150 people took part in a special charity rail tour last Sunday (19th November), which raised over £11,000 for the Whitechapel Centre.
Now in its third year, this unique chartered train journey has generated donations in excess of £40,000 for various Liverpool charities including the Clatterbridge Centre, the Community Link Foundation and Claire House.
The Whitechapel Wayfarer was organised by the Branch Line Society, a UK-based voluntary association for railway enthusiasts, in conjunction with Merseyrail.
As a members’ only event, it gave those on-board exclusive behind the scenes access to parts of the Merseyrail network which are closed to passenger trains.
It was full steam ahead as the six-car 507/508 class electric multiple unit departed Hooton station at 9.15 am, travelling along the Stock Interchange Line in both directions and visiting more than 20 stations as part of its marathon 9-hour round trip.
Highlights on the day included a visit to both Birkenhead and Kirkdale depots, to take in the sights and sounds of the maintenance sheds, and passengers were also treated to a wide variety of detailed sidings and crossovers.
As well as ticket fares, additional proceeds were generated by souvenir sales, ontrain raffles and an auction where there was a selection of money can’t buy items up for grabs, including a visit to the control centre at Sandhills Station.
Kev Adlam from the Branch Line Society, said: “I’d like to thank all our members for their generosity, who came from as far and wide as Jersey and the Isle of Man to show their support and to Merseyrail for helping to make this happen.
“There was a huge amount of planning and preparation behind the scenes that went into making it such a huge success.”
“It was definitely one of the highlights of the year for our society as we were granted access to parts of the network we had never visited before which made it extra special.”
The Whitechapel Centre was set up in 1975 to support the needs of homeless people in Liverpool. Ruth McCaughley, Fundraising Manager said…”We’re very grateful to the Branch Line Society and Merseyrail for organising the event and choosing to support The Whitechapel Centre. It was clear how much effort goes into arranging the day and we enjoyed meeting their members on the train. Their support and generosity has raised a fantastic amount which will help us reach more people who are homeless this winter.”
Andy Heath, Deputy Managing Director of Merseyrail, said: “I would like to thank everyone involved with the Whitechapel Wayfarer, including our own staff, who have pulled out all the stops to support this crucial work for some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in our community. We are confident that the money that’s been raised will go on to make a real difference to those people facing social inclusion, homelessness and housing poverty”