AS A VERY busy Santa Special season draws to a close, it’s nearly time for Santa and his pixies to bid us farewell for another year.

Whilst Santa has to rush off after the last train on Christmas Eve, the festivities continue on the railway from Boxing Day as we run our Mince Pie Specials until New Year’s Day.

You can enjoy the Winter Wonderland display at Oxenhope and decorations on the board, and receive a complimentary mince pie. Full details of the Mince Pie Specials are on the railway’s website.

2017 has been a great year in the railway’s history as we were the only heritage railway in the North of England to host the iconic Flying Scotsman.

The locomotive visited us back in April, and since then we’ve also enjoyed our inaugural ‘Little Engines Gala’ during which we enjoyed seeing the smaller locomotives in the feet and a visiting loco take charge of trains, creating scenes reminiscent of the earliest days of the railway’s operations.

The event that reminded us of those pioneering times was particularly apt, because 2018 sees us celebrate the 50th year since the line was reopened by the Preservation Society.

We will be running an eight-day gala in June to mark the occasion, with further details of the event appearing on the website shortly.

The 50th anniversary will celebrate the achievements of the railway’s volunteers over the five decades of operation.

We will be recognising the years of work that were spent preparing the line and readying the locomotives and carriages for that special day in June 1968.

The work that they started never stops, even 50 year later, with groups of volunteers supported by a small paid staff team continuing to maintain the railway’s buildings, track and rolling stock. Locomotive overhauls get ever more costly and we have to work hard to make sure that we can pass the engineering skills necessary on to future generations of volunteers to help us keep the wheels turning for many years to come.

We also have to continue our programme of maintenance of the railway’s infrastructure, including the railway’s bridges, track and buildings.

As we near the 50th year of operation, I do hope that you will consider joining the volunteer team.

It takes dozens of volunteers to run the railway each weekend, and dozens more to support the operation by undertaking the necessary maintenance, administration and overhauls of locomotives that keeps the railway running.

We offer full training in a range of roles, so however much or little time you can offer, and whatever your area of interest of the railway’s operation, please do get in touch.

Finally, thank you all for your support of the railway during 2017, and we look forward to welcoming you on board soon