Santa Specials on the S&D at Midsomer Norton - Dec 22nd Finale!
Friday, December 22nd saw the last of our 2023 Santa at the Station train services and it was a fitting climax to what has been a very enjoyable and successful series of events. The first one was on Dec 2nd - a seasonably cold Saturday with early temperatures below zero - but since then the weather has been milder and in the main dry. We weren't able to feature real snow but a suitably located machine periodically produced some mini "storms" which provided some excellent photo opportunities. On Dec 16th we welcomed the Paulton Brass Bad who provide some festive music to add to the atmosphere.
Naughty elves (and some good ones) were making a nuisance of themselves (sorry, we mean being very helpful) throughout the event and this all added up to a good fun day out for visitors and railway volunteers alike.
We received some great feedback which is very gratifying and a few examples are here but thank you to everyone who told us about their experience at Midsomer Norton.
"Just wanted to send some feedback to say we visited at the weekend for Santa at the station and had a wonderful time.
The train was very nicely decorated, Santa was happy to chat but it was all the little touches and the friendliness of the team and helpers that made the visit for us and our 3 year old little girl.
We were very impressed and it was great value for money when money is so tight for everyone, please pass on my thanks to the team".
"Today we visited your Christmas event in Midsomer Norton. Your team were magnificent and gave us a visit to remember. The critical issue for us was how the people acted with your visitors and personalised the experience in a magical way. Great job and thank you".
From Anne & John, Easton, Wells:
"Just wanted to let you know we had a cracking time on the Santa Special, thanks to all your hard working volunteers. The children loved the cheeky elves! Well done to all".
Guest steam locomotive No.1788 Kilmersdon (which spent her working life at Kilmersdon Colliery) - owned by the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust and usually based at the Watercress line - performed faultlessly hauling 2 coaches unassisted up the very steam gradient out of the station for all the Santa Special trains. The sounds of the locomotive and especially the whistle could be heard echoing around the valley. Here we see Santa has temporarily escaped from his Grotto to have a chat with the engine crew on Dec 22nd.
Kilmersdon's final outing before returning to the Watercress Line will be for the Steam & Mince Pie Special on January 1st.
Goody bags, mince pies and all things festive!
Santa is very keen that we get the right number of gifts, goody bags, mince pies and drinks for everyone who attends so planning starts well in advance. Here we see Anthea handing out Goody Bags to Sophia, Ashley, Kyla-Rose & Kayden outside the "Wells Hut" (located by the buffet coach) which served as a hub for this activity throughout.
We're a 100% volunteer run railway so events such as the Santa Specials could not take place without them giving up their time. We all assist Santa whether it's in the shop which doubles as a ticket office, in the buffet area giving out goody bags and providing hot drinks or helping on the trains, patforms and in the Grotto. The picture here shows 2 Sues, Anthea and Jane who did a brilliant job in our buffet coach throughout.