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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
3m award for steam railway
More than 3m of lottery cash has been awarded to build a heritage centre for the Severn Valley Railway (SVR).

The 3.3m Heritage Lottery Fund grant means that plans to build the centre on former colliery land next to Highley station can go ahead.

Some of the cash will also be spent on a new locomotive shed to protect engines from the weather.

It is hoped the award will provide a boost to tourism for the towns and villages along the 16-mile Kidderminster to Bridgnorth line.

'Far-reaching benefits'

John Leach, SVR's marketing manager, said: "We had a phone call from the lottery this morning (Wednesday) confirming the award.

"It is tremendous news for the railway.

"The money will be given to us in stages, but it means we can make an immediate start on drawing up plans for the development of the land we bought recently."

Robin Jones, editor of the Heritage Railway magazine, said: "This allocation will have far-reaching benefits for the transport history of the West Midlands.

"The Severn Valley Railway is the second most popular heritage line in the country after the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and this could make it the most popular."

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