Article by Sam Williams for the Folkestone & Hythe Express - published 14 October 2020
A lifeline has been given to one of the district's most popular tourist attractions thanks to an almost half a million pound government package.
The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (RHDR) has been awarded £470,000 after successfully applying to the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) for Heritage, set up to help the country's cultural gems survive the coronavirus pandemic.
The miniature railway opened in 1927 and runs along 13.5 miles of track from Hythe to Dungeness, with five stations in-between. It temporarily closed this year for the first time in its 93 year history due to the outbreak.
General manager Danny Martin says the award will ensure it can continue to open throughout winter: "Our people have much to do each winter to ensure the railway in all aspects is safe, well-looked after and justifies its position as the world's finest mainline in miniature. This will, without doubt, make this possible and we are both relieved and very grateful for the chance this gives us and the confidence it shows in our ability to work hard and deliver the best possible railway in 2021 and beyond.
MP for the district, Damian Collins, said: "The RHDR is such a major part of the heritage of Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh and the country and I am thrilled this money will help it weather the covid storm and be therefore for future generations to enjoy. Huge credit must go to the Government for this invaluable support."
The CRF is funded by the government and delivered by heritage experts - Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund - to support organisations across the heritage ecosystem which have fallen on hard times due to the pandemic. It total, more than £67 million has been shared out among of 433 successful applicants.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounce back post Covid."