A LAKE District historic railway museum has inched closer to a major modernisation.

Plans for the Ravenglass Railway Museum have won initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Museum officials are working on plans to create a purpose-built exhibition space in which to display its collection of historical rolling stock.


It is also planning new interactive and accessible displays and the recruitment of volunteers to help.

The project is intended to bring new life into the museum which was opened in 1978 so that it continues to make a significant contribution to tourism and education in the Western Lake District.

‘Initial support’ means the museum has passed the first stage of the Heritage Lottery Fund funding process.

Staff now have up to two years to submit fully-developed proposals to compete for a delivery grant.

Development funding of £7,300 has been awarded to help the museum progress their plans.

The Ravenglass Railway Museum exists to tell the story of the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway's rich heritage and its interaction with the valleys along which it runs.

It does so by collecting, protecting and displaying a collection of artefacts that represent the history of the local railways from 1875 to the present.

The existing museum is too small to accommodate the increasing range of rolling stock, artefacts and records worthy of preservation and it is hoped that funding can be raised to double the floor space to meet this need.

Peter Hensman, chairman of the Trustees, said: “We are delighted to receive this support from the Heritage Lottery Fund at this important moment in the museum’s history.

"We now have the opportunity to plan for a 21st century museum which will display properly our wonderful collection of engines and rolling stock and will help us meet our ambitions to make the museum a ‘must-see’ experience for the many visitors who come to the area.”

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Sara Hilton, of Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This is a great project which will transform the museum for future visitors and let as many people as possible enjoy its amazing heritage collections. HLF is delighted to give its support.”