Our mission is to ensure all young railway enthusiasts have a place they can turn to for advice about their hobby, and somewhere special where they feel they fit in.
The Youth Rail Enthusiasts Association was formed in May 2010 to provide competitions and events for young railfans in Great Britain. Over the past few years, the YREA has steadily grown in popularity and now boasts a community of over 400 people.
The YREA also provides a Learning Zone with helpful guides about how to take part in a rail hobby safely, as well as tackling common youth issues such as bullying and internet safety. The YREA also hosts a safe online chat environment, a trackside location guide, and a selection of free downloads.
A Brief History
The YREA first opened on May 2nd 2010 when a group of three friends lead by Manager Chris Jeffery decided to take a new approach to a rail enthusiast’s community. They wanted to create an organisation where young people could meet each other and take part in their own events and competitions away from the older generation, as feedback from young people said they often didn’t feel welcome.
The community started with just a handful of members mainly based in the south of England. But with word of mouth playing a big part in advertising the group, the number of new sign-ups gradually began to increase. The community forums were launched a few months later to give YREA users a place to chat with each other. Members are now able to discuss all aspects of the railways and it also gave a great platform for planning trips to stations, which the YREA ran in it’s early days. The YREA now boasts a community of more than 400 people from all parts of Great Britain.
The first major event which the YREA held in 2010 was Video Fest, which invited members to submit a video based around a title chosen by the YREA team for judging. The competition, which is now held annually, attracts support from train operating companies across Britain who kindly provide exciting prizes free of charge.
In August 2012, the YREA was kindly invited to visit steam locomotive Clan Line at Stewarts Lane Depot in London by the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society. The MNLPS had seen the work the YREA does promoting Britain’s railway heritage and was interested in offering a small group of members a tour of the depot and to visit the footplate of 35028. This was the YREA’s first major outing, and sparked an interest to run many more in the future increasing the group’s presence in the railway world. We were kindly invited to visit Stewarts Lane again in November 2013.
What Happens Next?
The Youth Rail Enthusiasts Association hopes to continue to expand its group of members so more youngsters can benefit from the events, competitions, chat and advice that the organisation provides. Throughout 2014 the YREA plans to place a much bigger focus on advertising as the more people who get involved with the community the more fun and useful it is for it’s members.
The YREA is spending lots of time planning more interesting outings and engaging competitions to interest both new and existing members. If you work at a preserved railway, depot, signalbox, yard or station and you would like to find out how a visit from a group of young people can benefit you and the wider rail industry, please contact us for more information.