A Cumbrian railway was crowned as a winner at a national railway awards in Brighton last weekend.

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway were honoured at the Heritage Railway Association Annual Awards 2024.

As well as scooping the top accolade in the Marketing and Communications category, the affectionately named ‘La'al Ratty’ was also highly commended in the category for ‘Railway of the Year’.

Staff from the iconic Cumbrian attraction travelled to the special gala event in East Sussex on Saturday February 10 to celebrate outstanding achievements across the heritage rail sector.

The evening featured cult trainspotter and social media sensation Francis Bourgeois as the guest speaker, with an audience including heritage railway staff and volunteers from across from the country.

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway was selected for its high-impact event marketing and communications, including River Esk’s 100th Centenary Gala and its seasonal ‘winter warmer’ trains.

Whitehaven News: River Esk 100th Centenary Gala River Esk 100th Centenary Gala (Image: Charlotte Graham)

An array of activity including social media content, digital communications, PR and printed publications all contributed to a 50 per cent increase in visitors between Boxing Day and New Year's Day, as well as a 20 per cent uplift in visitor numbers for the annual gala.

Head of marketing and business development at Lake District Estates, Rachel Bell, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and the wider Lake District Estates teams. Congratulations to everyone involved – this wouldn’t have been possible without all the hard work of our colleagues, volunteers and associates, and the support of our visitors!

"It really is a team effort and another win for Cumbria to be proud of against some very tough competition!” 

Stuart Ross, general manager (visitor experience), added: "This is an award given because of provable results and I’m so proud of everyone involved.

"Our marketing team do a phenomenal amount of work on our behalf, to showcase our historic railway and tell the stories which has made it a must-see attraction for almost 150 years."

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is one of the most scenic narrow gauge railway routes in the UK. Along the seven-mile journey, passengers can enjoy panoramic views of the Cumbrian coast and dramatic mountain scenery.