We’re Steaming Ahead thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS) which manages the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway and Museum of Scottish Railways, has been awarded a major grant of £741,500 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund towards its Steaming Ahead project.

The project involves construction of a new engineering facility, which will be used to care for the steam locomotive collection, using the space to train volunteers and apprentices. The project will also improve and expand the visitor experience, with an interpretive trail along a new level walking route to the new steam shed and on to a new museum entrance. New interpretation within the steam shed, combined with new activities, will provide a range of learning opportunities across the site. The new facilities are expected to be ready by the spring of 2021.

The project will also involve three new members of staff to oversee the training, activity and volunteer training elements of the project, with staff members in place for the five years of the project. Ensuring that the engineering skills needed to care for and operate steam locomotives are passed on to a new generation is the main motivation for the project. A training scheme that will benefit many of the Society’s 400 volunteers is one part of this, while an apprenticeship and trainee scheme will deliver other benefits. Six apprentices will train through the Modern Apprenticeship scheme, delivered in association with Falkirk Council.

SRPS Chairman, Steve Humphreys said “We are very grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the award of this grant. The Steaming Ahead project will allow us to take a major step forward in having not only the right infrastructure to maintain and overhaul locomotives, but also to ensure we can train the next generation of volunteers and apprentices with the necessary engineering skills. We will also be able to do more to help the people of Scotland access our collection and understand the world leading role that Scotland played in the development of the railway not just in Scotland but throughout the world. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us and we are looking forward to starting work on it all.”

Lord Faulkner of Worcester, the Society’s President welcomed the award of the grant. “`I am very pleased that the Society has been successful with the Steaming Ahead bid. This is an exciting project that will bring lasting benefit to the Society.”

Commenting on the awards, Riona McMorrow, Acting Head of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “The volunteers at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway work tirelessly looking after Scotland’s precious fleet of locomotives to the delight of thousands of visitors who get to experience the heyday of steam travel. Thanks to funding from The National Lottery, these volunteers will pass on their specialist engineering skills to the next generation, broadening future opportunities for the trainees while ensuring vital traditional skills are not lost.”