A £40,000 GRANT coupled with the easing of lockdown restrictions in Wales has meant that wheels are turning once more at Bala Lake Railway.

Following an application, the BLR recently received the grant from the National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund which, together with the amount raised by their own Virtual Gala appeal, is of enormous help.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown began, Bala Lake Railway, like all tourist attractions in North Wales, has been deprived of any opportunity to operate, entertain visitors and earn an income in their limited season.

This put fifty years of work preserving railway heritage unique to North Wales and local jobs at risk.

However, this grant, along with the easing of restrictions in Wales, has meant that all staff members are off furlough and back at work, trains are back up and running, and other parts of the railway, including the popular Heritage Centre in Llanuwchllyn are now open.

Bala Lake Railway chairman Julian Birley said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players, we can now have a much greater hope of coming through these unprecedented times better and stronger. We are grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a lifeline to us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.”

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal well-being. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as The Bala Lake Railway during this uncertain time.”

A timetable of trains and events can be found on the BLR web site.

Like other attractions, they are following Welsh Government guidelines to keep staff and visitors safe. Hand sanitiser stations and a one way system are in place and visitors should stick to the 2m rule.