The Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust (MNR) has received a £190,000 lifeline grant from the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.
The Culture Recovery Fund is administered by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Government and is intended to provide vital financial support for qualifying organisations such as the Mid-Norfolk Railway.
This MNR’s successful bid is one of the first round of grants that have been issued from the Culture Recovery Fund and is part of the £1.57 billion package that has previously been been announced by the Culture Secretary. The fund is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.
“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.” Oliver Dowden MP, Culture Secretary
"The Mid-Norfolk Railway is thrilled to have been successful in our bid and we are extremely grateful to the Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The grant will make a really important contribution to the Railway's plans to reopen to the public in a manner that is compliant with the ongoing Covid-19." Charlie Robinson, MNR Chairman
The money the MNR has received, will be used for several purposes. More than half will allow work to commence immediately on the full restoration of a Mark-1 corridor coach. This is extremely important as once restored it will join other coaches the railway has recently restored and means that the railway will be able to run trains that are long enough to comply with Covid-19 social distancing regulations, but just as importantly are also economically viable.
Money will also be used to hire in specialist machinery to allow some essential track maintenance work to be carried out that will ensure the railway’s staff and volunteers will be able to socially distance. Finally, the remainder will be spent on IT equipment, to allow homeworking, advertising and some consultancy advice for our planned reopening for the 2021 operating season.
“All the heritage railways are different, as we have seen some have been able to run public trains this year and other like ourselves have not. This has been because the nature of some of our stations and our rolling stock has meant we have felt we could not run a service that would be compliant with Government Covid-19 precautions and also be economically viable. This grant will allow us to meet those requirements and once again be able to run a public service.” George Saville, MNR General Manager