Heritage Railways are worth £250m to the UK economy, a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail has revealed. Over 100 heritage railways and tramways attract tourists and provide local employment as well as valuable skills training and apprenticeships.
The Group concludes that apart from the economic benefits, heritage railways also provide employment for over 3,700 staff nationally and a productive outlet for a staggering 18,500 loyal volunteers.
The study also concludes that there is more scope to run public transport services on some heritage lines and recommends simplified planning processes to help them expand and particularly to connect with Network Rail.
A six month study by MPs and Peers heard from heritage railways, main line train operators, museums and tourism experts and the Heritage Railway Association.
45 years after the end of steam on BR, over 750 steam locomotives remain on heritage railways. More surprisingly, a total of 520 steam charter trains (more than one a day) ran on the national rail network last year in addition to the heritage lines.
Mark Garnier, MP for Wyre Forest and Chairman of the Group commented: "Britain pioneered heritage railways and is unique in the extent and richness of its railway heritage. This report is the first time the extent and success of the heritage railway movement has been fully assessed and the results are impressive.
"What has been achieved has been remarkable and with a few recommendations to Government and the continuing enthusiasm of the army of railway volunteers and the loyal staff, we believe a lot more can be achieved in the future " The Minister of State for Transport, Simon Burns MP said: "Britain has a great rail heritage and as well as preserving an important aspect of the nation’s history, heritage railways also make an important contribution in supporting tourism and local economies. We are looking closely at the report and will consider its findings."
Attract has undertaken a number of marketing consultancy assignments involving heritage railways and similar heritage attarctions
Click here for the Heritage Railways Report
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