IT MAY not feel very Christmassy, but we know how popular the Santa Specials are.

We’ve had a record number of tickets sold in the few weeks since we opened the bookings, so please do visit the website to book soon if you would like to meet Santa on a particular date and time.

That unseasonably festive message conveyed, back to the here and now! It’s summer and the sun is shining (genuinely it is today).

I know it’s always felt like summer in recent weeks, but we’ve still had passengers enjoying the vintage bus ride that’s included with a Day Ticket.

On many occasions it’s been operated by an open-top vehicle, which the children (and many grown-ups!) absolutely love.

It might be a little bracing at times, but it offers a fantastic and very different view of the valleys around the railway.

Of course the steam-train ride continues to be the main attraction, and until the beginning of September we are running seven days per week, so please do join us on board over the holidays.

We will then revert to weekend operation, although will have two weekends with a special timetable as we undertake work on the banking near Ebor Lane and continue to make preparations for a significant bridge replacement project that will be completed next year.

Please do check the website for the final details and train times during the period of the works.

Infrastructure projects of this nature take years to plan, and are significant both in the time involved as well as the financial impact.

However, as we care and maintain a railway that is now over 150 years old, we have several such projects planned over the next decade to ensure that the Railway continues to be fit to run for future generations.

As well the civil maintenance projects, we are also continuing to plan for the next round of locomotive overhauls.

With each locomotive overhaul giving a maximum of ten years’ operation and with the work taking several years to complete, as well as most overhauls costing nearly £300k these days, a lot of planning is required.

We continue to draw very heavily on our 700-plus volunteers who work on the railway, both in front-of-house and behind-the-scenes roles to keep the increasingly elderly wheels turning.

They also allow us to run a very full programme of events, including Cream Tea Specials, the ever-popular Beer and Music Festival in October, and of course the family-favourite Santa Specials in December.

With so much going on on the railway, I do hope that we get to welcome you on board soon, whether as a passenger or as a volunteer.