The Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company has won the 2021 Heritage Railway Association award for being an outstanding visitor attraction.
The award was announced via an online ceremony and presentation due to Covid-19. There were nine categories altogether, each containing between three to five nominees in the running to receive one of the awards.
The other categories in the ceremony were: The Morgan Award for Preservation, HRA Award for Communications, HRA Award for Small Groups, HRA Award for Large Groups, Most Innovative Fundraising Idea, The Lord Faulkner Young Volunteer Award, The HRA Award for Diesel Locomotion and The Coiley Locomotive Engineering Award.
Other nominees up for the award included the Didcot Railway Centre, Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway, the Seaton Tramway, and the Statfold Barn Railway.
Addressing the win on Facebook, the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company said: “We’re so happy to announce that we have won the 2021 Heritage Railway Association award for the Outstanding Visitor Attraction. We have won this for the pioneering and enterprising way in which we worked against the clock to break new ground in readiness for the resumption of summer services following the lifting of the first Covid-19 lockdown.”
We’re so thankful for this award and blessed to be working in such a lovely industry with a raft of other brilliant railways – good luck everyone for the rest of 2021 and beyond!”
Since opening again after lockdown, the company has added extra safety measures to ensure its attractions are Covid-safe for visitors. These include the installation of 200 Perspex screens to allow for distancing, a fog machine to spray a sanitising solution into the air, and extra coaches have also been added to trains.
The Heritage Railway Association (HRA) is a voluntary run trade association which represents Heritage & Tourist railways, Museums, Tramways, Cliff Lifts, Railway Preservation Groups and other related organisations.
The awards recognise a wide range of achievements and distinctions across the heritage railway industry, with the awards acknowledging different individuals and institutions, as well as railways, tramways, and cliff railways.
Other winners included: Seaton Tramway’s Tramathon Live 2020 for the Most Innovative Fundraising Idea Award, the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway for The Coiley Award, the Downs Light Railway Trust for the HRA Award for Small Groups, the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway for the HRA Award for Large Groups and the last HRA Award of the show was won by the locomotive Class 50 Alliance for the new Diesel Locomotion Award.