The Railway Benefit Fund is staging a week-long fundraising event designed to bring together the Railway Family in support of colleagues in need. ‘Railway Family Week,’ from 26 April to 2 May, will feature a range of exciting fundraising events, some of which are already under way.

The 1858 Challenge

The Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) was founded in 1858, so they’ve weaved 1858 into a fundraising challenge: The 1858 Challenge. Fundraisers can do it alone or together virtually with friends, colleagues and family as part of Railway Family Week. RBF want as many people as possible to take part in the 1858 Challenge to help them smash their goal of raising £50,000 for Railway Family Week. The challenge can be done completely virtually and in line with government guidelines.

Can you raise £1,858 or £18.58 or even £18,580? Can you or your team cycle, run or walk 1,858 miles, km or steps? Can you set yourself a challenge at 18:58 every night? Could you raise £18.58 by selling cakes? Whatever the idea, RBF encourages everyone to start fundraising and share their challenge on social media with #1858Challenge.

The difference fundraising can make

The Railway Benefit Fund is the only charity solely supporting rail workers and their families.  All monies raised during Railway Family Week will help those struggling during tough times. Any amount raised can make a real difference: £18.58 could fund the weekly cost of lunches for a child home schooling; £185.80 could fund an emergency grant to feed a family through the weekend until pay day, and £1,858 could fund a deposit and a month’s rent for a young person left homeless.

Claire Houghton, CEO at the Railway Benefit Fund, said “We are so excited to launch Railway Family Week and our first fundraising event, The 1858 Challenge. It’s been such a tough year for the rail industry so we hope that Railway Family Week will be a real boost for everyone and help us to support those struggling as the pandemic continues.”

One person taking on the 1858 Challenge is David Godley from Network Rail. Nearing retirement, David has decided to complete the challenge as a final farewell to his career in rail. David has decided to raise funds for RBF by undertaking an indoor cycling challenge during this COVID restricted winter. Commencing on Monday 1st February, David intends to cycle on his indoor trainer every day from 18:58 hours for an hour or more until he has amassed a total of 1,858 miles.

David hopes that 500 of his colleagues and railway friends across the industry will sponsor him for £18.58, equivalent to one penny per mile. His goal is to raise a total of £9,000 for RBF. You can follow David’s and our other fundraiser’s JustGiving pages here:

Tim Shoveller, managing director of Network Rail’s North West & Central region and chairman of the RBF, said: “Hearing about so many railway family people’s 1858 Challenges has inspired me to do one of my own – I’m going to swim 1,858 metres non-stop without sinking. Please sponsor me.”

To learn more about the 1858 Challenge and download a Fundraising Pack, visit the RBF website:

Donate via the Railway Family Week JustGiving Page: