DARLINGTON’S Head of Steam museum has joined a nationwide campaign spearheaded by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) to celebrate heritage railways.

‘Love Your Railway’ is a six-week campaign starting today which aims to shine a spotlight on the important conservation and education work heritage railways do, but also highlight how they have all been affected by the Covid pandemic.

Head of Steam is collaborating with NYMR and more than 35 other famous heritage railways to focus on a different theme during the six-week campaign.

These are; heritage, education, volunteers, family, sustainability and future.

Councillor Andy Keir, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for local services said: “There’s no doubt that heritage railways, museums and others have been hit hard during the pandemic and we’re delighted to be able to support the ‘Love Your Railway’ campaign.

“Our railways are a vital part of our heritage and we have ambitious plans to redevelop Head of Steam and surrounding heritage buildings to create a new world class visitor destination ahead of the 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025.”

Chris Price, General Manager at NYMR, said: “We’re optimistic and excited about the summer ahead, but the last 12 months have been like no other year, with lockdowns, reduced capacities due to social distancing, and staff and volunteers falling victim to the virus.

“There are more than 150 operational heritage railways, running trains over nearly 600 miles of track, which protect, conserve and bring to life part of the nation’s rich cultural heritage - giving enjoyment and learning to thousands of people every year.

“We want to do all we can to raise awareness of every heritage railway across the country and the challenges we face; all the participating railways will be posting their own social content across the six themed weeks, but we also want to encourage the public to get involved by sharing their favourite memories and inspiring imagery from their visits, using the hashtag #LoveYourRailway.”

Other famous railways taking part in the campaign include The Bluebell Railway, Crich Tramway Village, Severn Valley Railway and Snowdon Mountain Railway.