A POPULAR visitor attraction hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic has put plans in place to secure its future.

The East Anglian Railway Museum at Chappel offers a range of events to draw in the crowds.

However, the museum has recently been pole axed by the coronavirus outbreak, forcing it to close its doors to the general public.

As a result, the museum has been forced to cancel many of its upcoming events.

A packed season of steam and diesel events including grand old locomotives in action, classic cars, 1940s Vintage Encounters, Mid-Summer Murders, Steampunks and other family events have all been put on hold.

The museum’s popular wedding hire business has taken a massive hit with couples having to postpone their nuptials until next year.

Perhaps the most concerning is the uncertainty surrounding the museum’s biggest summer event, the annual summer beer festival.

The festival is co-hosted between the museum and the Campaign for Real Ale and can attract more than 5,000 real ale fans to the museum over its five day stretch in September.

Catherine Harrison, events manager at the museum, said: “The biggest event of the year at Chappel Station is the Summer Beer Festival.

“Although organisers remain optimistic and cautious preparations are continuing, a definite decision as to whether this event will go ahead, albeit on a smaller scale, will be made on July 1.”

As a registered charity, the museum relies heavily on the income from events, annual memberships, ticket sales, visitors spending and the railway experience courses and donations.

However, with the closure, the museum has had a vital source of revenue cut off.

As a result, it has sought support through groups like the Essex Lottery which is run by Essex County Council.

Ms Harrison added: “The museum has enjoyed a big rise in event visitor numbers in recent years and next year, 2021, marks 50 years since steam trains started running again at Chappel.

“Plans for another great year were already being discussed when the crisis hit.

“Whether beer festivals are your thing or you bring the family along each year to see Thomas and Friends, the East Anglian Railway Museum is held in great affection to many people in the community and we hope to be able to raise enough money to keep going and continue welcoming visitors for another 50 years.”

Donations can be made to the museum by sending a cheque made out to East Anglian Railway museum to Chappel Station, Colchester, Essex C06 2DS.

You can also contact the museum at earm.co.uk/contact-us or email them at information@earm.co.uk.