It has been a busy month for me since writing my last column. A TV interview; two radio interviews; two meetings with train operating companies; two Railfuture meetings and at least three e-mails that I can remember from journalists requesting information.
Thinking about this busy schedule and considering that most was done during the working week I started to wonder how I would have been able do it had I not been self employed.
That made me think about the other participants I see representing voluntary groups at meetings. The vast majority can diplomatically be described as of mature years.
Why should this be? The obvious answer is because they are retired and are now able to devote a lot of their time to a cause they are committed to. The obvious answer, yes, but I'm not so sure it is the full answer.
It was certainly not the case 25 years ago when I joined my local Railfuture branch committee.
Most of us were in the 40-50 age bracket and in full time employment, but still found time to go to weekday meetings and the like. At least eight are still active campaigners for one cause or another.
The same long term involvement applies to volunteers I know from other organisations.
Could it be that the middle age generation now have so many demands on their time they no longer have any spare for volunteering? Possibly but it may also be because they prefer to spend their time enjoying themselves.
I can still remember in 1969 my headmaster telling us school leavers that however successful we were in our chosen careers our life would not be fulfilled unless we gave something back to the community.
The culture for following generations of school and university students does seem to be different; much more target driven and an emphasis on getting a job with a big wage and then spending the money.
Could the ethos of giving something back to the community have been lost along the way? I suspect it may have been.
Could the answer be that it is just that transport campaigning is no longer a popular cause? It certainly does not seem to be as popular as it was a generation ago.
Plenty of questions but no solution. However as one 80-year-old friend said to me last week "we will soon have to find answers or many voluntary groups are going to go to the graveyard along with us."
On a more positive note the rail industry has been busy promoting Lincoln Christmas Market. The latest emailed circular to senior Railcard holders has highlighted the market as a pre Christmas day out. East Midlands Trains are providing 31,000 additional seats including direct trains from Derby, Sheffield and Cleethorpes, extra services from Nottingham and Sleaford and extra carriages on other Lincolnshire services.
Northern Rail are adding extra carriages to their Sheffield to Lincoln service on all four days and running additional services on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday there is a steam hauled charter train from London, a diesel charter from the North East and East Coast have a special service from Leeds. If all these extra seats are occupied Lincoln station is going to be almost as busy as the market.
Looking towards the Christmas and New Year period there is a extensive programme of engineering work locally and throughout the wider rail network so if you are planning to travel you are advised to check your times beforehand.
The revised times are already on journey planners.