Volunteers spend Christmas on the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway

By Culture24 Staff | 22 December 2009
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a photograph of volunteers working on a railway line

(Above) Volunteers at work on the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. Courtesy WHHR

A group of dedicated volunteers will be celebrating Christmas Day by laying track and painting locomotives at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway at Porthmadog.

While many people open stockings and cook turkeys, four volunteers will be up bright and early to start rebuilding a section of the main line and restoring one of Britain's most powerful narrow gauge diesel locomotives.

"A group of us got sick of spending Christmas with boring relatives whom we hardly speak to over the year and thought, 'why not spend the day at the railway?' It's become a bit of a tradition," said volunteer James Hewett.

"But it's certainly not a case of saying 'bah humbug' to Christmas. We don't have a Christmas tree on site, but we have been known to decorate the odd railway carriage with festive lights. We've also run a Christmas freight train in previous years to take the turkey down to the railway's Tea Room."

a photoghraph of a man sat on bricks with mountains in the background

The Railway is surrounded by stunning scenery. Courtesy WHHR

Nigel Hanwell, another of the volunteers, will be travelling from Chichester in West Sussex to help with the festive working party.

"Many children around the UK will spend Christmas morning playing with train sets...it's just that ours won't fit inside Santa's sack," he reflected.

"I've no family at home now, so I thought I'd do something a bit different. More importantly, lifting heavy lumps of metal in the wonderful Welsh scenery means I won't feel guilty about eating lots later in the day."

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