Why is railway heritage important?

Posted: 18/02/2021, by:

Railways developed so commerce in its many forms could thrive whether that was for moving coal or other raw materials, manufactured goods and of course people!

Passenger railways have been with us in Britain for almost 200 years since the passenger service for the Liverpool Manchester RY formally opened in 1830. The routes that were established across the UK in the 19th C went a long way to shaping the map of the UK as we see it today. Towns grew up purely because they were at major railway junctions and seaside resorts were created from scratch or developed quickly because railways were able to bring vast number of people from industrialised towns for some much needed sea air.

In the years following the second world war, many rail routes were closed but if you know what to look for you can find the ghostly remains across the country. The trains, the track and the stations may be gone but the perfectly straight wide pathways that run under bridges often there for no apparent reason eloquently point to a former railway line.

There are a number of historic railways across the country and we at Tricolor have had the pleasure of working with a number of them. These organisations not just preserve vintage trains but many of them are kept in full working order and in some cases you can even ride on them.

COVID has hit the historic railways hard. Many of them are entirely volunteer-run which in itself has caused problems are so many of the volunteers are by their nature retired people who have been shielding or taking extra care during the crisis. COVID has brought a lot of issues for historic railways into sharp focus, including a widespread reliance on older, typically male, volunteers. COVID has in some instances pushed heritage railways into effectively wiping the slate clean and rebuilding their business and operational models from scratch.

We urge our railway clients to really take a close look at how they can provide volunteering opportunities for a much broader range of people. This could include trying harder to recruit more women to volunteering opportunities across the board. And what are the volunteering opportunities for young people who are the key to the sector’s long term survival? STEM-related training opportunities are another great way of showing that an historic railway founded in the 19th century can help address a skills development need in the 21st century.

We at Tricolor were especially impressed by the creative flair shown by the Mid Hampshire Railway who, in a COVID safe way, covered one of their steam trains with huge numbers of LED lights to create a winter Steam Illuminations experience that attracted 15,000 people. Good job! So we at Tricolor genuinely appreciate importance of railway heritage and we’d be pleased to speak with you.


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