I didn’t expect this but Carlos had arranged to introduce me to the conference and give me the time to explain to the membership who I was and why I was there. I was able to tell them about the Rail Heritage Board and who the members are and what we are working towards as a partnership. I explained also about the HAZ and the support the Friends have received from the British Council via the Heritage Alliance to enable me to travel round the US to develop links with like- minded groups – and where I had been so far.
The President of the Lexington Group also spoke about the S&DR and its importance – and afterwards quite a lot of people came up to me to introduce themselves. There was a real atmosphere of excitement – even if they aren’t able to hold their Autumn meeting with us in England in 2025, there will definitely be quite a group of them coming. I have made it clear that we would welcome them with open arms and that the Friends would do all they could to help them plan their visit. I think they would love an outing on the North York Moors Railway – or the Weardale Railway or both! They love the idea that they could ride on a stretch of line that has been in continuous use for 200 years by 2025.
I also joined the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society and the Friends may be submitting articles to their journal in the not too distant future about the S&DR. it would be great if next year we could deliver a talk about the S&DR to the Lexington Group conference – we’ll just have to wait and see if that is considered appropriate.
We also made our arrangements to join the excursion to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad on Saturday and were really delighted to be given two complimentary tickets for the journey – which was really only for members of the Lexington Group and partners as they had chartered the whole train for the day.