MVHR manager Jim Walker said the outlook for MVHR was a positive one.
MVHR manager Jim Walker said the outlook for MVHR was a positive one. Craig Warhurst

Full steam ahead for MVHR

CLAIMS the Mary Valley Heritage Railway is in financial trouble have been rejected by the organisation’s manager Jim Walker.

He said it appeared that a business review of the past three financial years was misunderstood by a few MVHR members who had read the report and taken some of the information out of context.

Several members expressed their concern that the organisation was running at a loss of $150, 000 each year, however Mr Walker said it was full steam ahead for MVHR with the report rating it as a potentially-viable business.

He said MVHR also received a $500,000 grant from the Federal Government that offset the losses during the period of the review.

“Over the three financial years up to June ’09 our operational expenditure exceeded income by $150,000 a year but a lot of that would not have occurred if we didn’t get the grants,” he said.

“We purchased a locomotive for $90,000 — which we would not have done if we didn’t have the money. We were also able to afford track maintenance expenses, a manager’s position and a marketing officer. Without the grant we would have spent less.”

Mr Walker said the report, carried out by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, stated that the underlying business trend for MVHR was a positive one with its position in the market improving.

“We see ourselves meeting operational expenses in about three years,” he said.

“The report stated the trend is that losses are decreasing. The report averaged the losses over three years. One year we were $70,000 up and the next we were $70,000 down.”

Profits dropped last year due to the fire ban preventing the steam train from operating for three months. But things are back on track. In revenue terms so far, this has been the best year for MVHR.

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