IT’S DIFFICULT to understand why volunteers offer their time so freely, but over 700 of us do so, day-in day-out to keep the wheels turning.

We have the group of Civil Maintenance volunteers who have just successfully completed a project to stabilise an area of embankment that has required occasional remedial work for over 100 years stop

This work required us to operate a modified timetable whilst the line was closed near Ebor Lane.

We will be similarly impacted in the spring when we tackle a planned bridge replacement between Ingrow and Damems stations. This work is very expensive and we have launched an appeal for financial support to help fund the £120k ‘Ingrow Bridge’ project.

Equally, we have volunteers who arrive incredibly early in the morning to wake their steam locomotives from their slumber, warming them slowly up to operating temperature ready for the first passenger service.

This gets increasingly challenging as the weather worsens over the winter months,

We also have the groups of volunteers you will see ‘front of house’ running the stations or driving the locomotives, and the guards waving their green flag when it’s safe for the train to depart.

They will be in early to open the station ready to welcome passengers and light the all-important booking hall fires, light the gas lamps when it gets dark, and tend the award-winning gardens.

There are all the volunteers you rarely see, including those who walk the length of the line to check the track every week, as well as the volunteers working on locomotive and carriage maintenance and overhaul in the workshops.

Then we have the events teams, who are working hard preparing for our forthcoming Beer & Music Festival, Halloween special trains, and making the final preparations for Father Christmas and his Pixies to join us on board the Santa Specials.

With Christmas in mind, it’s worth me mentioning that the Santa Specials are selling very quickly this year. There are already many trains that only have scattered seats available, so please do book soon to avoid disappointment!

As well as all the events, we continue to run trains every weekend and daily during the school holidays, so please do join us on board soon.

As ever, with so many volunteering opportunities and activities, I do hope that you will consider joining the team.

We provide full training for a range of roles and there are more details on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway’s website on how to apply.

The website also has timetables and fares for our special events and normal running days.