ALTHOUGH we run weekends all year round, our main operating season is just beginning.

We have been running trains throughout the Easter holidays and then from the end of May we operate seven days a week until September.

In addition, this year for the first time ever, we have been running our diesel rail bus every Wednesday, allowing school groups and many other visitors to enjoy the line when we have previously been closed.

This has proven very popular, because it makes it easier for schools to build a visit into their curriculum work, rather than just being able to use the railway as a venue for an end-of-school-year 'treat.'

We are working closely with the Museum of Rail Travel and Ingrow Loco museums, both resident at Ingrow station, to develop our educational offering.

With the two museums, and supported in part by a significant grant received by the Bahamas Locomotive Society (BLS) from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are funding an educational specialist, who is developing a number of initiatives to make clear the relevance of the railway and the museums to the schools' curriculum.

The BLS education centre, housed in a restored railway carriage at Ingrow station, is nearing completion, and will form the centrepiece of this effort.

Looking further ahead, we move into events season, and you can join us from May 2 to 4 to celebrate the making of the Railway Children film, then from May 15 to 17 to support the 'war effort' as we join Haworth's 1940s weekend. Paddington bear visits us from May 26 to 28.

To meet such a demanding programme of events we need to continue to deliver an operational fleet of steam locomotives and carriages of various historic periods, which is always a challenge, particularly when you consider the age of the carriages and locomotives.

It is great to report the successful return to traffic of a number of locomotives during 2014, and 2015 will hopefully provide an even greater variety of motive power, as the overhaul of Taff Vale Railway locomotive number 85 nears completion.

The recently-restored British Railways Standard 4, number 75078, was the star of the recent Steam Spectacular weekend.

It is particularly pleasing to be able to report that we are continuing to develop our engineering expertise, allowing us to undertake an increasing amount of the work in-house.

This both saves money and means that we are transferring these vital heritage skills to the next generation of volunteers.

However, we also need to modernise our engineering facilities, so are working on a scheme that will update our workshops, improving significantly the working environment for our volunteers and paid staff.

Clearly, the volunteer resource needed to operate all of these services, whilst still completing the required maintenance and other 'behind the scenes' tasks, continues.

We can make use of a wide variety of skills, so please do consider joining our team, however much or little time you can offer, and whatever aspect of the railway interests you.