Monday 27 March 2017

Alton Towers with Steam Trains?

Alton Towers or Alresford to Alton?

We don't do this nearly enough, but your comments to our last article have been very deep and showed what a great bunch of followers we are lucky to have.

An interesting point raised by G Shell (That's Gavin) on the difficult subject of attracting the younger generation to come away from those Xboxes and play Trains instead (safely and after years of training)
My theory is this. We have a lot of railway enthusiasts of a certain age because as kids that was the thing to do, with your handy Ian Allen, and was the Gameboy, iPhone, tablet, Xbox of today. 
Well, we are obviously not old enough to remember these spotter books that Gavin speaks of, but we get the jist. Now chances are you are reading this via one of those devices, it is another thing just to keep that device in your hand. If so, fair play and thanks. But what is going to make you put down that device and experience the real world of Railways?

Once concern we have shared recently is that most visits to Heritage Railways are for the benefit of filling Railway Groups and Forums with images of your visit to said Heritage Railway. Why on earth would anyone want to go and get filthy and not be allowed to take photographs while being filthy, unless of course you are at a safe distance with the workforce stood down. (We love this catchphrase)
 I do feel so many heritage railways are run by people who don't actually understand that they are a tourist attraction.
Is this a slippery slope to Peppa Pig World, with added Steam Trains? Surely the sole point of a Heritage Railway is that is does exactly what it says on the tin with the added bonus of world class facilities to make the visit to the 'tin' worthwhile and satisfying to those who couldn't care less if a Flying Pig or Flying Scotsman was at the front of their train.

The roll call of Steam Galas this year does indicate that many Railways are just happy to be running trains and the bare minimum of service is the attraction that is needed. Why spend a fortune on a Flying Scotsman when noone knows what it is? (bad example..)

Perhaps Gavin has a point here, maybe the time is over for complacency and narrow minded vision for your favourite Heritage Railway. Perhaps the shoehorning of the Heritage vibe must fit into a tourist attraction to make it viable in any ways and means possible.

One item is lost throughout and is the original predicament, encouraging young people to get involved. Perhaps the answer is that said young person must be paid to step away from the Game Boy (showing our age) and get dirty to keep their Nokia 3210 fully topped up for the rest of the week. 

Keep your comments flying in on the roles of young people on Heritage Railways. Perhaps you have the answer that will keep young trolls from bothering us and making themselves useful?

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