The Swanage Railway has been awarded a £189,200 Government grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help the popular Isle of Purbeck heritage line’s Covid-safe transition to full re-opening – after being closed for three months.
Administered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Fund is part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Underpinning expenditure between April and June, 2021 – to enable the Swanage Railway to resume Covid-safe train operations – the grant is to be used to pay for staff costs, locomotive hire, coal, water, fuel for diesel locomotives, Covid-19 cleaning, insurance and marketing costs.
Randy Coldham, the Swanage Railway’s fund-raising chairman, said: “I would like to thank the National Lottery for its support over the past year as, without it, the Swanage Railway would not be able to resume a Covid-safe train service from Monday, 12 April, 2021.
“The grant is vital in helping the Swanage Railway on its road to recovery – providing a Covid-safe service to the people of the Isle of Purbeck and to the many visitors we expect this summer,” added Randy who is also a volunteer signalman on the Swanage Railway.
At it only applies to daily operational costs, the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant does not contribute to the Swanage Railway’s Herston Carriage Shed Appeal that was launched in March, 2021, and aims to raise £65,000 by the end of June, 2021.
Randy explained: “This is a vital project that will enable the Swanage Railway to protect some of its rare heritage coaches from the weather and so reduce our repair costs.
“We have been overwhelmed and very gratified by the support we have had for the Herston Carriage Shed Appeal and have already raised almost a quarter of the £65,000 required.”
Up to date train service information is available from the Swanage Railway website at swanagerailway.co.uk where train tickets can be booked.
The Swanage Railway always welcomes new volunteers so, for a chat, contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 or email him at email@example.com.
Story by Andrew P.M. Wright,
Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer.