A trip to the unknown

Britain’s heritage railways may set out to recreate the experience of a bygone age but they still have to interact with the digital age. Peter Brown reports on how the use of social media now has potentially far-reaching implications for the steam movement.

So many changes have happened in recent years affecting the lives of all of us but perhaps the one that stands out most is social media and all the implications that have come with it.

LMS Ivatt 2MT 2-6-2T No. 41312 departs from Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway. EDWARD DYER

TripAdvisor is one of the spin-offs where it appears that unqualified people can go to an event or purchase an item and publicly condemn the supplier whether a product, entertainment or a day out.

Heritage railways and museums have won top accreditation from TripAdvisor and if not, they have received very positive reviews. But there are also those that have been very negative. So how are the people who run such venues coping with it?

Here at Heritage Railway we decided to run an exclusive survey and despite the often salacious comment from a reviewer, most of the people we surveyed take the reviews very seriously indeed and if they consider the remarks to be truthful they act upon them. Such actions can only be good for the whole heritage movement.

For our survey to be accurate we have picked out heritage railways at random, from the major players, to the some of the smallest concerns whether standard or narrow gauge. Likewise we have contacted museums and steam centres. There were a few that declined to take part, although they have been in the minority. And at the end of it all we got a statement from TripAdvisor itself as to the legality of what it offers and what its reviewer should be adhering to.

Read more in Issue 224 of Heritage Railway – out now!

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