September 24, 2015
Ongoing financial pressures have led to some big changes at Binnaway’s leading accommodation facility.
The Rail Barracks, located adjacent to the railway line in George Street, is managed by volunteers from the Binnaway Rail Heritage and Preservation Group.
Originally used as a resting quarters for steam train drivers and crew members, the 1925-era building has been lovingly refurbished into budget accommodation with shared facilities.
Catering for up to 22 people, the Rail Barracks is ideal for large groups and is fully booked at least five times a year, including the Binnaway Races and Back to Binnaway bowls’ weekend.
In spite of this success, the non-profit organisation has faced financial difficulties in recent times due to increasing rates, insurances and soaring electricity costs.
Publicity officer, Kerry Simmons, said with fewer guests staying at the Rail Barracks during the past few months, they had been unable to cover all expenses.
However, the group has actively undertaken a number of steps in order to keep the facility operational.
“Like all businesses, the organisation has to be more cost effective to survive,” Mrs Simmons explained.
“Our caretaker, Bob Morris, had offered to leave if our financial situation was in dire straits, as long as we gave him substantial notice.
“We made the decision to take up his offer and he finished at the end of August.
“We appreciate Bob’s time spent as caretaker and wish him all the best for the future.”
Volunteers from the organisation now assist with the bookings, bed- making and laundering, in lieu of the caretaker’s role.
There are also plans in place to convert the caretaker’s flat into self- contained accommodation for families, which will enhance its appeal to travellers and visitors to the town.
In addition to these changes, the group has chosen to increase their accommodation rates and advertise the Rail Barracks to a wider audience.
They are also in the process of negotiating with Warrumbungle Shire Council regarding rates and insurances.
Mrs Simmons said the decisions made in regards to the management of the facility were not taken lightly.
“If changes are not made, the future of the Rail Barracks will definitely be non-existent,” she added.
“It would be a great loss to the community if we had to close our doors.
“Hopefully we can move forward and save one of our great assets in Binnaway.”
After facing difficulties during the past few months, things are finally starting to look up for the iconic Binnaway Rail Barracks accommodation facility.
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