Annual Review of ELR Business Plan

Board Room 1

Each year the ELR Board reviews progress against its 2015-19 business plan.

Note: Visitor Numbers – See earlier separate blog posting


Provisional figures indicate a further increase in income to around £4m up from £3.22m. It’s clear that increased revenue for 2016 benefitted significantly from two visits by Flying Scotsman which allowed significant small investment to take place, with a programme of non-capital enhancements, additional repairs & renewals, restoration and some previous ‘wish list’ schemes to proceed.

Income revenue for the period 2013 (£2.55m) to 2016 (£4m) has risen by 53%. Between 2014 and 2016 the rise has been around 32%. There is concern that expenditure more or less has kept pace with income.

Over £300,000 of record capital expenditure has been spent or committed on improving facilities, buying equipment and supporting restoration programmes.

Over £2m spent with local businesses.

Headline Statistics

Statistic 2014








Year (Prov))

Visitor Numbers 157,540 162,220 201,000
Turnover £2,985,000 £3,226,000 £3,950,000
ELRPS Membership 3,507 3,430 3,482
ELRPS Working Membership 626 654 745
Permanent Staff 41* 65* 68*

Note: * Denotes total number of full and part time staff, including Trackside & Buffer Stops Bar Staff.

Overall Performance

Overall Performance across key activities has been positive.

  • Facebook Followers + 107%
  • Twitter + 31%
  • Website visits + 31%
  • Shops Income + 11%
  • Pubs Income + 2.6%
  • On-line Bookings + 29%
  • Diner Bookings + 30%
  • Buffets Income + 61%
  • FXP                      + 31%

Stations Developments

  • Rawtenstall – A revised planning application for the new canopy to be submitted.
  • Ramsbottom – New shop to be trailed.
  • Burrs Country Park – Project completed.
  • Bolton Street – Trackside, more investment needed to improve interior.
  • Heywood – Play Area and Café Coach (selected events) opened by spring.
  • Castleton – Cross Platform solution – feasibility study underway.

Future Challenges

It’s clear that the ELR is now a major leisure business in its own right whilst at its heart it remains a heritage railway and committed to its core ethos as a volunteer led organisation and working closely with our local authority partners to promote economic development and expand the tourism offer.

The ELR has enjoyed significant levels of growth right across the railway from visitor direct numbers; non ticketing revenue; on line sales and levels of working volunteers. On the other side of the balance sheet, we are seeing increased customer demands and where expenditure has broadly kept pace with increased revenues. However this will become more important to control as revenues are expected to drop in 2017.

Over the next two years the ELR needs to focus on:

  • Develop a ELR long term strategy building on the Locum ethos;
  • Create a single operating company;
  • Create a single Trading Company;
  • Improve management information and expenditure controls;
  • Sustaining visitor growth;
  • Increase visitor spend;
  • Resolve the challenge of developing Buckley Wells;
  • Secure third party engineering and operational revenue income streams;
  • Bury Transport Museum, secure Museum Accreditation;
  • Improve customer facilities.

For the ELR and our Partners:

  • Castleton – Secure a Cross Platform Solution;
  • Castleton – Secure an ELR main line access;
  • Heywood – Further develop station facilities;
  • Bury – Burrs Country Park – Destination Plan;
  • Rawtenstall – Further improve station facilities.





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