The Dean Forest Railway Society, a registered charity with over 1000 members, was looking forward to celebrating 2020 as the 50th anniversary of its origins, with several special events planned for visitors over the course of the railway’s March-November running season.

However, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Dean Forest Railway has had to close until at least the end of April. General manager Duncan Rowe said, “The closure is not just to visitors but also to the staff – not to mention the many volunteers who so much enjoy each other’s company and their open-air activity. Meanwhile we have various fixed costs which won’t go away just because we’re closed and these costs threaten the future of our heritage line. Our supporting charity, the Dean Forest Railway Society, is asking for help to ensure the survival of the railway, which is one of the main tourist attractions in the Forest.”

DFRS chairman Alastair Clarke said, “We opened our running season in the sunshine on March 14th and enjoyed good passenger numbers, with our popular locomotive ‘Rennes’ carrying the 50th Anniversary headboard. Over recent months we have been gearing up to announce support for exciting new development plans, but these plans will never see the light of day if the railway succumbs to this testing period. The DFRS welcomes any donation, large or small, to help our chances of running again, later on in the year.”

The railway has published these options:

- Visit the Society website:

- Text DFRS to 70191 to donate £10*

The DFRS treasurer Tim McLennan added, “We are so grateful to all the people who have donated so far - your support means everything to us. If this pandemic means that our some of our 50th anniversary events cannot take place in 2020, we’ll hold them in 2021 instead and celebrate the first year when we actually ran a train. This was on October 1971, over the merest 400 yards of track at Parkend – look where we’ve come since then!

“Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you all again soon!”

* Fundraising, payments and donations will be processed and administered by the National Funding Scheme, operating as DONATE, a charity registered in England and Wales (1149800) and Scotland (SC045106). In addition to any text donation, you will incur your standard network message charge (based on your service provider rates). For Terms & Conditions, see