IT’S Christmas!

There really is no getting away from it now.

The children have made their festive lists and made very sure that I have them by sending them to me by email, text and even having the odd real-life conversation with me (it must be a special time of year).

Similarly, a lot of you have clearly been planning ahead, because the Santa Specials, which run for the four weekends before Christmas as well as Christmas Eve, are getting increasingly full.

If you would like to join us for these very popular trains for which pre-booking is essential, please do check the website and call for availability, especially for the weekends closest to Christmas.

On the first Santa Special weekend this year (November 28 and 29) we are having a special 50th Anniversary Celebration, because it was back in 1965 – before the whole line had been reopened - that we ran the first Santa service.

For this inaugural event the ‘big man’ arrived by steam train at Haworth Station, whereas now he can join us on a trip along the whole line, which was reopened in full in 1968.

As well as giving out the usual Christmas gift, on that special weekend Santa will be joining us for a fancy dress party on board to celebrate the 50th anniversary, with a prize for the best fancy dress of the weekend and also a prize for the ‘worst’ Christmas jumper.

The festive fun won’t stop on Christmas Eve, because we will be running our ever-popular Mince Pie special services from Boxing Day to January 3, including New Year’s Day, when you can enjoy some more Christmassy cheer (or just make the most of the real-ale bar on board if you prefer).

We pride ourselves on running the railway throughout the year, so we will do our very best to operate steam trains every weekend throughout the winter.

In previous years we have on occasion been the only route open to get in and out of Oxenhope in the worst of the snow, proving that sometimes the old ways are still the best.

At the moment our focus is on preparing for the winter, so we have just completed our annual working week on the track (so called ‘civil week’) at the end of the summer’s seven-day-per-week running, and are working with our station volunteers to complete any outstanding maintenance required on the station buildings before the worst of the weather hits. .

As ever, if you have any skills that you could offer to help us or could volunteer on any aspect of the railway’s operation, we would be very grateful, so please do get in touch so that we can direct our funds to maintaining the increasingly-elderly (and therefore increasingly-expensive to maintain and overhaul) fleet of steam locomotives and carriages.

• Have you missed any of Matt Stroh’s previous On Track articles in the Keighley News? If so, simply visit and vlick on Days Out.