Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 17:27 UK

Steam railway awarded 2.8m grant

Bluebell Railway
Engines run along an old section of the Lewes to East Grinstead line

A Sussex steam railway has been awarded more than 2.8m to help fund a major expansion programme.

The Bluebell Railway has been granted a Heritage Lottery Fund award for new buildings next to its headquarters at Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex.

They will provide weatherproof shelter for up to 17 carriages.

Some of the money will also be used to restore the railway's historic platform buildings and create a museum and interpretation area.

The expansion project also includes a new locomotive servicing facility and a drainage system that allows rainwater caught on the roof of the carriage building to be used to fill the engine's boilers.

This very popular attraction, where the sight, smell and sound of steam brings the past to life, is a wonderful experience
Sheena Vick
Lewes District Council has already given planning permission and it is hoped work can start on project later this year.

Graham Flight, chairman of Bluebell Railway, said: "This is a major milestone in Bluebell's history.

"We are enormously grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the support and confidence they have placed in us by granting this award, and in giving us the opportunity to deliver this vitally important project to secure the continuing development of the Bluebell."

The Bluebell Railway was founded in 1959 and runs along a section of the old Lewes to East Grinstead line.

Sheena Vick, of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "Visiting this very popular attraction, where the sight, smell and sound of steam brings the past to life, is a wonderful experience.

"This Heritage Lottery Fund grant will help to protect a unique collection for future generations of visitors to explore and enjoy."



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