The Shropshire Star – Deborah Hardiman
Saturday, 6th August 2016
Fans making tracks to railway – Craze gives town attraction a welcome holiday visitor boost.
Deborah Hardiman of the Shropshire Star wrote a story regarding recent visitors coming to the railway to catch the latest smartphone craze “Pokemon”.
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Visitor numbers have more than doubled at a steam railway since the arrival of Pokemon Go.
Characters from the game and even a PokeStop have been spotted at Telford Steam Railway, at Spring Village, in Horsehay, coinciding with more people rolling in at the site. The operators say since the launch of the app last month the number of passengers using the crevice has risen by about 60 per cent.
The railway’s commercial director Mark Paynter said: “Traditionally July is pretty quiet for us but over the last couple of weeks since the Pokemon craze started our visitor figures have shot up. We don’t know whether this is due to Pokemon but we are doing really well at the moment. Even on the days that we are closed the volunteers have noticed people lurking at the gates holding their phones.
“Last Sunday we had 125 visitors which is fantastic for us. Early in July we were getting 60, so we have doubled our numbers. If it is being helped by Pokemon all well and good, and if not we still don’t mind. It’s still good for the railway.”
The volunteer staff have caught characters at various locations and are urging Pokemon fans to play safely while on the site. The line runs from Lawley Village to Horsehay & Dawley stations on the old Wellington and Severn Junction line that once ran between Wellington and Craven Arms via the Ironbridge Gorge.
The next train will depart from Lawley Village at 11am tomorrow Sunday. (Deborah Hardiman. 2016. The Shropshire Star)