Many of us enjoy the railways we visit, taken pictures of locos or ridden the rails but most of us don’t stop and think about how this is achieved or presented to us. The majority of heritage railways are run on volunteer labour, from tea room staff, workshop fitters to loco crews giving up their time to preserve these lines. It has never been a better time in preserved railways especially here in the UK and the growth of all sorts of railways has been impressive. It would seem that you are never very far away from the heritage railway. It’s not that long ago since the demise of much of our railway history was enacted in order to “modernise” and streamline. However this has led to the creation or re=creation of times lost that people seem to miss.
There is something about a steam loco chuffing through the countryside that evokes a quieter, slower more peaceful bygone age that somehow we respond to. Just witness things like the Flying Scotsmans return to service after a decade long refit. I digress a bit, but the point of this post is to highlight those scenes are largely brought to use by a dedicated and often small bunch of people doing it because they love it and want to carry it forward to the next generations. As this band of enthusiasts grow older we need to be carrying on the flag of preservation with newer hands and minds. In this day and age of computers it is hard to attract attention to seemingly antiquated things but by the numbers of people turning out to see trains chuffing by there should be interest in protecting the past.
With all this in mind and the desire to do something myself I have signed up to volunteer on a little railway that may not be the most glamorous or biggest but has given me and many more pleasure over the years. It’s not that close to me and there are many more between me and it but there’s just something that pulls that no other has so far. I will no doubt post more about this as I am inducted and assimilated into the railway but for now I just wanted to highlight the need to do something about saving our heritages where ever you are. If you have some time, even if it is only a day a year, consider a local railway or any other interest you may have as they rely on the likes of use to keep the wheels turning.
Until next time..