The Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway has launched an urgent appeal to raise £50,000 in three months so that it can give the go-ahead to build a new station – a Museum Gateway – at Pages Park.
A railway supporter has agreed to match fund every pound that the railway can raise within three months up to a maximum of £50,000 –an offer chairman Terry Bendall described as “hugely generous”.
He said: “If we can raise the full £50,000 we double our money and will have enough to demolish the existing dilapidated station and erect the new building.”
The new building will echo the designs of the London & North Western Railway, the company which built the town’s original mainline station.
Terry said: “The existing station at Pages Park was already third-hand when erected many years ago.
“While it might charitably be said to be in keeping with the industrial roots of the railway which was built to carry sand, it is increasingly showing its age and presents a poor first impression of the railway.
It is increasingly showing its age and presents a poor first impression of the railwayTerry Bendall
“The new station will not only provide new facilities for the railway and its passengers, but it will also have space available for community use.”
The appeal was announced at the railway’s AGM on Saturday and Terry was pleased to note that a number of members had already offered significant amounts towards the appeal – with £37,000 already been pledged.
“I’m both delighted and grateful,” said Terry. “This project comes at a crucial time for the railway and marks the start of our comeback from the disappointment of being turned down by the Heritage Lottery Fund after three years of hard work.
“We decided to raise the money ourselves and the support has already been fantastic.”
But while just £13,000 is required to take full advantage of the match funding offer, a further £100,000 is expected to be required to complete the interior of the new station.
“We will be raising funds for a while to come,” added Terry. “So please help us give the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway a decent station!”
Donations can be made via the railway’s website at www.buzzrail.co.uk or to the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway Society Limited, Pages Park Station, Billington Road, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 4TN.