The West Somerset Railway (WSR) has announced today Friday 9 October that its recent application to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) ‘Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage’ support has been successful. The Plc will now receive a grant of £865,000, all of which will help the 23-mile former GWR branch line recover from the enforced closure of the railway since March during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage’ fund was created by DCMS to help heritage organisations survive and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The success of this application is fundamental to the immediate future of the WSR as it enables the Plc, along with the support of WSR ‘family’ support organisations, to bring people back to work and prepare for Christmas 2020 running and the planned reopening of the railway in full in March 2021.
The ‘Culture Recovery For Heritage’ grant will fund a wide range of projects covering infrastructure renewal; Covid 19 precautions and protection; operations; plus locomotives and rolling stock. It will provide immediate help with the costs of re-opening the line by covering certain items, such as the wages of essential staff brought back from furlough to prepare for trains returning.