THIS MONTH we celebrate 50 years of operation with a special eight day event to mark the achievements of the last five decades.

Our celebration starts on June 24 when we welcome on board a special train the many supporters and contributors to the line will know - one of the locomotives that hauled the reopening train back in 1968.

It has been a challenging and expensive overhaul, but we were very keen to do all we could to get the locomotive back in steam in time for the 50th anniversary.

From Monday to Wednesday, June 25 to 27, we welcome Royal Scot to the line, representing a class of steam locomotive that was resident at Haworth in the early days of operation. Booking details for these very special trains are available on the website.

From Thursday to Sunday, June 28 to July 1, we plan to run a variety of passenger services, including running trains that will be hauled by visiting heritage diesel and steam engines.

These will represent a number of milestones in the railway’s history, including us being amongst the first to appreciate the importance of preserving diesel as well as steam traction and as a result we hosted the first ever ‘Diesel Gala’. We will also be running our entire operational steam locomotive fleet during the event.

Friday, June 29, is the day of the 50th anniversary of the reopening and we are planning to recreate as much of the original event as possible, including gathering many of the volunteers who contributed to that momentous day in 1968.

Talking to those earliest volunteers, who have spent many years negotiating access to the line and amassing and restoring the locomotives and rolling stock, is truly inspirational.

There was very little precedent for what they set out to achieve, yet achieve they did. Fifty years later we have a legacy of which they can be rightfully proud. Sadly not all of the earliest volunteers are still with us, but we will remember them on June 29 in particular.

The amount of organisation and planning that goes into such events has not diminished at all in those five decades, nor has the effort required to operate increasingly elderly locomotives and carriages ever weekend and thought the holidays.

As well as the eight-day anniversary, we have our regular programme of events, including the fish and chip supper services, the Haworth Haddocks, and special operating events throughout the summer with the opportunity to ride in our oldest vintage carriages and travel behind heritage diesels.

Please visit the website for all the details and do consider joining the volunteering team. I do hope that you will be a part of our 50th anniversary celebration and will join me and the other volunteers on board soon.