AS WE steam through the year, we are getting ready to open the railway seven days per week, right through from the end of May to the beginning of September.

The past few weekends have also seen the railway very busy as we have supported the 1940s weekend and have hosted a Steam as well as a Mixed Traffic Gala, during which we have seen a blend of modern diesel and vintage steam services.

The events have all been very well-received, provided some unique photo opportunities, and have brought new audiences to the railway as they marvelled as the most mainline locomotives alongside the 1970s High Speed Train prototype.

The ‘HST’ prototype was the forerunner to the ‘125’ units that still run to this day through Keighley, operating between Skipton and London on the LNER route, so it was very special to see such an important set of vehicles running up the branch line to Oxenhope.

Events such as these help us to reflect on how much we have achieved in our 50 plus years of operation.

It’s almost impossible to appreciate the drive, commitment and enthusiasm of those pioneering volunteers whose hard work created what we enjoy today: just under five miles of beautifully restored railway, complete with stations, rolling stock and a fleet of locomotives befitting the rich history of the line.

To be able to host such important elements of the history of railways is testimony to what those early volunteers have achieved.

Last year we recognised over 50 active volunteers for five decades of service, and dozens more for one, two, three and four decades of volunteering effort.

Anniversaries and celebrations continue, as we look forward next year to it being half a century since ‘The Railway Children’ was released, a film that is synonymous with our railway, with the charm of Oakworth being centre-stage throughout the production.

It takes a huge effort to keep the increasingly elderly wheels turning whilst at the same time keeping the railway relevant for passengers who are ever less likely to remember steam-hauled trains on the mainline railway network.

As a result, we have appointed both a Commercial Manager and also Heritage Development Officer, to make sure that whilst we attract passengers and focus on the all-important commercial returns that we need to fund overhauls and maintenance, we also respect and explain the history of the line to our passengers.

We only have a small team of paid staff, and rely heavily on 600 volunteers to run the railway day-in, day-out. I hope you will consider joining us as a volunteer, but if you’re not able to commit the time, then please do join us on board and say hello!