Keeping the railway relevant and interesting to our passengers is a constant challenge, particularly as we work hard to balance the needs of the modern visitor with our charitable objects and heritage roots.

Passengers expect to see the traditional-looking and feeling stations, so that means some compromise when it comes to the facilities we have on offer, although the new toilet amenities at Oxenhope are a big step in the right direction.

What is disappointing is the amount of very modern anti-vandal and anti-burglary equipment we have had to install. Whilst we try to keep this equipment as effective – but also subtle – as possible, it could not prevent a recent spate of break-ins, which resulted in significant damage to historic items and destroyed volunteers’ work. But it did help police make arrests in connection with the incidents.

For any of you living near or passing the railway who see any suspicious behaviour, particularly when we are closed, please do report it to the police because it is so disheartening for our volunteers to have to repair such damage.

Much more positively, we keep looking to find reasons for visitors to come to the railway. We run a number of special events throughout the year as part of this effort, and although the Christmas holidays might seem a long way off, we have to plan ahead and are already helping Santa get the presents ready for the children who travel with us on our Santa Special trains.

Before then, we have our Autumn Steam Gala, with a number of visiting steam engines as well as the chance to travel in some of our more vintage carriages. Later, in October, we turn our attention to our very well-regarded Beer and Music weekend, which combines a real-ale festival with a wide range of musical entertainment. Full details are on our website.

On operational matters, we say farewell to one of our locomotives that has reached the end of its ten-year period of running and will then need a six-figure sum to be spent to bring it back into traffic.

We are looking forward to welcoming back to the main fleet our ‘USA’ locomotive, affectionately known as Big Jim, in the next few months. It’s a USA-derived Second World War steam engine.

And we are not only hard at work with the locomotives. When we finish seven-day running, we close the line for the following five days to allow our ‘permanent way’ gang the opportunity to undertake repairs and maintenance to the line. As ever, there is always something going on and something else that needs to be done, so please do visit the line to see the results of our work, and e-mail if you would like to join the team of volunteers.