The Strathspey Railway is run by volunteers who work incredibly hard, overcoming many challenges to operate and maintain this heritage line. Their dedication often goes underappreciated as they go about their very demanding work in such a focused and professional way, living their intensive safety training and taking on their complex duties as all in a day's work. It is only through getting to know the local area, its climate, economy and history that it becomes clear just how much this group of people has achieved. The journey as it is now incorporates a remarkable variety of scenery, from serene birch woodland at the Aviemore end through to open rolling farmland at the present terminus of Broomhill (seen as Glenbogle in the popular TV series "Monarch of the Glen"). The intermediate stop at Boat of Garten opens up a whole other range of attractions including golf, walking and the nearby RSPB osprey centre. The round trip takes under two hours with time to get out and stretch your legs at Broomhill. The train has a very convivial restaurant car; the light menu available on most services includes delicious homemade soup and local dishes, afternoon tea on the later train and there is also a bar. Do check in advance before planning your trip as during the first and last parts of the season, trains only run on certain days. It is also advisable to contact the railway office in advance regarding access for the disabled so that arrangements may be made. Access from the mainline station and central Aviemore is over a footbridge with long flights of steps but there is a roundabout route avoiding this and the railway staff will be happy to advise on directions. Evening special services with full dinner on board are available; booking for these is essential. At Broomhill the train from Aviemore passes through the station before stopping for the engine to be run around to the other end for going back, after which the train is brought back into the station for its scheduled stop; staff come through the train advising passengers of this so that they know what is happening. The shops at each station carry a good selection of railway interest items, souvenirs of both the railway itself and the local area, toys, books, confectionery and postcards; there is a wealth of local information available too. I learned that the first train of the day is usually the busiest and popular with coach parties; the lunchtime and afternoon trains tend to have a bit more space but it is advisable for any group to book in advance. The railway is in the planning stages of an eventual extension to Grantown-on-Spey; this will be of immense benefit to the community and involves yet more intensive hard work behind the scenes. Community involvement is very important to the ethos of the railway and educational opportunities as well as charity events form a regular part of its season. I have learned much of this from talking with locals (the staff themselves, as I have already indicated, do have a lot to concentrate on in terms of safety critical duties and the sheer hard graft involved in the day to day running of the railway; they are friendly, genuine people and do answer queries knowledgeably, converse and share their experiences when it is viable and practical for them to do so). The Strathspey Railway is a delightful and very relaxing experience which really brings out a sense of being on holiday in the Highlands; furthermore it is an example of enterprise, true grit and determination and a work ethic which deserves the reward of support for the benefit it brings to the local area. Go and enjoy it; you will take away a glowing feeling of having been part of something very special and of having given something back to this beautiful part of the world by being a customer of a very hard-won venture.