East Lancashire Railway receives £194,300 National Lottery funding
Lockdown forced the heritage attraction in Bury to cease operations between March and August – depriving it of vital income and plunging its future into uncertainty.
The new funding will be used to undertake essential track maintenance, cover the additional costs incurred with making the railway Covid-safe and upgrade its online presence.
ELR chairman Mike Kelly said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can now ensure the railway keeps running – providing wonderful heritage days out for visitors of all ages.
“Recent months have been the most challenging in our history, threatening our very existence and after a huge effort by our volunteers and a small cohort of staff we were overjoyed to be able to re-launch heritage services successfully last month.
“This funding helps secure the future of our railway by giving us the means to make essential repairs, upgrade our digital presence and cover the investment we have made to make the railway Covid-safe and reassure our visitors we are ‘Good to Go’.
“At the ELR we have the determination to survive and so we are hugely grateful and re-energised that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s an important and welcome lifeline to our volunteers and staff who are passionate about sustaining a heritage railway for the benefit of all.”
Shortly after lockdown was introduced, the East Lancashire Railway Support Fund was launched in a bid to raise funds to secure the railway’s future.
Total donations to date have now reached £145,000, while it also received a further £125,000 from the East Lancs Railway Preservation Society.