With the end of the main running season, the Winter Maintenance Programme is now in full swing at Apedale. The WMP is a surprisingly complex concept, as we also use the closed period to undertake training. Therefore, a lot of thought goes into making sure that, for example, we have an intact and complete railway on days when we need to run trains for trainees. We also tend not to undertake larger track job before the Santas – an unexpected cold snap with the railway dismantled could cause an extremely big problem! So, the current jobs are the annual servicing of the carriages – each one has a thorough pit exam, amongst other things – and the messy, unpleasant but very important job of fishplate greasing. This is the side of railway volunteering which the public don’t see – it’s these important but unglamorous jobs which keep the railway in a safe and reliable condition.