Full steam ahead for visitor attraction

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The Scottish Railway Preservation Society has received the nod to steam ahead with a campaign for a new visitor route at the Bo’ness attraction.

The site has been given a ‘first round pass’ by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its Steaming Ahead project, which is based around a new steam engineering facility, with public access and interpretation along the route to a new entrance to the Museum of Scottish Railways.

HLF grant applications are assessed in two rounds. A first round pass is given when the HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding.

SRPS chairman, Vic Michel said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for the Society to improve public access to the museum.”

The Society will now have time to further development the project before submitting a second round application.

The project will create two new jobs in the SRPS during the development phase – a volunteer development officer and an individual to help with further development of the project and with submission of the second round HLF application.

Lucy Casot, head of HLF in Scotland, said: “We know that the heritage skills required to care for Scotland’s collection of steam locomotives are at risk of loss and without them, the collection’s future is in jeopardy.

“Thanks to players of the National Lottery, we are delighted to give our initial support to a project where experts can pass their specialist engineering knowledge on to the next generation providing a much-needed pool of talented people to help the Museum of Scottish Railways flourish.”

Construction of the new steam facility is planned for early 2019 with a new staff member offering training for up to four apprentices at a time.

Training will also be available for new and existing volunteers to ensure that the Society is able to continue as a largely volunteer run organisation, supported by key staff positions.

Members of the public will be able to access the new steam engineering facility with interpretation to help visitors find out more about Scotland’s history as one of the largest manufacturers of steam locomotives in the world.

The project will also help deliver better visitor access to the Museum of Scottish Railways with a new entrance level walking route.