The winners of a million pound, rail-related tourism competition have been announced.
Heritage and community-rail related tourism winners have been released, in a £1M competition funded by the government, which will boost rail-related tourism right across Britain.
Offering grants to rail operators for innovative ideas and trails, the project is particularly aimed at heritage railways and community rail partnerships. The projects will create new opportunities for UK and overseas tourists to enjoy the hidden gems of the country’s heritage and community railways, encouraging more tourists by making it easier to explore the UK by rail.
The majority of heritage railways and community railways are outside of the Capital, and so the objective of the competition has been to encourage more visitors to the UK to travel to destinations beyond the capital.
Projects funded by the government competition include extending the heritage line from Chinnor to its former terminus at Princes Risborough station, expanding the luxury Pullman services on the North Yorkshire Moors and adapting them for wheelchair users in Kent, and developing a new “velorail” in Kidwelly, creating a new tourist attraction, giving visitors the chance to drive a train by pedal power.
A total of 17 grants were awarded, ranging from £25,000 to £75,000 to develop their ideas.
Tourism and Heritage Minister David Evennett said: “We want more tourists to experience the hidden gems the whole of the UK has to offer.
“Heritage and community railways are important local attractions, and these projects will help support our railway history and promote it to visitors from home and abroad.”
Deirdre Wells OBE, the Chief Executive of UK Inbound, said: “It was a privilege to be involved with this competition. Heritage and community rail plays a vital role in our vibrant and often quirky tourism industry.
“We want to do all we can to encourage more of the 36 million annual inbound visitors to the UK to explore more of our beautiful country by rail.”
The competition is part of the government’s 5-point plan to boost tourism across the UK.
Judges for the competition included Mark Garnier, MP, Lord Faulkner; Deirdre Wells OBE and Sir William McAlpine.