Emergency Landslide Appeal

Updated Friday 14th August

On the evening of Tuesday 11th and in the early hours of Wednesday 12th August, much of Scotland was battered by severe thunderstorms. During a subsequent inspection of the Bo’ness Kinneil Railway, the Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS) Civil Engineer identified multiple landslips along approximately a mile-long stretch of the railway. The line was declared unfit for traffic and the railway closed to passenger trains. Please note that engineering trains will still operate to facilitate repairs: do not trespass on the railway. 

The worst of the landslips has occurred on a steep embankment near ‘High Bridge’. A geo-structural engineer has inspected the site and we have since estimated that this damage may cost £100,000 to repair.

The significant damage to our railway line could not have come at worse time: we had planned a limited reopening of the Bo’ness Kinneil Railway in mid-September, after a lengthy closure due to the Coronavirus pandemic that has left our income at a record low.

Until the embankment is repaired, we cannot operate any trains meaning that we cannot generate any income. Once again, we are reaching out to our generous supporters: we need your help to raise £100,000 to fix the storm damage on the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway. Any donation large or small will help secure the future of our railway. Donate here.




Frequently Asked Questions

Does the railway not have insurance to cover the cost of the repairs to the embankment? 

The SRPS – like the vast majority of other heritage railways in the UK – does not insurance embankments because of the prohibitive cost. Instead, the Society operates a working financial reserves policy known as the ‘general fund’, which in normal circumstances, would provide the funding to complete such repairs. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all three of the SRPS’s revenue generating activities (the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway, Museum of Scottish Railways, and SRPS Railtours) have not operated in 2020. With no income from train fares and museum admittance, the general fund level has dropped significantly since our last public operations in December 2019. We must ensure that we have adequate unrestricted reserves to see us through the forthcoming winter, hence why we have launched the ‘Emergency Landslide Appeal’. 

How long will you repair the landslides and how long will this take?

At this stage we cannot be certain as to how long the repairs will take. Since discovery of the damage on Wednesday 12th August, we have had an independent structural engineer and surveyors visit the landslip sites to determine the best possible repair method. Presently, this is thought to involve the stabilising of the embankments with in excess of 1000 tonnes of rock. We will provide further updates when more information is known.

When will you reopen? 

Presently we cannot say when train operations at Bo’ness will recommence. Prior to the landslides, we had hoped to reintroduce a limited train service in Mid-September. We hope that we will be able to operate a train service later in 2020 but this will depend on the successful repair of the landslides and any developments with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Can you apply for lottery or grant funding? 

Our volunteers are investigating potential grant funding streams.