‘Come and join us’ urges young general manager

By Geoff Courtney

ONE of the heritage railway movement’s youngest general managers is hoping that the tantalising prospect of running a station or being in charge of a steam locomotive will boost his volunteer base against a background of increasing visitor numbers and a sharp increase in dining train numbers.

All hands on deck: Members of Spa Valley Railway’s locomotive department, where vacancies exist for a variety of volunteer roles, with No. 1636 Fonmon, built by Peckett & Sons in 1924. Named after a medieval castle in the Vale of Glamorgan, the former cement works 0-6-0ST, originally preserved at the Avon Valley Railway, recently left the Spa Valley for the Ribble Steam Railway in Preston. DAVID STAINES
All hands on deck: Members of Spa Valley Railway’s locomotive department, where vacancies exist for a variety of volunteer roles, with No. 1636 Fonmon, built by Peckett & Sons in 1924. Named after a medieval castle in the Vale of Glamorgan, the former cement works 0-6-0ST, originally preserved at the Avon Valley Railway, recently left the Spa Valley for the Ribble Steam Railway in Preston. DAVID STAINES

Earlier this year Jonnie Wesson became general manager of Tunbridge Wells-based Spa Valley Railway at the age of 23, a decade after he had joined the five-mile line as a volunteer. Now he is in overall charge he has launched an appeal for people to follow in his volunteer footsteps – a campaign that will be only too recognisable to probably every heritage line in the country.

The railway, which runs from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge via High Rocks and Groombridge stations, has 225 volunteers on its books, but there are vacancies aplenty in a variety of roles.

Read more in Issue 220 of Heritage Railway

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