As in the previous couple of years the Association’s End of Season Special has coincided with the Railway’s End of Season Parade; although strictly speaking this is something of a misnomer. Time was when at this time of year – probably earlier going back a bit further – everything stopped running, everything was put back into its box, and it was all hands to the maintenance pumps until Easter. Although one could argue that it marks the end of daily running, so much more now goes on over the winter: weekend running to Dungeness, Santa’s and Driver Experience – as well as p/way trains etc. as required – and given the pile of new rail, sleepers and bags of ballast in the yard, there will be plenty of them.
Last year attendance was at an all-time high, coinciding as it did with the Association’s 50th Anniversary, and poignantly with the unveiling of the ‘Red Wheel’ from the Transport Trust by Sir William – on what turned out to be his last public appearance on the railway.
This year to be frank, numbers travelling on the special were disappointing – again raising the question of the viability of running the train. No danger of the popular Parade not taking place in future, just our special being part of it. A lot of planning went into devising unusual schedules and workings over the week end, and a lot of work went on behind the scenes setting up the booking system etc.
This year has also seen many of the Trustees under pressure in not only their day to day working lives – but to those who volunteer on the operations front on the railway, it has been a particularly onerous year in terms of time and effort. However, they are minded that all is not lost! Yes it was disappointing, but perhaps a fresh set of eyes is needed to rejuvenate the matter. So to that end a ‘Champion’ is sought! Someone who will join the Communications & Special Events Portfolio Group with the specific task of organising and promoting our future End of Season Specials. This job has armchair elements but ideally someone who is already actively involved and who knows how the railway works, or who aspires to that role is what we are looking for. In the first instance please send your CV to Simon Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org .