SUMMER’S here so it must be nearly Christmas…

We’re only just a few weeks past midsummer’s day, but the requests for us to open the Santa Special booking have been getting ever-more persistent, and we have decided that bookings will open on July 22!

I know I have to say this every year, and reporting this in July feels a bit premature but still relevant: if you wish to travel on a particular date, at a specific time and from a station of your choosing, please do book early to avoid disappointment.

Because of the levels of demand, early means July/August rather than October/November!

Back to the more immediate future, we are now in the period of seven days per week operation, including the opportunity to enjoy a vintage bus ride on weekdays, which continues until September 1.

At weekends in the summer period you can enjoy a special ‘cream tea’ in our first-class Dining Car, running every Sunday on the 12.30pm and 2.15pm departures from Oxenhope.

Bookings can be made via the website, which also has further details and the timetables for the summer running.

We are also about to formally open our newly-installed children’s playground at Oxenhope, giving another reason to visit with the youngsters during the school holidays.

As we move into September, we are turning our attention to the Railway’s 150-plus-year-old infrastructure as we continue our long-term programme of planned maintenance.

This year we are tackling a bridge replacement, which will result in the railway operating to a special timetable for September 14/15 and 21/22.

We will still be open, so do please check the website for the latest information if you are planning to visit during those weekends.

It is a huge volunteer effort during the three-week project and will take dozens of volunteers from our Civil Maintenance team to support and oversee the work.

It is also an expensive project, and we have similar work to undertake on other bridges in the coming decade, so are always keen for offers of financial support or time to support our volunteer efforts.

Looking beyond the bridge replacement project, later in the year – October 17-20 – sees the return of our ever-popular Beer & Music Festival, for which tickets are now pre-bookable online.

Visitors will be able to enjoy live music and sample from around 130 beers, plus a wide range of ciders, wines and gins to cater for all tastes, with bars at Oxenhope as well as on board the trains.

I do hope that we will welcome you board soon, whether as a passenger, donor or volunteer. As ever, thank you for your support in helping us to keep the wheels turning!