I was interested to read this article about heritage railways shortage of volunteers. It surprises me they are short of volunteer steam drivers as they all seem to advertise driver experience days at eye-watering prices, which suggests to me that they must be popular. I certainly wouldnt have thought they would struggle to fill those posts.
I guess the reason the demographic is so old is because most younger people are too busy working.Britain's heritage railways are in danger of running out of steam unless younger drivers can be replace aging ones as bosses revealed a pressing need for "new blood".
British heritage lines have called for younger volunteers to replace aging drivers on the brink of retirement.
The Swanage Railway in Dorset - one of the biggest heritage lines in the country - needs to find 40 drivers over the next five years to fill the gap.
The attraction has 42 drivers but the majority are aged 60 or above and are likely to step down in the coming years.
While the retirements will be phased, the railway must act now as training a new steam driver can take at least five years.
David Rawsthorn, of the Swanage Railway, said: "We have 42 drivers, the youngest is 27-years-old, and the oldest, still fit as a fiddle, is 79.
"We need seven or eight new drivers every year for the next five to ten years to cope with drivers retiring.
The not-for-profit company has been operating since the late 1970s and has a small number of paid staff, more than 500 volunteers and attracts 200,000 visitors a year.
Despite the increased interest in steam trains, with heritage lines attracting over 13 million visitors a year, other services have admitted that they too are suffering from an aging workmanship.