Boiler Appeal - help us return the heart of Norfolk Hero to life!
Norfolk Hero has been with us for decades and is the iconic loco for the railway, gracing many a kitchen fridge magnet! Hero is very much the heart of our railway and now needs a heart transplant!
The boiler was deemed to have reached the end of its service life last summer and we have secured the services of an engineering firm to provide a replacement - hoping to be back in service for the summer season 2024! It's not cheap though so we are asking for your help to support this resuscitation of one of our stalwart characters. We are looking at a bill of over £20,000 for all the work needed to get Hero back on track.
We rely on income from passengers in the main season for our year-round expenditure. We have seen a 65% increase in fuel and energy costs over the past two years and have tried to keep prices as low as we can - we know everyone's pockets are hit and want to offer great value for money. We continue our track work and have already had to replace Norfolk Harvester's Perkins diesel engine this winter (the old one has been retired after over 800,000 hours, thanks to Ruislip Lido railway for their support in sourcing a newer version currently being fitted).
Like many small owner-operated railways, the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway has never had the huge resources of charities or council-owned heritage railways. For over 40 years, the WWLR has dedicated itself to offering a wonderful journey through the glorious North Norfolk Countryside; making memories for thousands of people.
We have been a small, non-profit family business and are currently in negotiations to move to a charity or similar community interest company. The Francis family love the railway and see it as the continuation of our founder, Commander Roy Francis’ legacy. They take no money from it, rather it has always been the other way around many times. The wider family is our intimate team of staff, volunteers and supporters. They work with enthusiasm and great loyalty in what has become a close knit bunch of friends.
We are working together to make sure that the WWLR continues steaming for years to come!
We are also part of the wider North Norfolk Community and as well as employing local people we buy as much as we can from local suppliers. We make a significant contribution both directly and indirectly to Norfolk's tourism economy and the vibrancy of both Wells next the Sea and Walsingham village.
We want this lovely little railway to continue for years to come and need your help to do that. Anything you can give would be gratefully received and recorded appropriately. Any donations of £150 or over also gives you a free footplate ride in one of our steam locomotives.
We feel that the WWLR is worth so much to so many and hope you do too!
The WWLR team