Her­itage railways re­ceive boost with tourism funds

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - School Part Of Peake Experiment -

It’s full steam ahead for Kent’s her­itage railways af­ter a tourism group won a £75,000 govern­ment grant to pro­mote them to vis­i­tors and res­i­dents.

Visit Kent’s bid for fund­ing was one of 17 se­lected to re­ceive cash when the Depart­ment for Trans­port an­nounced the win­ners of its Her­itage and Com­mu­nity Rail Tourism In­no­va­tion com­pe­ti­tion, which aims to boost rail-re­lated tourism across the coun­try.

The county’s des­ti­na­tion man­age­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion has been awarded the money for its Con­nect­ing Kent’s Her­itage Railways project.

Rail min­is­ter, Claire Perry MP, said: “We want to show the best of British to our vis­i­tors, and her­itage and com­mu­nity railways are part of that pack­age.

“I am de­lighted the Con­nect­ing Kent’s Her­itage Railways project is one of 17 na­tional win­ners across Bri­tain.

“I look for­ward to see­ing the scheme de­velop, pro­vid­ing an­other great rea­son to visit Kent.”

The project aims to im­prove knowl­edge and aware­ness of the county’s her­itage railways, which in­clude Ten­ter­den’s Kent and East Sus­sex Rail­way and the Rom­ney Hythe and Dym­church Rail­way.

Visit Kent is aim­ing to in­crease aware­ness of and vis­its to the her­itage railways with ded­i­cated mar­ket­ing, PR and so­cial media cam­paigns, in­clud­ing a new dig­i­tal plat­form for the net­work, and pres­ence in Visit Kent’s Lon­don mar­ket­ing cam­paign this sum­mer.

The cam­paign will also join ‘the old and the new’ by work­ing with South­east­ern to im­prove aware­ness of the railways at the near­est main­line sta­tions.

San­dra-Matthews Marsh, Visit Kent’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “We are de­lighted Kent has won this govern­ment fund­ing, and that work can be­gin on an ex­cit­ing project to cham­pion our county’s rich rail her­itage.

“Kent not only has five fan­tas­tic her­itage railways wel­com­ing vis­i­tors, but we are also home to Hornby Hob­bies, to the first new rail line built since the 1800s (High Speed 1) and pos­si­bly to a new rail­way her­itage mu­seum, which is in its plan­ning stages in Ash­ford. Each of Kent’s her­itage railways has a unique story to tell, and we look for­ward to cel­e­brat­ing and shar­ing th­ese with more vis­i­tors.”

Rom­ney, Hythe and Dym­church and Kent and East Sus­sex Railways will ben­e­fit from prize fund

Pic­ture: Les­ley Maxim

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