A COUNTY heritage railway has received a lifeline funding boost of almost £1 million from the government to help keep it on track during coronavirus.

Severn Valley Railway has received £906,000 of vital government heritage money

The money received by the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) will help pay wages and for extra security to protect trains and stations including CCTV and fire and intruder alarms as well as pay for any new safety demands brought on by social distancing.

SVR chairman Nick Paul said: “This funding will play an essential part in the SVR’s survival through the pandemic.

"We expect to have lost around £2.5 million in revenue this year, as a direct result of the lockdown and subsequent restrictions.

"Although we’ve been running services again for more than two months now, we won’t be able to make up for such a severe drop in income.

"The Severn Valley Railway plays a huge part in the Midlands economy and is close to the hearts of the 250,000 visitors who come to us every year.

“Thanks to this generous government funding, we’ll be able to keep the railway running so it can continue to be a source of community pride in the future.”

The heritage railway is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country to receive money from the government's 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.

Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “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.

“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet.

"But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost."

Hartlebury Castle will also receive £166,500 from the government fund with Eastnor Castle near Ledbury receiving £291,000.

Great Witley Church near Worcester has also been awarded £37,500 to help protect its baroque interior.