A1SLT receives lifeline grant from the Culture Recovery Fund

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.  445 organisations will share £103 million, including The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

The Trust has been awarded £153,000 to ensure the continued maintenance and operation of world famous new build steam locomotive Tornado on the national rail network in the UK.  This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund – funded by Government and administered at arms length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.  Beneficiaries include famous heritage sites across the country, from Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piecehall in Halifax.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said, “As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, added, “There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important.”

Referring to the award, Steve Davies, Chairman, A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, responded, “All of us at the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in Darlington are deeply grateful for the award of this Heritage Fund Grant, and in particular we wish to pay tribute to the Government for recognizing the need to help railway heritage, and in our case mainline railway steam operations, at this difficult time.  Covid-19 restrictions have had an impact on our sustainability, but this significant grant will help ensure that we can come out of the far side of this challenging situation fully operational and able to make a major contribution to the UK’s tourism, leisure and heritage economies.  Therefore, on behalf of all of our Trustees, staff, volunteers, supporters, covenanters and donors, may I reiterate our gratitude to the Government for this timely, generous and inspired award of a Heritage Fund Grant.”

Tornado with ‘The Ticket to Ride’ tour near Preston – Kallum Buckley

Tornado runs over ten thousand miles across the UK every year delighting thousands across the country. This grant will enable the locomotive to be maintained in full operational condition throughout 2021 and beyond so it can continue working across the nation.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, concluded, “It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial.  Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.  All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.

You can read the full press release here.