Heritage railways across the country, including North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), are joining forces during the lead up to the summer holidays to raise awareness of their importance as a tourism destination, educating and telling the story of Britain’s railways whilst also providing local jobs and volunteer opportunities and community engagement.
Following the enormous success of the past two years, the third annual ‘Love Your Railway’ campaign is bringing together over 60 organisations and counting as the campaign continues to gain momentum with heritage railways still being encouraged to sign up.
Participating organisations are from as far afield as Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Snowdonia, and the Lake District for the nationwide campaign which shines a spotlight on heritage railway organisations, encouraging visitors to support them this summer.
Spearheaded by the NYMR, ‘Love Your Railway’ is a six-week campaign which runs from 5th June to 16th July, with weekly themes covering conservation, education, and research.
NYMR and its fellow heritage railways from across the UK carry over 13 million passengers each year, over 560 miles of railway line and contribute £400 million in economic impact. 22,000 volunteers and over 4,000 paid employees keep the UK’s heritage railways on track, highlighting the significant role railways played through the industrial revolution.
Chris Price, general manager at NYMR, said: “For the past two years, we’ve been so thrilled by the response to Love Your Railway, as it is bigger and better each year. For the first year there were over 50 heritage railways taking part in the campaign, and last year we saw nearly 100, which is phenomenal, so we have high hopes for 2023. This year, we have some exciting new ideas and elements planned for the campaign, and love that even more organisations have come together to help us spread the word.
“The aim of the campaign is simple – there are more than 150 operational heritage railways, which protect, conserve and bring to life part of the nation’s rich cultural heritage – giving enjoyment and learning to thousands of people every year and we want to do all we can to raise awareness of every heritage railway across the country.”
Steve Oates, chief executive at The Heritage Railway Association, said: “For the past two years, ‘Love Your Railway’ secured collaborations from as far afield as Cornwall, Suffolk, North Wales, North East Scotland and Northern Ireland, with over 50 heritage railway organisations taking part. We’re really proud to back this campaign and look forward to seeing many more rail organisations get involved in the inaugural campaign.”
The six themed weeks are: Volunteers, Fundraising, Community, Education, History, Restoration. Throughout the campaign heritage railways are encouraging visitors and supporters to get involved and share photos and memories of their visits on social media using #LoveYourRailway
Photo credit: North Yorkshire Moors Railway