It’s that time of year again so I don’t feel bad talking about Santa (although my children have been talking Christmas lists for some weeks already!), but we have been planning for the festive period for many months.

One of our founders, the late, great Bob Cryer, made the link between the ambience of being on board a steam train and the magic of meeting Santa, and so was born our now very well-established Santa Specials services.

We can proudly claim to be the ‘original’, and passenger feedback supports our claim we are still the best and are great fun for all the family.

Each child receives a present – we are commended for their quality by passengers – and they meet Santa himself on board the train.

We have been working with Santa’s little helpers from much earlier in the year, arranging suitable presents for the children (and the festive tipple for the grown-ups!), as well as making sure we will have plenty of mince pies on board.

It really is a massive operation, which has taken months of planning by a very dedicated team of volunteers, who start talking about the festive celebrations when the rest of us are still unwrapping last year’s gifts.

Hauling the Santa Special trains will be one of our fleet of steam locomotives, and you might be treated to seeing the engine we affectionately call ‘Big Jim’ in operation for the first time in more than 20 years.

A locomotive designed in the US for use in Europe during the Second World War, it spent much of its operational life in Poland before being brought to Haworth in 1977. It has particularly fond memories for me because it was operational on one of my first visits to the railway back in the late 1970s.

Santa Special services operate for the four weekends before Christmas and are filling up fast, so if you want to join us for a magical way to celebrate the festivities, please book online at or call the office on 01535 645214. We also run from Boxing Day to New Years’ Day, with the trains still full of festive cheer and a bar onboard serving real ale, as well as soft drinks. Local residents’ discounts are available on these post-Christmas services – check for details of eligibility or call the office. Happy nearly Christmas!