THE RAILWAY can look back with great pride on what we achieved in 2018.

In June we hosted an eight-day event to mark five decades of operation, and celebrated the efforts of volunteers involved since the earliest days by presenting nearly 50 long-service awards.

Many of those same volunteers braved the worst of December’s weather to host Santa’s annual visit to the railway, before he and his pixies departed on Christmas Eve to work their magic for the big day itself. We don’t rest for long, and the line reopened on Boxing Day, running the popular Mince Pie Specials until New Years’ Day.

We remain open throughout the winter months, operating every weekend, and daily in half-term holiday (week commencing February 18) with characters from Paw Patrol visiting on February 20 and 21. February also sees us run the first mainline tour for 25 years hauled by Jubilee-class locomotive, Bahamas.

The first trip from Oxenhope all the way to Carlisle is already sold out, so we have arranged a second run on February 16, which is also booking fast, so please check the website for prices and availability.

The locomotive has been overhauled thanks to a significant grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and is cared for and owned by the Bahamas Locomotive Society, which is based at RailStory at Ingrow Station. You can visit their museum, and the adjacent Museum of Rail Travel, for free if you travel on a Day Rover ticket or pay the entry fee at the door.

Our popular Wednesday heritage diesel service recommences in March and we stage our annual Steam Gala from March 8-10, when we welcome visiting locomotives as well as steaming our home-grown operating fleet to run special services including express and freight trains throughout the weekend. There is plenty going on, so please visit the website for more details.

With so much activity, we work hard to keep the infrastructure in tip-top condition, an increasing challenge as the railway line first opened more than 150 years ago.

Through the winter we have been working on several projects focused on the infrastructure, including some that were visible and many others that were behind-the-scenes.

We have covered the ‘wheel drop’ machinery at Haworth, so we can use this important facility year-round as well as protect this historic asset from the elements. We have also raised the end of the platform at Haworth, making the full length of our trains more accessible.

There’s plenty you won’t see, including significant improvements to drainage along the line. All of this takes hours and hours of effort, so as we start the new year can I ask that you consider one of your resolutions to be joining our 600-strong team of volunteers?