991, who sold the line off for being 'uneconomic'. It is now run as a registered charity with mainly volunteer workers and it is investing heavily in the railway's infrastructure. General manager, Dick Wood, who has been at the helm since 2008 and a volunteer since 1972, said: "Naturally, everyone can feel very proud of achieving our best ever results with a record number of people carried in 2011. I hope that we can continue to beat the recession in 2012 too by offering our visitors a great day out. "Our success has been achieved by not only broadening the SDR's undoubted nostalgic appeal to people of all ages, but also by providing better visitor facilities and investing in our future year on year."
31st December 2011
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