About a year ago I thought a Rail Thing Facebook group would be a good idea. But it soon transpired that it was far too general, and that Facebook groups needed to be more targeted. So a few more sprang up - Southern Electrics and DMUs, ones for counties, classes of locos, Swiss trains, narrow gauge, trams etc etc. There are now about 300, possibly more! Some have just a few members, several have a few hundred but only one currently has more than a thousand.
Amazingly it's the Disused Railways group and yesterday it reached 5000 members! I've no idea why it's so popular, and it's still not as focused as I'd hoped when I set it up. The idea was just to have pictures of closed lines and a few memories, but it's sort of expanded from that. But it does seem to have captured the imagination of an awful lot of people! Who knows where it will be this time next year.
I became interested in disused lines long before I got involved with the real thing, and as a teenager got to look at many lines, the Midhurst lines, the Selsey Tramway, Cuckoo line, Lynton and Barnstaple, Meon Valley, Gosport, Hayling Island etc, all visited via rail and then on foot. I loved the atmosphere. It's ironic that over the last 15 years I've been trying to encourage their reopening!
We won't see their likes again. With railways reopening everywhere all closed lines are under threat. make the most of them whilst they are still there ...
Itchen Abbas 24.6.1976