There’s much more to heritage rail than just the trains. It’s a sector that has grown continuously since the 1950s and generates enormous benefits for communities throughout the UK.
Heritage rail at a glance
The UK heritage rail sector encompasses more than 170 operational railways, running trains over nearly 600 miles of track and operating between some 460 stations.
- Heritage rail is an important component of the tourism industry, generating local, national and international value to the UK visitor economy
- It is a key, bookable, element of holidays taken by many tourists
- The sector protects conserves and brings to life part of the nation’s cultural heritage, giving enjoyment and learning to many people
- It preserves and operates national heritage icons used to promote the UK around the world
- Heritage rail provides social, community and wellbeing benefits to employees, volunteers and visitors from the south coast of England to the far north of Scotland
- It creates jobs and greatly supports local and regional supply economies.
Heritage rail in numbers
The Heritage Railway Association represents:
- 173 working railways
- 9 operational tramways
- 8 cliff railways
- 24 museums and steam centres many of which operate trains on selected days
- 17 commercial partners
- 100 societies, funding groups, and locomotive and carriage owning trusts
- 22,000 volunteers
- 4,000 paid employees
Our members own or operate:
- 560 miles of track
- 460 stations
- 800 steam locomotives
- 1,000 diesel locomotives
- 2,000 carriages
- 4,000 wagons
Our impact on the UK economy
- 4,000 employees
- £600m economic value
- 13 million visitors who take 18.6 million passenger journeys covering 130 million passenger miles.