Emergency grant provides winter lifeline for Sussex heritage railway
The Bluebell Railway has been given a £250,000 grant to help it survive through the winter.
The money is from The National Lottery Heritage Fund which distributes National Lottery money to support heritage organisations.
The railway applied to The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund which was set up to give grants of up to £250,000 to help organisations affected by Covid-19. A total of £50 million was made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.
Bluebell Railway plc chairman Chris Hunford said: “We are very grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for approving our application and providing the financial support to keep the wheels turning. Our members, supporters and friends contributed sufficient money to enable us to reopen – this extra financial help will allow us to continue to operate over the next few months.”
The Heritage Emergency Fund grant will help the railway meets its costs from August to November including paying for heritage and technical staff, hire of machinery, track repairs personal protective equipment and advertising.
The railway’s own emergency appeal was launched in March and has raised nearly £400,000 so far from donations and a “virtual” track walk. The money was enough to partly make up for lost income and allowed the railway to reopen on its 60th birthday on 7 August and start running steam trains again after being closed for 20 weeks. The appeal is still open because of the continued uncertainty over coronavirus.
Further details of the Bluebell Railway’s services are at www.bluebell-railway.com
The Bluebell Railway’s emergency funding appeal is at: