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Government launches competition to boost rail tourism

1 March 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a competition aimed at community and heritage railways to encourage more visitors to travel by rail.

Government launches competition to boost rail tourism

A £1 million DfT competition has been launched to encourage and enhance rail tourism across the UK. The competition will offer grants to rail operators for innovative ideas and trials and is aimed particularly at heritage railways and community rail partnerships. It hopes to encourage more tourists and make it easier to explore the UK by rail.

Approximately 20 winners will receive grants ranging from £25,000 to £75,000 to develop their ideas.

According to the DfT projects could include:

  • improving the connectivity of heritage and community rail
  • improved disability access
  • special ticketing offers
  • better cycle facilities at stations

The vast majority of heritage railways and community railways are outside London and one key objective is to encourage more tourists to travel to destinations beyond the capital. Currently, around 10 million people a year visit a heritage railway with the sector contributing an estimated £250 million to the UK economy.

Rail tourism competition winners to receive grants ranging from £25,000 to £75,000

Community rail lines account for around 40 million journeys per year. They are often rural based and many support the tourism industry of these areas.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “We have a fantastic railway network that allows visitors to see the best of Britain’s tourist destinations. This is a great opportunity for heritage railways and community rail partnerships to further improve that tourist experience.

“I look forward to seeing what innovative ideas are put forward through the competition.”

Entries for the competition must be submitted by 4 April 2016. A pitching event will take place in London on 10 May 2016.

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