Happy rail heritage volunteers do the locomotion
Volunteers at a heritage railway in Cornwall have been making the most of the gap in train services to catch up on essential maintenance.
The Bodmin and Wenford Railway – the county's only full-size railway still regularly used by steam locomotives – runs along six-and-a-half miles of track through stunning countryside.
And while the popular services have been suspended during the winter, a band of dedicated volunteers, from far and wide, have been putting the time to good use.
A series of weekend "Trackbash" events are being staged, with volunteers working on locomotives and rolling stock, signalling equipment, building maintenance and the line.
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"Volunteers are a vital part of the railway's workforce, and come from all over Cornwall, Plymouth and beyond," Jimmy James, of the Bodmin Rail Preservation Society, said. "At the weekend we were re-railing at Quarry Curve just outside Bodmin on the branch to our mainline connection at Bodmin Parkway."
Mr James said the workforce had an average age of 62, included a Cambridge graduate and were almost all retired from an "eclectic mix of former occupations".
He added: "It was a successful weekend's work, 30 sections of old 60-feet rail being removed, and 30 sections of newer rail going back in – all done with crowbars, key hammers, considerable muscle and old fashioned know-how."
The railway has flourished after a small group of volunteers reopened a branch line in 1986 to run steam engines. The track was closed by British Railways to passengers in January 1967 and completely shut down in November 1983.
Scheduled steam trains resume from February 17-22, then again on March 16.