Hello everyone, how are we all?
I have a confession to make…I have to be brutally honest with you all and admit to you that I have another woman in my life. Her name is Eden and whilst she might not be everyones’ cup of tea, she is gorgeous to me and I’ve fallen for her. We have been spending a fair bit of time together lately which has been so much fun and I hope we have a long future ahead of us….
…for any of you worried, that may not know, Eden is ‘River Eden’..she is green and black (mostly), has 4 wheels and weighs a few tonnes…this is her…
(paint on the floor was where I put my stirring stick down by the way, I’m not that crap at painting haha, and the little drip of yellow was rectified)
A few weeks ago I started volunteering and quickly became a member of the Kingdom Of Fife Railway Preservation Society and Fife Heritage Railway. I’d always known of the railway when I moved over to Fife but never actually got around to having a proper visit. When we moved to Methil I was even keener to go along, but again my usual crapness, anxiousness and procrastination meant I didn’t. Until a dear friend of mine took it upon herself to message them on my behalf so to speak and that was the little shove / kick I needed to go down to Kirkland and at least see about what being a volunteer there was all about, and if I could help them in any way I could.
So I went along and I was immediately made to feel very welcome. I was shown around by Peter and introduced to a few of the guys there, and that was me…hook line and sinker…sold! After only a few weeks I feel really part of the team and valued. I feel safe, understood and respected. To anyone who has the mental health issues I have you’ll know that that is pretty much dreamland, all you can ask for. To look forward to something so much, and walk home every time you’ve been there, knackered and with a sense of achievement and pride, feels pretty damn good. They’re a terrific bunch of people, I can’t thank them all enough, and I hope to be there for a very long time.
My basic point of all of this is to show that it doesn’t matter who you are, what your abilities are, what your experience is, you should be and hopefully will be welcomed in to your local preservation society or heritage railway without any pressures or expectations. I am looking forward to learning so many new things and expanding my skills and knowledge, and I’m 40 years old. So for all the youngsters out there in Railcam world, why not give it a try? My 13 year old stepson has started coming along for a few hours because it gives him something to do, learn new skills, something to put on his future CV, you never know he might want to join the big railway or become an engineer or learn a trade…maybe not, but these things need to be tried and experienced in my humble opinion. If you love railways and want to do something that makes you happy then heritage railways are an amazing place to be. There are lots of things that need doing, it’s not all simply about ‘playing trains’…in order to get those trains to play the work that goes on behind the scenes is staggering. For example, it’s taken me almost 21 hours to paint half a small engine for crying out loud haha. I’ll be very honest and tell you that I didn’t realise how much work went on to get a steam loco cleaned and prepped and ready for even just one days’ work. Diesel locos need there air pressure etc maintained, oil levels for everything maintained, rolling stock needs cleaned and checked, the site itself needs attending do…hundreds of stuff. There is something for every individuals’ expertise I guarantee it. Get yourself along there!
We are lucky to be associated with some of these great heritage railways at Railcam, from the oldest to more recent, some are very famous…but it doesn’t matter the status or longevity of whatever railway or society you join, we all have to start somewhere…and you can help build something really special, to yourself, to others, and for many many people to come. I get to live a dream twice a week and more when there’s a running day. The pride I have for what I’m doing is immeasurable because I’ve always loved railways and trains and everything about them. I sit on one of the rails having a cup of tea during lunch and look around and think “I’m actually sitting on a rail, on a track, of a railway!” and have a little giggle to myself like a wee child haha.
Of course, life may dictate that many people will not be able to make it along, which is understandable. I don’t want to come across as sitting on a high horse or saying “look at me, look how great I am”, I’m sure some will think I think I know it all because I’ve joined a railway. I’m not saying you should because I am. I do know that some support in different ways, I’m just trying to get more people involved in the heritage railway scene so it can continue for future generations to enjoy and fall in love with. So what do you say, you fancy it? You won’t regret it. You get to get mucky and covered in soot and oil and stuff without being told off!
That’s all I wanted to say really. Thanks again for taking the time to read my nonsense. Take care and speak soon. Remember to always enjoy our railways safely.