If you have a heritage railway near you, support it and look after it!
That is one of the conclusions of a report to Parliament, which follows a major study by the All-Party Group on Heritage Rail, to which Leighton Buzzard’s narrow-gauge railway gave evidence.
There are over 100 heritage railways in Britain, and the Group estimated that together they contribute over £250 million every year to the British economy.
Even a small operation like the one at Leighton Buzzard brings in hundreds of thousands of pounds, from the money its customers and volunteers spend locally, and its own expenditure on goods and services to keep the railway running.
The report also pointed out that, despite their importance to the economies in which they operate, heritage railways receive no regular financial support from either national or local government.
It recommends in particular that their potential role in providing public transport should be studied further, with the possibility of financial assistance for viable schemes.
The Department for Transport is studying the report’s recommendations.