UK politicians back Love Your Railway campaign to help heritage railways

A number of UK politicians have voiced their support for this summer’s Love Your Railway campaign. Among them is Nigel Huddleston, Member of Parliament for the constituency of Mid Worcestershire and Minister for Tourism. That support has encouraged organizers to believe that this year’s event will be the most successful yet.

Love Your Railway highlights traditional railway organizations from across the UK. These preserved railways, located throughout the British Isles, are popular tourist attractions and serve as important learning resources and community facilities. The heritage rail sector was among the hardest hit in the tourism industry during the pandemic. The Love Your Railway campaign is designed to raise awareness and encourage new engagement with the industry.

weekly theme series

The campaign has been spearheaded by the North York Moors Railway (NYMR), which is one of eighty participating locations and special interest groups. Love Your Railway runs for six weeks, concentrating on the summer school holiday season. As part of the campaign, there are a series of weekly themes covering history, conservation, associations, family, volunteers and education.

The Love Your Railway team at the North York Moors Railway with (L to R): Kevin Hollinrake MP with Mike Wynn, Margaret Stainburn and Paul Middleton, Traction and Rolling Stock Manager.

The highly technical operation of historic and near-contemporary steam locomotives, coupled with the engineering complexity of operating a railway, whether modern or preserved, has captured the imagination of more than a few visiting patrons. Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, took a break from his constituency work to visit the NYMR. “I am pleased to once again support this brilliant annual campaign,” he said.

Politicians with railway interests

Hollinrake is the latest politician to show his support for Love Your Railway. He is joined by, among others, Nigel Huddleston, another MP and Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society. The Mid Worcestershire of it includes the northern terminus of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway; and Chris Heaton-Harris, former transport minister and MP for Daventry, including the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal.

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Paul Middleton (NYMR) and Kevin Hollinrake MP (NYMR image)

Lucy Allan, MP for Telford (covering Telford Steam Railway); and Dr Daniel Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich (for whom Felixstowe is a close neighbour), have pledged to the heritage railway’s summer campaign. Many other politicians have collaborating heritage organizations in their constituencies, giving the sector ample parliamentary opportunities for support.

Heritage Railways casts a filming spell

The heritage railway sector plays an important role in the economy in general. Although there are no heritage freight transport operators, there are examples of heritage rails that allow the passage of freight by rail. Indirectly, queues across the country have also proven to be ideal locations for filming. Among them, the NYMR has appeared in the globally popular Harry Potter movies.

“After another challenging year for the sector. Love Your Railway highlights our iconic railway history,” added Kevin Hollinrake. “With the end of summer, it is even more important to continue to support traditional railroads through the fall and winter months and ensure that [the sector] survive for future generations.”

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