THIS MONTH we have been celebrating decades of loyal service by our hundreds of volunteers..

At our 50th anniversary back in June, we issued nearly 50 awards for the awe-inspiring achievement of five decades of volunteering, with many of those 50 award-holders still very active members of our operational volunteering team.

It truly humbling to think that they were involved in the very earliest days of clearing the line and dealing with the mountain of paperwork to allow the first service to run in 1968, and have seen the railway transformed to the established operation it is today.

Following in the footsteps are our more recent joiners, but even many of them have been here for several decades and at our recent annual ‘thank you’ event for volunteers we bestowed long-service honours on dozens of members who have served the railway for 10, 20, 30 and in many cases 40 years.

We know that without the dedication, commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers, day-in, day-out and whatever the weather, we would not still be running trains fifty years after that first service in preservation left Keighley on June 29, 1968.

Whilst we have celebrated these achievements and we get to enjoy the briefest of respite after our period of seven-day per week operation over the summer, we are still running every weekend and are gearing up for the Beer and Music event (October 18-21) and it is not too long to wait for the visit of Father Christmas.

Santa Specials run in December weekends before Christmas from December1 plus Christmas Eve, and which they are filling up very quickly, with some services already all but full, so please do book soon to avoid any disappointment.

The other major operation in September was our annual Civil Maintenance week, when we carry out jobs that need the trains to be not running.

This year we have improved the drainage and relaid track at Oakworth, replaced the pointwork at Oxenhope, begun the refurbishment of the toilet facilities at Keighley, and worked to raise the level of the end of the platform at Haworth.

Track was lifted after the last train passed on the Sunday evening, and – after a huge effort come rain or shine during the week – the track was recommissioned in time for the first service on Saturday morning.

It takes months of planning and a huge effort during the week, but is all part of what’s necessary to keep the wheels turning.

As those wheels get increasingly elderly, along with infrastructure, our planned maintenance and overhaul programme gets ever-more costly and technically challenging.

If you are able to donate to the charity we would be very grateful, but just as important to us is our volunteers’ time, effort and skills, so if you are able to get involved, please do get in touch.