Heritage Railways to Reopen Again
Due to the pandemic and ensuing Covid-19 lockdowns (we’re currently up to the third one), since the 5th of January 2021, all the Heritage Railways have been closed to customers.
If circumstances don’t change, and indeed the government doesn’t change its mind, in May 2021, the passenger trains will be allowed to start up once again.
Naturally, enthusiasts and customers will be excited. Many passengers miss this classic way of travelling and will be keen to get back to their favourite routes as soon as possible. Of course, many enthusiasts miss their favourite subject for their photography, and so are keen to take photos of the trains and the areas they’re stationed at.
Photo Details: GWR 0-6-0PT No: 1369 is seen at Woodville on the South Devon Railway working the 15.25 Totnes Riverside to Buckfastleigh service on the 5th October 2019
Because of the pandemic, this hobby has had to halt for a great deal of the population. Railway photography was a pastime that, in normal times, could be enjoyed on any given day, at any time. It’s unlikely that most photographers would have expected such a big break from their passion.
For those who enjoy train photography and treat it as a very serious activity (or even a fun one), it certainly must’ve been a bit of a jolt for it to all suddenly have to stop. There’s no doubt about it – railway photographers up and down the country are eagerly waiting for the date when they can return to photographing classic trains again.
Heritage Railways will also be pleased that the trains can hopefully start to run again soon. After all, looking after the site where they run doesn’t come cheap, and neither does the maintenance of the trains themselves. For these reasons, Heritage Railways will be very keen to be able to return to earning money once again, to spend where needed and to keep everything ticking along nicely. They’ve had to endure a considerable amount of time not being able to do this.
Some heritage railway organisations only survived thanks to the generosity of others. For example, the Swanage Railway in Dorset lost £2 million in revenue and had to abandon a project creating much-needed sheds for their carriages. In 2020, passenger numbers fell by 58,000 – meaning revenue was hit in a big way. However, thanks to the Swanage Railway’s Save our Service Appeal, they survived, raising an amazing £360,000. It’s likely that many more appeals will need to be set up so that other heritage organisations can attempt to recoup some of their losses. Going forward, one of the best ways you’ll be able to offer support is to use their services as soon as they reopen, and encourage others to do the same.
Enjoying heritage trains is an important part of many people’s schedule and something they’ve been missing a lot. Hopefully the break away from it has been used wisely by the heritage companies and they manage to make a good recovery from the very difficult months they’ve had to endure. No doubt, they can’t wait to get people back on the trains, and travellers can look forward to the journeys once again.
So, all of you railway photographers can rejoice that you should have a date in sight soon! I certainly will be out to my two local heritage railways, the South Devon Railway and Dartmouth Steam Railway.
Photo Details: L94 (GWR 5700 ‘Pannier Tank’ Class 7752) is seen crossing Broadsands viaduct on the Dartmouth Steam Railway working the 12.15 Paignton to Kingswear service during the KingsBeer Festival on the 14th July 2018