Questions about GVR and the Crisis Appeal

The Glenbrook Vintage Railway relies on income from running trains and events to pay for operating and maintenance expenses.

Much of this income comes from special events like the Day Out with Thomas, Counties Power Christmas Lights: Trains at Night and Toys and Trains LEGO® Fan Display (which regrettably has had to be cancelled). These events are over the mass gathering limits which means GVR cannot run them.

The international travel restrictions also mean that the overseas coach tour charters that usually provide GVR a steady income stopped in mid-March. Other day trips and multi-day tours on the national rail network have also had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

GVR supports the public health measures to combat COVID-19, however they put GVR in the unfortunate position of having to remain closed and unable to earn income. When we eventually can reopen again, it is likely that we will have fewer passengers with people reluctant to take part in social activities.

Our historic locomotives and carriages all need ongoing maintenance by our experienced workshop staff to keep them in a compliant and running condition, and GVR has to cover these and other overhead costs even when we aren’t open to the public.

GVR is a registered charity that usually relies on ticket income to pay for normal operating and maintenance expenses while special grants and donations fund our locomotive and carriage restorations. We need your help to survive through this crisis, please donate now.

Every dollar will go towards covering GVR’s essential maintenance and core operating expenses including materials, day-to-day bills, and staff related costs. By donating to this Crisis Appeal, you are ensuring that GVR can keep our locomotives, carriages and railway in a compliant and running condition. Without your donation GVR would not be able to resume running trains for an indefinite period, so thank you for your generous support!

This COVID-19 crisis has had a severe impact on rail heritage organisations and the wider tourism industry. GVR needs external support to cover our operating and maintenance expenses through this crisis so that we can retain our staff, facilities, locomotives and carriages in a state that can see our quick return to operations. We’re going to need the support of all the community when we hopefully reopen to ensure that our railway can be sustainable for the future.

Museums and attractions like GVR could begin to reopen under Level Two however the contact tracing, mass gathering limitations and social distancing requirements mean that the majority of GVR experiences and events cannot be operated feasibly.

Operating our heritage locomotives and carriages as well as expenses relating to event service providers or KiwiRail crewing and access charge present a high fixed cost, which requires GVR trains to operate as full as possible to make a sustainable return.

Many of our volunteers and visitors fit within the 70 plus age bracket, and their wellbeing is an absolute priority. We expect that as the majority of restrictions are lifted in Level One, that we will be able to resume operations.

That is why we need your support to keep our maintenance operation going, so that we can get right back to running trains as the risk from COVID-19 reduces.

Unfortunately you cannot book any GVR tickets on our website. At this stage we are unsure when we may be able to open again for our Steam Train Experience or other experiences or events. GVR is running our Crisis Appeal to save our iconic railway, so that we can open our doors and operate trains again.

As well as our team of around 80 volunteers (many of whom are over 70) who have had to remain at home through Level 3 and 4, we are reliant on our four essential staff to maintain and manage our railway. All of our staff have voluntarily taken pay cuts and we have received the government’s partial wage subsidy for our staff until June.

GVR is not eligible for most other government relief such as tax change or loans. We have urgently reached out to the Franklin Local Board and Auckland Council and are pursuing potential assistance in developing and marketing rail tourism.

GVR does not and has never received ongoing funding for its operations from central government or Auckland Council unlike other Auckland cultural attractions such as MOTAT, Auckland War Memorial Museum, and the New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Unfortunately we are unsure when we can next hold our popular Day Out with Thomas event. These events are usually held in March and November each year. Attendance at our March 2020 event just prior to the mass gathering restrictions was low, and we only just covered the cost of running the event.

Note: GVR strictly followed Ministry of Health advice in running the March 2020 Day Out with Thomas including provision of public sanitiser stations, public health information, and revised operating procedures.

First and foremost, please share this Crisis Appeal on social media so that we can get as much support as possible.

If you are interested in volunteering with GVR for when we hopefully reopen, please contact us by email at crisisappeal@gvr.org.nz.

As well as our mechanical maintenance and restoration team we also have training pathways for train guards, firemen, engine drivers and signalmen/train controllers. We would gratefully consider any other offers of assistance. Please contact us by email at crisisappeal@gvr.org.nz.

Thank you for your generous support! To setup a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly automatic payment, please contact us by email at crisisappeal@gvr.org.nz. As a registered charity, we can provide donation receipts in accordance with your preferences so that you can claim a tax credit.

Yes! Please get in touch with us to discuss options. We can also provide a unique corporate function venue or transport almost anywhere on the national rail network.

Please donate now and save our iconic railway for future generations!

Donate by Credit Card (Via Givealittle) Donate by Internet Banking or Cheque