The £1,904,902 Cultural Recovery Grant for the North York Moors Railway is a much needed lifeline and wonderful news. It will help maintain skilled staff and care for the historic locomotives in the museum’s collection. The North York Moors Historical Railway (NYMR) is the longest heritage railway in the UK, stretching for 18 miles through the North York Moors National Park, and is one of the biggest employers in the area supporting the region’s tourism economy.
In a joint letter of support for the grant to Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden MP, Scarborough and Whitby MP, Robert Goodwill and I wrote “Like many other businesses this year NYMR has been hard hit by the pandemic. Its current forecasts estimate that visitor numbers will be 15% of usual capacity, with the prospect of restricted operating and events opportunities for at least a further six months along with reduced maintenance and renewal investment resulting in a huge funding gap NYMR is an attraction like no other and one that we absolutely must preserve not only for its dedicated workforce, most of whom are volunteers, but also for the millions who use it and for those who stand in awe as it chugs through the beautiful countryside. We urge you to give it your full backing”.
“This is an iconic feature of North Yorkshire and this money will help save jobs and preserve it for the millions of visitors who enjoy it every year. It is unthinkable that we could lose it and this money will help preserve it for future generations.”
Robert Goodwill MP said “Not only does this grant secure the survival of an iconic tourist attraction that brings so many visitors to our area year after year but also the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is an irreplaceable element of our national historic heritage that we could never allow to be another casualty of this dreadful virus.”
Andrew Scott CBE, Vice Chair of the NYMR’s Trustees thanked the MPs for their support and said “We all breathed a great sigh of relief when we heard that our application for Cultural Recovery funds had been successful. It means we can keep our irreplaceable team of more than 100 staff together and play our role in attracting the visitors who will reinvigorate the National Park’s economy just as soon as the Coronavirus situation allows. We will now, for the first time, be able to run a winter service including dining trains as soon as lockdown finishes”.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Culture makes a huge and increasing contribution to our national life, bringing communities together, fuelling our creative industries, and representing our country on the world stage. These grants add to those announced last month, and will put these organisations in a better position to bounce back and help their communities recover from this crisis. The Arts Council is grateful to the government for the special support being made available to the arts and culture through the Culture Recovery Fund and we’re proud to support all the organisations receiving awards today.”