Over the past month, Trust volunteers have been busy assisting staff from Weardale Railway Limited and The Auckland Project in preparing the railway for the forthcoming Santa Special trains in December.
Stanhope Station has been transformed into the winter wonderland of 'Santahope' and the Class 122 'bauble' car has been decorated throughout. Other stations have also been tided of the fallen autumn leaves and decorated ready for Christmas, as well as enhancements made to operational lighting to assist staff running trains in the dark.
Last week on Wednesday 23rd November, a successful rehearsal train was run between Stanhope and Wolsingham with invited guests and their families to gauge feedback and see where the experience could be improved further in time for December.
Today the privately owned Mk3 HST buffet car was moved from Wolsingham Depot to Stanhope Station, where it will become 'The Story Train' allowing visitors to take a comfy seat for a free storytelling session.
There is still time remaining to buy tickets for this year's Christmas trains! Meet Santa and his elves on the train from 'Santahope', whilst enjoying a warming hot drink and cookie, and leave with your own gift.
The Weardale Makers Market will have their Christmas market on the platform at Stanhope with several stalls offering seasonal gifts and crafts. The Trust shop will also be open selling various stocking fillers.
For more information and to book tickets please visit https://weardale-railway.digitickets.co.uk/tickets.
Photos courtesy of Graeme Carroll