Number One grandson is a real anorak so a train ride and Santa was sure to be a winning combination.
Daughter booked tickets on the internet. Adults and children over 3 are £15. Under threes are £7.50.
We joined the platform full of happy and excited families at Haworth. Santa Specials run every weekend in December, picking up at Oxenhope, Haworth and Keighley and are a popular day out.
There was a sense of great expectation before the train appeared. Faces fell when it was a diesel pulling the coaches, but there were soon smiles when we saw the steam loco on the back.
Tickets have to be bought in advance and we soon found our allocated seat , took off coats and settled down to wait. The coach was nearly full with excited children and family groups at each table. Christmas decorations across the ceilings added to the festive spirit.
We went from Haworth to Oxenhope where the elves with huge bags of presents were waiting to get on the train. The train then ran to Keighley without stops. First visitors were a chimney sweep and Scrooge trying to dampen the Christmas spirt. This was hard work as most of the children were under five so the significance of both was lost on them.
These were followed by a clown, bear and Rudolf the red nose reindeer, singing Christmas songs to cheer everyone up and frighten Scrooge away. Unfortunately Grandson 1 is freaked out by people in bear’s costumes and shrieked his head off. Moral – check the details to make sure there are NO bears on the Santa special! He spent the next 10 minutes buried into Daddy’s shoulder.
The clown, bear and Rudolf moved onto the next coach. Santa and his elves then worked their way down the coach, talking to the children and giving out presents. Grandson perked up enough to talk to Santa and to get a satisfyingly large parcel. These were grouped into 0-3, 3-6, 6-11 ages. His was a Tonka construction truck with both caterpillar tyres and proper wheel with a screw driver to change them. Grandson is a bit too young for it yet, but Daddy can’t wait to have a ‘play’ with it.
Mince pies and sherry were then served to the adults.
There was a long wait at Keighley as passengers joined the train and the loco took on water. The train ran non-stop back to Haworth, apart from a brief stop to change tokens and pass the heritage diesel service. It was nice to hear the steam loco working uphill without making any stops.
The tickets also gave us unlimited travel on the heritage diesel service which was running. We used this to travel as far as Ingrow to visit the Museum there. This wasn’t too busy so we managed to get seats at the end of the coach behind the driver. I’d forgotten what good visibility there was from the old DMUs. Grandson was delighted when the guard showed him the token and let him hold it. On the return trip we also watched the signal man collect the token, exchange it with the passing Santa Special and give us a new token. That will keep grandson going in pretend play for the next week.
The road down to the museum was treacherous as ice was forming on the stone setts. I chickened out and went back to sit in the ticket office in front of a roaring coal fire and Christmas tree while the rest went into the museum. Grandson loves the small steam loco which the children can climb onto and play on. I had a splendid view of the Santa Special storming back up the gradient from Keighley.
All in all a good day out, apart from the bear.