The Northampton and Lamport Railway is extremely grateful to receive a substantial Government grant to secure its future and help it rebuild going forward.
Northampton Steam Railway Ltd (the NLR’s operating company) has been awarded £46,000 by the Culture Recovery Fund to ‘keep us on track’ and help cover expenses incurred during ‘lockdown’ between March and July. Funds will also be used to carry out essential repairs and renewals that were planned for this year but put on hold when our income dried up. Without this funding we faced a real prospect of not being able to run trains anymore because we did not have the resources left to undertake this vital work before deterioration reached a point of becoming a safety issue.
The money will also give the NLR a chance to modernise as a business and diversify by looking at new sources of income so that we can be more resilient in future.
The NLR was unable to open at the start of the season in March because of coronavirus. Our purely volunteer-run line remained shut for five months and began running steam-hauled train services again in August as part of a phased reopening.
The Railway is now running again every Sunday until the end of October as it slowly recovers from the shutdown. It relies on fares income for the majority of its revenue each year. Our up-coming events include our ‘Halloween Specials’ on the weekend of 31st Oct/1st Nov and our ever-popular ‘Santa Specials’ every weekend (Sat and Sun) from late November right up to Christmas.
The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is part of the £1.57bn rescue package announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across the UK from the economic impact of coronavirus. The NLR is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country to receive a lifesaving financial boost to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounce back post-Covid.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
“It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial. Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live. All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.
“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet. But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”