ONE of Cumbria's iconic railway lines has received a grant of almost half a million pounds.

The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, has been awarded £451,500 in the Government’s latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund to help it recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic.

The money is a lifeline for the heritage railway, which is one of the oldest and longest narrow gauge railways in England – known affectionately as La’al Ratty.

The family-owned attraction takes a spectacular scenic seven-mile journey in the Western Lake District and was first built in 1873 – but has felt the financial impacts of the pandemic on many areas of its business operations including staff retention, covid safety measures and keeping up with its railway preservation projects.

This funding will help the Railway with its recovery and give it a much-needed boost to get through the winter months ahead.

Peter Hensman, Director Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, says, “The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway has had a very tough and difficult time through the pandemic, having had to reduce passengers because of social distancing and cut important maintenance work to conserve funds.

"This grant will be of enormous help in securing our infrastructure and rolling stock and will ensure that this much-loved little heritage railway continues to enchant Lake District visitors in the years ahead.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, comments: “Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is such an iconic attraction for the Western Lake District and Coast.

"It is great to see they have been recognised by the Culture Recovery Fund as it will help to safeguard this long-standing heritage attraction as we head into winter."