August 2010 has just seen the Yorkshire Wolds Railway Restoration Project stage it’s first ever presence at the East Riding Engine Club’s steam & vintage rally at the Driffield Showground over the weekend of 14th and 15th.
A mixture of broken cloud and plenty of sunshine made for a perfect setting at the rally. The Saturday and Sunday saw a steady stream of people approaching our stand to ask questions, purchase souvenirs and take out memberships. Also on the go was a raffle for one of two delightful high quality framed prints of trains operating on the line in it’s heyday. One was a shot of a freight train entering Burdale tunnel from the Wharram end – a far cry from nowadays when the same location is now a heavily wooded area – and the other, a picture of a steam locomotive shunting wagons in picture postcard conditions at Sledmere & Fimber station.
In addition committee member and chief balloon blower-upper Keith Richmond inflated and handed out countless society balloons to the many youngsters and toddlers passing by. After some time other society members came to Keith’s support and inflated yet more balloons for the eager younger showgoers to snap up.
As with Driffield Show 2009 and 2010, various useful contacts were made with people who knew of sources of more old photographs of the line to add to the society archives, offered additional venues for the society to advertise itself and it’s aims or who had various reminiscences of working or growing up on or near the railway.
Whilst many who visited the society stand had memories of the former M & DJR, nevertheless not to be forgotten is the fact that the YWRRP is not a historical society existing to remember the former railway, but rather a group intent on rebuilding a portion of the route as a viable heritage tourist attraction in East Yorkshire and what will be the county’s first standard gauge heritage railway.
As with the society’s endeavours at the 2009 and 2010 Driffield Shows, various lessons were learnt about how to make our display efforts more effective in communicating the society’s aims to the public and the ever vital business of fundraising. Without this, the society would not be able to transform it’s vision of being the pioneers of active standard gauge heritage rail activities in the county into a working reality.
If you visited us over the weekend and would like to get involved in the society’s work, we are currently looking for people to participate in committee work developing the society’s plans and in particular, to take part in the work of the newly established Fimber site sub-committee. This sub-committee was recently formed to begin the work of developing and implementing the start-up of the society’s first physical presence on the former M & D.
You do not need to be a rail or business expert to be involved in this either. Rather, we are looking for people with enthusiasm and commitment and who can spare the odd day or two a month to come down to Fimber and help out. We are a friendly bunch and newcomers will be made more than welcome. The Yorkshire Wolds Railway Restoration Project has a varied cross-section of talents and some of our members, including at committee level, are not hardened rail enthusiasts (though we do have some of course!) but rather local people who share a common passion to see part of the former Malton & Driffield Junction Railway return as a viable tourist heritage attraction in East Yorkshire. In time it is hoped that this will have a knock-on effect of helping to support the local economy by promoting employment and business opportunities in the area of a revived railway and by letting more people know what a beautiful and heritage rich area East Yorkshire is.