IT’S DEFINITELY Christmas-time now.

The nights are drawing in, and with the changeable weather, it's only a matter of time before we get the first snowfall of the ‘winter’!

It was just a couple of years’ ago that we had Santa’s reindeer pay a surprise visit to Oakworth Station to mark the opening of bookings for the Santa Special trains.

This year we opened the bookings a few weeks ago after repeated requests from passengers.

Christmas Eve is already pretty much full as a result, so if you want to travel on a particular date, then please do book soon, whether online or in person at the office at Haworth.

Okay, so it's not actually Christmas for a few months and we've not forgotten that we need to enjoy the time in between them and now.

We cease seven days per week running at the beginning of September as the school holidays end, at which time we hand the railway over to our Civil Maintenance volunteers who will work tirelessly for a full week to undertake various jobs that are not possible when the train are running.

It's always amazing what they achieve in just a handful of days, and even more impressive that the railway is put back together to allow the first train on the Saturday morning to run on time!

Trains then run every weekend until the October half-term when we operate again during the week.

October also sees us celebrating all things steam with our Steam Spectacular event (October 7 to 10), which we are especially excited about because we can welcome back visiting locomotives for the first time for a couple of years, after weight restrictions on the bridges in the vicinity of the railway were lifted.

The weekend will see an intensive train service, with demonstration freight, special carriages and a variety of locomotives operating.

Later in the month, running from Thursday October 20 to Sunday, October 23, we host the annual Beer and Music Festival, which offers over 100 ales and ciders to sample from bars located at Keighley and Oxenhope and on board the trains, accompanied by a range of music.

Further details, including the all-important beer list, are available on the railway’s website.

Of course, running this range of services and making sure that the railway continues to operate all-year-round takes a massive amount of volunteer effort.

Our 500-plus volunteers, supported by just a handful of paid staff, undertake a whole range of duties and we have just launched a volunteer ‘situations vacant’ page on the website.

As well as being keen to attract more operating and front-line volunteers, we are currently looking for an upholsterer to help us maintain the carriage fleet and a ‘recruitment, retention and learning officer’.

This last appointment is to make sure we are able to pass on to the next generation all the engineering and technical knowledge in our locomotive operations department that is so vital to keeping the wheels turning for many years to come.