Snow stops Santa in his tracks

HEAVY snow across the Midlands and Wales during the early hours of December 10 resulted in a number of heritage lines making the difficult choice to cancel or postpone that day’s ‘Santa Special’ services.

Such decisions are not taken lightly; the festive specials are some of, if not the, most financially lucrative events for preserved railways across the country.

The Severn Valley Railway’s ‘57XX’ 0-6-0PT No. 7714 battles through blizzard conditions on December 8, just two days before the railway was forced to cancel its ‘Santa Specials’. JOHN TITLOW

The state of the roads and accessibility for passengers is a major factor in the process, but the railways must also take into account whether the all-important volunteers can make it in to operate the services, and their subsequent safety and well-being.

In Wales it was the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway that took the first hit, the overnight snow falling on top of an already substantial covering from a few days previously.

The Cambrian Heritage Railways’ made a pre-emptive decision to cancel its operations at Llynclys the night before, while the Llangollen Railway’s ‘Santa’ trains also fell victim to the snow following a judgement call that morning.

Read more in January’s issue of The RM – on sale now!

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