After the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, many railways were ‘rationalised’ and gradually shut down. Rural communities were isolated without ready access to the main lines and steam trains slowly gave way to diesel and electric traction. But some people were not prepared to let the romance of train travel die. Thanks to their efforts, many of these lines passed into community ownership and are now booming with new armies of dedicated volunteers. Andrew Martin goes out to meet these enthusiasts and find out just what it is about preserved railways which makes people so devoted.