THE Historic Dockyard Chatham has sounded an SOS for volunteers to help keep its standard gauge railway running.
Since the Royal Navy Dockyard closed in March 1984 and became a unique visitor attraction as the world’s only preserved naval dockyard from Tudor times, the internal standard gauge railway has continued to operate at least once a month, using volunteers.
The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust wants to extend the railway service, and needs more volunteers to do so.
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However, the railway team has shrunk in size, with older members forced by health or age to give up. The addition of a few younger volunteers has seen the team grow to 15 – but the trust needs to double the figure if it is to expand the railway’s operations.
It has therefore launched the SOS – Support our Steam Railway – campaign.
Gravesend-born enthusiast Brian Bollen, 69, a retired marine engineer who first became involved just before the Dockyard closed and drives 40 miles from his home in Margate to head up the weekend operation, said: “There’s something magical about working the railway. I would love others to share the magic to ensure it continues for more generations to enjoy.
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