AS WE near the festive break, many of us should be looking forward to time at home with our families and forgetting about work for a few days, before welcoming in the new year.

We will have finished our Santa Specials on Christmas Eve, which have proven incredibly popular this year and all but sold out.

We will then put the trains to bed for Christmas.

However, the festive break is not that long for our volunteers. Such is their dedication, the steam locomotive won't have had time to cool down fully before we're in steam again on Boxing Day.

That’s when we commence operating the Mince Pie specials, which allow you to enjoy a bit more Christmas cheer from then until January 3 (including New Year's Day itself).

That kind of commitment helps us through the year, tending the track, infrastructure, carriages and locomotives in all weathers; as well as staffing the stations and all the other operating and commercial duties.

There have also been dozens and dozens of volunteers helping to run the ever-popular Santa Special trains in recent weeks and I had the great privilege of being rostered to be one of Santa's helpers on board last weekend.

I found - to my horror - that I was being presented with the clown costume to wear, and spent the day encouraging our hundreds of excited passengers to sing Christmas carols and shooing Scrooge down the train before he ruined the festive spirit.

Ho ho ho!

The great feedback from the children makes it all worthwhile, which is particularly special in our 50th year of celebrating Christmas on the train.

It is a significant operation in itself to plan the rosters drawing on our 500 volunteers, so as well as the front-line and engineer people you will see, because there is an army behind the scenes undertaking a whole variety of roles.

As ever, if you would like to join the volunteer team, whatever your interest, skill and available time, please do get in touch.

Looking forward to 2016, we will continue to operate every weekend and daily in the school holidays and are currently finalising plans for our special events for the year.

The guest locomotives for our Steam Spectacular (February 26 to 28) will be announced shortly and plans are afoot for some very special visitors to the railway later in the year...!

I would like to conclude by thanking so many of you for your continued support and patronage of the charity, helping us to continue to provide such an important transport service for some, and for others the chance to enjoy a living museum right on your doorstep.

• Have you missed any of Matt Stroh’s previous on On Track articles in the Keighley News? If so, don’t get steamed up, simply visit, click on What’s On then Out & About, and you’ll find lots of old articles.