WE have just enjoyed hosting one of our most successful Steam Spectacular weekends.

During these hugely popular occasions we run demonstration freight trains, operate vintage carriages and run double-headed and other unusual combinations for our passengers to experience.

This time, for the first time in several years, we were able to welcome two visiting locomotives to the line, thanks to restrictions on road access being lifted in the past few months.

For many, we appreciate that one steam locomotive can look very much like another, but there are some subtle and some not-so-subtle differences and nuances that our volunteers and plenty of visitors enjoy.

The challenge of hauling a heavy train up the curve and bank out of Keighley Station is sometimes a bit too much for locomotives designed for different purposes.

So it was with one of our more powerful, but somewhat light-footed, visiting locomotives, ‘Sir Keith Park’, that joined us from the Swanage Railway where it is owned by Southern Locomotives Limited.

On their website you can read about the fascinating history of the locomotive’s preservation and restoration, and see some amazing before and after photos of their skilled work.

Our experience on Friday gave us the chance to introduce more double-headed operations than planned over the weekend, which is a sight (and sound) to behold!

The other locomotive involved 'Foxcote Manor', a Great Western Railway veteran, looked very much at home, even though it too was a long way from its base on the Llangollen Railway, where it is owned by the Foxcote Manor Society.

We are very grateful to the owners of these locomotives for making them available to us, but we would also like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who helped to plan and operate the three-day event.

As well as the effort put into the gala weekend, we have a busy few weeks ahead of us.

We have just hosted the annual Beer & Music festival, and are now preparing to support the Haworth Steampunk weekend, which is a genre of science fiction that – very appropriately – celebrates imaginative and often bizarre-looking steam-powered machinery.

We provide the perfect backdrop and mode of transport for the event in Haworth, which runs from November 18 to 20. (see the website for details of services).

Then we turn our attention to Santa and his Pixies, who joins us every weekend from November 26 to Christmas, plus on Christmas Eve and December 23.

Tickets for several days have all but sold out, so please do book soon to avoid any further disappointment.

I am sure you will appreciate how much volunteer effort goes into organising these and other events, so please do consider donating any of your spare time to the railway, whatever level of experience and amount of time you can offer.

We provide full training and offer a wide range of opportunities, from the front line of operation to the behind the scenes organising, administration and engineering that help keep the railway's wheels turning.