After the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, many railways were ‘rationalised’ and gradually shut down.
But some people were not prepared to let the romance of the steam train die. Thanks to their efforts, many of these lines passed into community ownership and are now booming, thanks to new armies of dedicated volunteers. Andrew Martin, author of Night Trains and Underground, Overground and the Jim Stringer series of detective novels, goes out to meet these enthusiasts. Martin explores what it is about preserved railways which makes people so devoted that they will brave white hot furnaces, scalding footplates and the threat of exploding engines.