WE BADE farewell to Santa for another year after he and his pixies headed home to fulfil their festive duties on Christmas Eve, after treating our passengers to gifts in one of our busiest Santa seasons ever.

Thank you to all of you who joined us and yes, we are expecting our first enquiry about opening the bookings for 2017 to arrive any day now…

So what are we doing in 2017 before we welcome Santa back in December?

Only hosting a visit of the country’s most famous steam locomotive, Flying Scotsman.

For the first time ever, Flying Scotsman will haul passenger trains on the line: between Monday and Friday, April 3 to 7, passengers will be able to travel behind this iconic loco.

Pre-booking for travel is essential; we opened bookings just before Christmas and tickets are selling very fast, so please do book soon if you want to travel behind Flying Scotsman.

We have a programme of events for the visit, the latest details of which – and access to on-line bookings – are on kwvr.co.uk/flyingscotsman.

There’s plenty else planned for 2017.

Firstly, a reminder that we remain open throughout the year, running steam trains every weekend through January and the rest of the year. We know from previous experience that when the weather takes a wintry turn we sometimes offer the only transport from Oxenhope and Haworth and so our volunteers will continue to do their very best to keep the trains running whatever the weather.

Remember that if you live in BD20/21/22 you can apply for a Local Resident’s permit and enjoy discounted travel on ordinary operating days.

We are also running daily through the February 20-24 half-term and other school holidays, but we welcome some special visitors on February 21 and 22: Sid and Scrat from the animated film series Ice Age are joining us for the first time. Further details about their visit can be found on the website.

We then have the Spring Steam Gala from March 3 to 5, where we are planning to welcome two visiting locomotives to the line for passengers to enjoy. There will be lots to see and enjoy during the three-day festival of steam, including double-headed passenger trains and double-headed freight services.

If you’re looking for a bit of extra luxury, we have our first Pullman Afternoon Tea service of the year on March 26, during which you enjoy afternoon tea served at your seat in one of our sumptuous Pullman Dining Cars. Booking can be made by calling the office at Haworth on 01535 645214 during office hours.

As ever, we always welcome new members of our volunteering team, so if you would like to get involved please do get in touch.

* Have you missed any of Matt Stroh’s previous On Track articles in the Keighley News? Don’t get steamed up about it, simply visit keighleynews.co.uk, click on What’s On then Out & About, and you’ll be chuffed to find all his previous articles.