Full steam ahead for Kent railways campaign

Visit Kent has unveiled its Connecting Kent’s Heritage Railways project, funded by £75,000 from the Department for Transport’s Heritage and Community Rail Tourism Innovation Fund.

Working with Southeastern Railway and five heritage railways, the campaign aims to boost the historic network’s digital presence and forge closer links with the modern rail operators.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Visit Kent chief executive, said: “Kent has a wonderful heritage rail network, each offering something different – from dining experiences on steam trains, taking tea on retro diesel engines or exploring the coast on miniature railways.

“Our project will aim to inspire visitors to complete or extend their journeys around Kent on our heritage railways, with a new digital platform and increased information about nearby networks at our modern stations.”

The five participating heritage railway partners are East Kent Railway, Kent and East Sussex Railway, Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway, and Spa Valley Railway.

Mark Dance (pictured with Matthews-Marsh), Kent County Council cabinet member for economic development, added: “This is the latest of in a long line of compelling, strategic campaigns from Visit Kent to help grow the visitor economy – with plenty more planned for 2017.”

Community rail lines account for about 40 million journeys per year in the UK, and spending on transport by visitors contributes an estimated £430 million and 2,750 jobs to Kent’s economy.