Digest: COVID-19 places British heritage railways in 'precarious' situation

Railway preservation news for Aug. 3: Police identify juveniles in connection with vandalism; Southern California museum completes storage track expansion
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Ffestiniog Railway steam locomotive enveloped in steam
The Festiniog Railway at Harbour Station, Porthmadog, Wales, in October 2007.
John L. Dobson
Monday morning railway preservation news in brief:

British heritage railways look past COVID-19
Railway preservationists are working to reopen their facilities and deal with operating during a pandemic, BBC News reports. The Llangollen Railway near Denbighshire, for instance, is sourcing special hand sanitizers for use by engine crews as alcohol-based substances on a steam locomotive is considered especially hazardous. The operation has spent £100,000 pounds on reopening preparations, including PPE for staff. Elsewhere, the Ffestiniog Railway, which has reopened, is using historic equipment with separate compartments to ensure social distancing protocols. However, just reopening isn't enough to right the ship. "Our challenge now is to get through the remaining season, but be able to keep going for the season after that. We've got to get our business through the next winter," says Paul Lewin, manager at the Ffestiniog. "Our cash flow will be impacted for many years to come."

Indiana police investigate rail museum vandalism

Officials with the North Judson (Ind.) Police Department have identified four juveniles suspected in recent vandalism at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum. The case has been referred to the Starke County Prosecutor's office for review. The damage includes more than 30 windows broken in various buildings, locomotives, and rolling stock.

California museum expands storage track space
The Southern California Railway Museum in Perris has completed overnight work on a new storage track near Carbarn 7 at the rear of the group's 100-acre property. Twelve volunteers worked overnight to beat the summer heat and complete the track for three nights July 24-26. Planned work includes the connection of Carbarn 7 with the main line through a newly acquired 5-acre parcel.
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