Historic Environment Scotland Funding for SRPS

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has awarded the Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS) £158,654 funding to ensure that essential electrical works can be carried out to visitor buildings, train maintenance buildings and other areas of the historical site at the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway. Since 1981, several historic buildings have been obtained and re-erected to provide a traditional railway setting at the site in Bo’ness. One of such is Wormit station building which is their traditional Booking Office. It was relocated from the south end of the Tay Bridge and is just one of the visitor buildings that will benefit from an electrical upgrade which won’t detract from the nostalgia of a golden age that visitors so enjoy.

In addition to this, the funding will cover enhancements to the interior of their fleet of historic train carriages with Perspex screening installed within to aid social distancing for passengers.

The remaining funding will assist the Society to carry out a business review with consultants to enable them to make the most of their award-winning heritage railway, Scotland’s largest railway museum and remain Britain’s longest established operator of scenic railway excursions.

Steve Humphreys, Chairman at the Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS), said:

“The Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway and Museum of Scottish Railways have been developed by SRPS volunteers for over 40 years on a reclaimed site on the south shore of the Firth of Forth and normally welcome over 60,000 visitors aboard nostalgic steam and heritage diesel trains and through the doors of Scotland’s largest railway museum every year. We were unable to open to visitors at all last year. SRPS Railtours LTD, our mainline tour subsidiary, was not able to run tours in its 50th anniversary year. As a result we did not raise the income we would normally get to put back in to our preservation of Scotland’s railway history.

We are grateful that HES has assisted us at this time of great difficulty. The railway, museum and railtours are operated by volunteers primarily and it is their dedication and enthusiasm that has got us where we are today. There are many traditional skills which will be lost if we cannot pass them on to the next generation and the upgrades to our existing infrastructure that this grant will cover will assist us greatly.

Our volunteers are already working hard to install screening in our fleet of historic coaches to improve the protection for passengers and social distancing. The enhancements we have been able to make due to this funding mean passengers will be able to travel once again behind a mighty steam train at Bo’ness or on a SRPS Railtour around Scotland as soon and we can return safely to running services.”

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive at HES, said:

“From museums in the Highlands to historic venues and buildings in central Scotland and the Borders, we are pleased to support a diverse range of projects the length and breadth of Scotland as part of the Historic Environment Recovery Fund. By helping to protect jobs, reopen historic sites and maintaining investment in traditional skills training and apprenticeships, we hope to support the wider recovery of the sector and Scotland’s economy.

“While historic sites and visitor attractions have been impacted by the closure of sites throughout the 2020 visitor season and the loss of revenue, other organisations in the sector have also had to adapt the way in which they carry out their work, put crucial traditional skills training and educational activities on hold and look at new ways to generate income, and we hope that this funding will allow the recipients to prepare for the future.

“The historic environment sector provides countless benefits to local communities – including providing jobs and generating tourism spend – and it is vital that we support these organisations and ensure their important work can continue as we face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and seek to harness opportunities ahead.”