A special train service has raised £15k for an air ambulance appeal.
The massive boost comes from Direct Rail Services (DRS), The Railway Magazine and Virgin Trains as the three joined forces in August to run the charter train – the Bournemouth Flyer – with all proceeds destined for charity.
The funds were donated to the Cumberland News’ SkyCall Appeal which aims to raise £60,000 to buy portable ultrasound scanners and state-of-the-art defibrillators for GNAAS.
The train set off at Chester and headed to Bournemouth via the West Midlands, giving more than 450 customers the chance to travel behind some heritage traction before enjoying the annual Bournemouth Air Festival and then heading back home.
With staff donating their time for free, the near sell-out charter, raised in excess of £30k – a figure helped by DRS not charging for their Class 37 locomotives that led the way.
The money was split equally between two local air ambulance services with £15k going to the Great North Air Ambulance Service via the SkyCall Appeal and the same amount donated to the North West Air Ambulance Service.
Staff joined in the fun, dressing as Batman, Superwoman and Flash, to support the paper’s ‘Superheroes Day’, before handing over a cheque for £15k at Carlisle Station.
Richard Stanton from Virgin Trains said: “The air ambulance teams are vital to their local communities and a potential lifesaving support that we might all need at some point.”
Kyle Palmer, from Direct Rail Services said: “It was such a fantastic day out and we were overwhelmed by the support we received. With Bournemouth Air Show taking place on the same day we felt it only right that the proceeds be donated to such worthy causes.”
Chris Milnor of the Railway Magazine, added: “Supporting the two AAS is vitally important given the remoteness of many of the communities they cover. We are delighted to be able to make a sizeable donation to this worthwhile cause. Thanks to our readers for their generous support.”
This is the second such venture for the three companies, last year’s trip to North Wales raised £20k for the Royal British Legion.