IT’S THAT time of year when we draw breath after running for seven days per week since May.

The busy summer period came only a few weeks after we were enjoying Flying Scotsman’s visit.

Our volunteers and staff have operated the railway for over 100 continuous days using vintage steam engines, one of which that has been in regular use dates back from 1899, and carriages from the 1950s and 1960s.

We need to give time for maintenance of the increasingly elderly infrastructure and so after the period of intensive operation, it is our tradition to hand over the railway over to our Civil Maintenance volunteers to work their engineering magic.

In previous years they have been involved in waterproofing bridges, replacing the level crossing at Oakworth, and relaying track.

This year, their activities and the length of time that the work will take combine to mean that we have had to operate a special timetable for a weekend, with the line ‘split’ near Oakworth.

We will do all that we can to minimise the impact on our regular timetable and we work very hard to make sure that we can continue to keep the line open all year round.

The civil maintenance team’s work involves using one of our steam-powered cranes, which is a fantastic sight when in operation, and it’s an example of us running to very modern standards, but using very traditional techniques to achieve those high standards.

This blend of contemporary and heritage is an important part of our role in keeping railway history alive.

As well as the engineering work going on behind the scenes all year, and the focused Civil Week, we are planning our increasingly-popular Beer and Music Festival from October 19 to 22 and readying the railway for Santa’s arrival at the end of November.

Tickets for this year’s Santa Specials are selling fast and already some dates nearer Christmas are getting very full, so please do book soon via the website to avoid disappointment.

We are also planning our 2018 event to mark the fantastic achievement of having operated the railway for 50 years next summer, and we are planning an unprecedented eight-day celebration to mark the occasion.

Running events like this takes a huge amount of planning, as well as coordinating dozens of operational and front-of-house volunteers on-the-day, so I would ask you to consider joining the volunteer team.

We run trains every weekend through the year, so don’t forget that you can enjoy all year round our gas-lit stations, the toasty roaring fires in the waiting rooms, and the steam-heated carriages whatever the weather.

We look forward to welcoming you on board soon.