Vandals hit Midland Railway Butterley twice in a week as volunteers struggle to save tourist attraction
One of Amber Valley’s premier tourist attractions has been struck by vandals twice in a week, just as volunteers struggle to keep the organisation on track through the coronavirus pandemic.
A group of youngsters first broke into the train carriage which serves as a waiting room at the Midland Railway’s Swanwick Junction site on Wednesday, May 27.
They ripped out seats, etched graffiti on the tables and used the space as a toilet.
The following day, one of the passenger coaches used on the line suffered broken windows and other signs of forced entry.
A spokesman for the attraction said: “This is absolutely heartbreaking for all of our staff and volunteers who spend endless hours right across the site trying to improve the visitor experience.”
A member of staff saw a group of four young adults walking across the railway line around the same time as the first incident.
After the damage was discovered, the police were called but there has so far been no further action.
It has been left to volunteers to try and repair the damage and secure the site as far as possible.
The spokesman said: “Volunteers have been socially distancing while putting in extra measures to protect vehicles and buildings.
“We’re determined to stop these vandals from destroying something that is not their property. Surely they would not like their personal property being wrecked so why destroy others’?”
It comes at a difficult time for the line, which has launched an online fundraising appeal to cover the shortfall in visitor income.
The appeal has so far raised more than £3,000, and local residents and rail enthusiasts further afield have flooded it with support.
The spokesman said: “These careless heartbreaking acts just make our job list even longer for when it is safe to return.
“These repairs come with a heavy cost, every donation we receive will go a long way to helping us back on our feet.”
They added: “The messages of encouragement and offers of help have been expressed around all our volunteers and it is very heart warming in the tough times we’re in as a railway and a country.”
To make a donation, go to https://bit.ly/2ZXcjUz.