Society „Friend’s club of Bānītis” (in Latvian – “Bānīša Draugu klubs”, abbr. BDK) is a society founded by railway enthusiasts, which aims at preservation of narrow gauge railway heritage (both mainline and industrial railway).
Society unites persons from different age categories, independent of sex or social status, starting from persons, which have railway as a hobby, and ending with persons dealing with railway on everyday life and professional career. The uniting element is interest in railways, especially narrow gauge, and the will to participate in preservation of narrow gauge railway heritage in Latvia.
First activities were based on informal group named “Friend’s club of Bānītis” (Bānītis – nickname of narrow gauge railways in Latvian, from German word “Bahn”). This group was involved in preservation of Gulbene – Alūksne narrow gauge railway as early as 2002, but more regular activities started in 2007, with regular working weekends organised for restoration of motor trolley (type TDUM) with a trailer (funded with aid from State Culture Capital fund). Volunteering activities proceeded with involvement in other projects, and in the end – on 17th September 2011 a society “Friend’s club of Bānītis” was founded, to define a legal basis for the activities already carried out.
Since 2013 the society started to realise a new and ambitious idea – creation of volunteer maintained peat museum railway in Baloži, on basis of former peat railway, as it is common elsewhere in Europe.
Society was founded by 13 private persons, but the count of members has grown and as of October 2014 it has 21 member. But the volunteering activities organized by the society are open to everyone and already attract other interesting persons, not only the members of the society, so also You have a chance to join us! A chance for volunteering can be found to everyone, as maintaining of a museum railway is linked to many different jobs:
• rolling stock maintenance and restoration;
• maintenance and repair work on tracks (permanent way);
• territory and building housekeeping;
• train operation, organization of train movement (drivers, train conductors);
• solving of household tasks during volunteering weekends;
• solving of technical issues and tasks on technical projects;
• solving of financial or legal issues, search for donators;
• administrative tasks, maintenance of the homepage, etc.
How our activities are organised – read on the other sections of our homepage! And if our activities are also close to you – feel free to join the society!