Heritage railways receive boost with tourism funds
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