THE SUN is shining – with the odd spot or two of rain, just so we remember that we are in Yorkshire.

School is also out... so what better time to think about Christmas?

In some ways it feels like Christmas has come early for the railway, as we have enjoyed marking the great achievement of 50 years of operation with a range of special events.

We have enjoyed a visit from royalty as well as the Lord Mayor of Bradford and the mayor of Keighley and, just as importantly, welcomed back many of the volunteers, members and supporters who travelled on the reopening train itself back in 1968.

We awarded nearly 50 long-service awards to volunteers who have been involved in the railway since 1968, and many are still very regular volunteers day-in day-out after five decades of support for the railway.

Later in the year we are planning to recognise the slightly less long-service, but still very loyal, volunteers, with a number of colleagues having achieved 10, 20, 30 and 40 years of service.

Whilst we might think Christmas has come early, for some it has, and following a flurry of requests, we have already opened the Santa Special booking line up.

And – despite the very unfestive feel to the weather – some trains are already filling up fast. So if you do want your family to enjoy this special festive treat on a particular date and time, then please do visit the website and book tickets online to avoid disappointment.

As well as thinking ahead to Christmas, we have a full range of events and activities planned throughout the rest of summer and autumn.

We are in the period of running seven days per week, and until September 2 if you purchase a Rover ticket you can also enjoy a ride on a vintage bus to help you get between the railway and Haworth village, or take a scenic trip between Haworth and Oxenhope.

We also have our regular Vintage Train running days, when you can travel in carriages even more historic than our usual fleet. For those of you who prefer heritage diesel traction, after last year’s success we are again running ‘Diesel & Ale’ days on selected Saturdays.

It would be remiss of me not to mention how much effort it takes to operate the railway.

There are a whole range of front-of-house operational roles as well as all those in the back-office that help keep the wheels turning. Please do get in touch if you can spare time, skills and enthusiasm to join our team of over 600 active volunteers on our railway.