The East Lancashire and Chasewater Railways – two steam lines that can trace their origins back to the very earliest days of the preservation movement – have become the latest to win the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
They were among 193 charities and groups to receive the award – the highest that can be bestowed upon a volunteer team in the UK – for 2016.
The ELR, which opened in 1987 but started life in the late 1960s at Helmshore station on the Ramsbottom-Accrington line, has a volunteer workforce numbering over 700.
The Chasewater was among the very first standard gauge preservation schemes, originally formed in 1959 as the West Midlands Branch of the Railway Preservation Society. Its volunteer base currently stands at around 70.
ELR Chairman Mike Kelly said: “As chairman of the railway, I am immensely proud of what our volunteer team has accomplished over the past 30 years, from the initial steps to preserving the line to running one of the North West’s most successful tourist attractions. Without their passion and commitment we would not have the railway that we have today.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our wonderful volunteers and let them know just how much they are appreciated.”
Chasewater Chairman Mark Sealey said: “I am extremely proud and overjoyed that the CR has won this prestigious award. It acknowledges all the hard work undertaken by our volunteers past, present and future.”