OUR FOCUS at the moment is plans for 2019.

Next year will see a packed programme of events including steam and heritage diesel events, the ever-popular ‘Haworth Haddocks’ and plenty else besides, as well as the planning necessary to make sure that we continue to operate heritage steam and diesel trains every weekend and through school holidays.

We really do have to think well over 12 months in advance to get everything planned and ready for release in the annual timetable, and to make sure that our fleet of locomotives and carriages are in the right place and ready to run the service.

Of course there’s plenty to keep us occupied between now and the New Year, most notably Santa’s arrival in December for his Santa Specials.

We only have a handful of seats left, with many services fully booked, so do check availability on the website soon if you do want to join us on these family-favourites.

After Santa departs on Christmas Eve we welcome passengers on our Mince Pie Specials that start on Boxing Day and continue the festivities right through to New Year’s Day.

Sadly, Boxing Day brings back some bad memories of the year that the railway was flooded around Haworth, causing a significant amount of damage to our equipment, so I’m very pleased to report that we have raised funds to invest nearly £250,000 in improving the site.

We have already installed a new roof on the loco shed, and a building to cover the ‘wheel drop’ facility is under construction being for the next few weeks.

This investment is vital to protect from the elements the increasingly-elderly fleet and the equipment we need to keep the wheels turning.

Of course as well as the equipment needed, it’s the people that keep the railway running.

We are very mindful of the need to pass the engineering and technical skills to the next generation of volunteers, and have recently started an apprenticeship programme in conjunction with York College and the Boiler and Engineering Skills Training Trust.

This partnership will see five young people learning the skills we need to protect for the future of the railway’s operation.

We have over 600 volunteers for the apprentices to learn from, and it takes all of us to play our part to run trains every weekend and in school holidays.

As well as the behind-the-scenes engineering activity, there is the business administration of running a charity on the scale of the railway, the work to overhaul and maintain the fleet, and the many front-of-house operational roles.

If you have skills or interest in any of these areas, please do get in touch.

We provide full training and assessment for operational roles, and hope that you will consider joining the team as we prepare for the second half-century of operation.