I'm glad we have a lot of heritage railways in the UK but I'll be a lot happier when they begin to morph into proper community railways as I reckon that will protect them from the ravages of Peak Oil and the hands of the government!
It's great that in 2012 we can still see rural steam trains running through beautiful countryside, and I can think of few better ways of spending a day than at a heritage line.
But one problem for me is that they freeze history. Look at these shots, apart from a few details they could have been taken last summer. Heritage railways don't really change with the times, and photos don't capture a true railway atmosphere for this reason.
I'd much rather have been down at Totnes photographing the Westerns etc that were travelling through, because I'd have caught a moment in time (and would have FAR more valuable negatives!) I could have returned to Buckfastleigh at any time and could have captured just about the same shot.
I'm not offering any cure for this problem, just making an observation!