Severn Valley Railway welcomes Christmas back to Bridgnorth - in pictures
It took an order of about 8,000 mince pies and 5,000 gingerbread men to make it happen, but Severn Valley Railway has welcomed the return of its Christmas service to Bridgnorth for the first time in four decades.
For the past 40 years, the railway's Bridgnorth Station has been very quiet during December, with the Santa services running only from Kidderminster, at the other end of the line.
However, this year Bridgnorth will be sharing in the festive spirit, hosting the railway’s all-new Santa Specials, which steamed in on Saturday and will run every weekend until December 22.
Reindeer, Santa and elves were on the platform to welcome passengers, while festive cheer from Newport's Beaumaris Singers filled the air.
More than 3,700 visitors will board a steam locomotive for a festive journey to Highley and back with Santa during the month.
Staff and volunteers at the railway have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare Bridgnorth Station for its festive starring role for months, with activity stepping-up a gear over the past few weeks.
Dozens of volunteers have helped to deck the station with fairy lights and about 8,000 mince pies and 5,000 gingerbread men have been ordered for passengers on board. More than 2,500 baubles have been hung inside the railway’s heritage carriages.
The re-introduction of Christmas services to Bridgnorth follows the completion of the new refreshment room, toilets, car park and station access earlier this year, funded by the railway’s successful £2.5 million share offer in 2016, which saw share purchases flood in from people across the country.
Lewis Maddox, events coordinator, said: “This weekend was the culmination of years of preparation for us – it marked a real milestone for the railway in bringing Bridgnorth back to the heart of Christmas at the Severn Valley Railway.
“It was fantastic to see this wonderful station buzzing with people enjoying the festive spirit and making use of the new facilities that so many people, both nationally and from within the local community, helped us to create – and for that we are very grateful. That’s when we know all the hard work has been worth it.”
To mark the occasion, the railway also organised a special Santa service on Sunday, when each seat on board was offered free to local family charities.
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