A LEADING visitor attraction has been given a huge cash boost, after receiving £4.6 million of National Lottery funding for a major sustainability project to secure its future.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) has won support from the National Lottery for its £9.2million sustainability project, called Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey.
The announcement comes after seven train carriages at the heritage railway in Pickering were vandalised overnight between July 22 and 23. Windows were smashed and the carriages were severely damaged inside.
The aim of Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey is to boost investment in the infrastructure and the activities of the railway to help ensure that it can continue to operate successfully for the next 50 years.
John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: "The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is part of this country's rich railway heritage and this £4.6 million investment, thanks to National Lottery players, will help preserve it for generations to come."
To deliver the investment programme, the NYMR must raise matching funds of £4.6 million.
With generous member bequests and the attraction expecting to secure more grants, the NYMR will need to raise about £2.5 million from members, passengers and the public over the next five years.
Carrying around 350,000 passengers every year, the attraction says keeping 18 miles of railway with more than 30 bridges through the countryside of the North York Moors in top condition is a continuing challenge for the NYMR trustees.
NYMR trust chairman, John Bailey, said: "Fifty years ago our founders had the vision and determination to re-open the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Today we face a challenge of similar scale.
"We are extremely grateful for the support from the National Lottery. With its backing, we can plan confidently both the implementation of essential projects and our appeal for the balance of funds required.
"This should ensure that 50 years hence, people will still be learning from and enjoying the experience of steam across the Moors."
The railway runs from Pickering to Whitby via the North York Moors National Park.
For pictures showing the making of the National Railway Museum and its early years, click here: