VISITORS to the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway have reached record levels.
Figures for the past financial year show that 65,693 visited the Scottish Railway Preservation Society site in 2007/2008.
Falkirk Council’s environment and heritage committee was also told this week that visitor figures to the Scottish Railway Exhibition at Bo’ness Station had also increased in the past year.
The Council provides grant funding for the Railway – which provides visitor access to the Council-run Birkhill Clay Mine.
A report to the committee by community services director Maureen Campbell said: “In 2007/2008 SRPS achieved record visitor numbers of 65,693 which exceeded their 2006/07 target by 5 per cent and also beat the 2007/2008 target. (It should be noted that figure excludes Easter 2008). Included in this are visitor numbers to the Scottish Railway Exhibition, which were 14,161 up from 12,434 in the previous year and 5 per cent above their target for the year and even beating the 2007/2008 target of 14,000. For a third year, the Society continued their successful seven day programme during July and August.”
She added: “The steam railway and exhibition continue to be effectively managed, maintained, marketed and reliably delivered as a tourist attraction. The volunteer operation is highly cost effective being equal to approximately 42 full time posts and the volunteers achieve professional standards in respect of railway and safety regulations.
“The quality of the tourism and heritage operation at Bo’ness is measured by the achievement of three stars in the VisitScotland scheme for visitor attractions. This status was maintained following an inspection in 2007. In terms of the museum collection, the Society’s Core Collection was recognised as being of national significance following its submission to the Recognition Scheme; the Society was on target to submit its application for Accreditation (the successor scheme to Museum Registration) by September 2008 with the result due in 2009.”