Heritage railways across the country, including the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR), are joining forces again this summer 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 community engagement.
Following the enormous success of the first two years, the third annual ‘Love Your Railway’ campaign, brings together organisations from as far afield as Scotland, Snowdonia, Leighton Buzzard and the Lake District* in the nationwide campaign which shines a spotlight on heritage railway organisations, encouraging visitors to support them this summer.
Spearheaded by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), ‘Love Your Railway’ is a six-week campaign which runs over from 5th June to 16th July, with weekly themes covering conservation, education and restoration.
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway 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.
Catherine Johnson, Marketing Manager at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, said: “Uniquely run by over 850 volunteers, and with just a handful of paid staff, we operate a round trip of 28 miles through the stunning Cotswolds Countryside. It is fantastic to be involved with the #loveyourrailway campaign again, to showcase 6 key areas of the railway, to our ever-growing social media following. We really hope they continue enjoying visiting our railway over the Summer months.”
Stephen Oates, Chief Executive at The Heritage Railway Association, said: “In 2021 ‘Love Your Railway’ secured collaborations from as far afield as Cornwall, Suffolk, North Wales, North East Scotland and Northern Ireland, with over 55 heritage railway organisations taking part and last year the campaign was even more successful with over 85 participating heritage railways organisations. We’ve really proud to back this campaign and look forward to seeing many more rail organisations get involved.”
The six themed weeks are: Volunteers, Fundraising, Community, Education, History, and 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 - Alex Cauldfield.