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Severn Valley jobs go as railway visitor fall

 

Severn Valley jobs go as railway visitors fall

Wednesday 6th April 2011, 11:29AM BST.


 

Jobs have been axed and little-used train services scrapped from timetables as the historic Severn Valley Railway tries to get back on track following a fall in passenger numbers.

Bosses today said they had been forced to make “tough, unpalatable” decisions. A total of 12 positions at the railway have been axed, including that of traffic manager Dewi Jones.

His responsibilities have now been distributed. The other 11 jobs, both part and full-time, have gone in departments such as accounts, shops and visitors’ services.

Five workers, including the traffic manager, left due to redundancy. The rest had reached retirement age.

Bosses said the railway was facing up to the reality of last year’s downturn when 20,000 fewer passengers used the line than expected.

The final figure was 225,000. The railway’s target had been 245,000.

The shortfall of meant a revenue loss of £240,000 based on an average income of £11 per passenger.

But shareholders brought shares worth more than £250,000 during the year which cancelled out the deficit. The most unpopular train services have also been axed to help cut costs.

Bosses said the job losses were necessary as they were expecting passenger numbers to drop further to 205,000 during the year.

But the fact 6,600 passengers used the line during February and March — despite major engineering works which halted many services — was seen as a positive.

Heavy engineering work to improve drainage and replace old platforms at Arley station and work to improve a viaduct at Bewdley station started in January and finished last month.

A series of events, including a 1960s night, has now been lined up to bring in more passengers over 2011.

General manager Nick Ralls said: “It is too early to say if these are the green shoots of recovery but they are certainly steps in the right direction.

“”We have had to make some tough, unpalatable decisions over the winter.

“However it is the only responsible way to go.”



Read more: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2011/04/06/severn-valley-jobs-go-as-railway-visitors-fall/#ixzz1IkvUJRRH
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