SWINDON and Cricklade Railway will be leaving the rails to take to the ariwaves this weekend in a special event to mark the very first passenger train almost two hundred years ago.

Members of the Swindon and Cricklade Railway will join in with many other heritage railways in an event called Railways on the Air, using the call sign GBOSCR this weekend. They will be joined by two heritage railways in India as part of the celebration.

The Railways on the air (ROTA) weekend usually takes place each year on the weekend closest to September 27.

This date celebrates the anniversary of the first steam powered passenger railway which took place on September 27, 1825, when the first passenger train ran on a line in the North East of England from Darlington to Stockton.

Bishop Auckland Amateur Radio Club coordinates this event which already has 38 heritage railways signed up to take part in this growing, but, unusual event.

All of these railways, each with their own call sign, will be able to communicate with each other, as well as with radio hams all over the world. Visiting members of the public will also get the chance to communicate by radio with other railways, and hams elsewhere in the world.

Chairman of the Swindon and Cricklade Railway trustees, Dave Grigsby, said: “It is an interesting event, commemorating an extremely important part of railway history, which hopefully, will pique the public’s interest to make them want to visit the railway and see something different.”

For further details about the Swindon and Cricklade Railway and the coming event call 01793 771615, or visit www.swindon-cricklade-railway.org.