Being, as I am, an occasionally original thinker, I have always endeavoured to challenge my own assumptions as I do those of others, and ask myself “why do you think that?” This, as now, sometimes leads me into critical analysis of something I am actually very fond of, to try and dispassionately assess its actual worth or quality. I remember when I first heard of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway which at the time had been closed nigh on 44 years. The writer briefly described this “charming but now sadly closed” railway, and I immediately felt such a pang of regret that I never would know this line. Further reading led me to the impossible hope that perhaps one day the railway would somehow live again- in spite of all its locomotives being cut up and all the rolling stock going off to be chicken sheds and summer houses across north Devon. Perchance.... But enough of childish (and adultish) romantic longings. What is it about the L&B that has enabled it to excite so much loyalty, longing, and ultimately the determined effort which has brought it back to life? The Campbelltown and Machrihanish was built 20years earlier, and survived almost as late as the L&B, but few outside of Kintyre know of it. The Southwold similarly was built earlier and survived until road motor transport came along and is chiefly known for a series of comical postcards which made fun of its deccrepitude and slowness. The Leek and Manifold had some of the best equipment ever on British narrow gauge, but is little known outside of railway enthusiast circles. What is it about this long lost railway, with its inefficient and funny looking locomotives that for 40 years dawdled their way across the top of Exmoor, that is so appealing? Is it really just down to Catchpole, or is there something more?