Published 12th November 2012
East Midlands Trains and UK Railtours broke new ground on November 3 when their jointly run charter took a HST along the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway for the first time ever.
The charity tour, in aid of the Samaritans and the Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, ran from London St Pancras to Oxenhope with power cars Nos. 43082 and 43059.
Railtours have operated onto the KWVR before, but not for a number of years and never formed of a HST set. The charter departed St Pancras at 07.40 and ran via Sheffield and Barnsley to arrive at Oxenhope just before 13.00.
It then formed a KWVR service train at 13.15 to Keighley where the set was stabled and serviced for the return, which left Keighley at 15.30 for Oxenhope and from there at 16.15 to St Pancras via Doncaster and Rotherham.
The five-mile KWVR is one of the oldest heritage railways in the country. The line was closed by British Railways in 1962 and reopened as a volunteer-run steam railway in 1968. It passes through the picturesque town of Howarth and was the setting for the 1970 film of 'The Railway Children'.
Pete Glass, head of service delivery for East Midlands Trains, said: "We're really pleased the train was a complete sell-out, which helped us to raise lots of money for two very worthy causes.
"We’ve worked with the Samaritans for a number of years and are fully committed to supporting their work, both on a national and a local basis. However, the feedback from our employees also showed that there was a huge degree of personal feeling towards supporting the local Sheffield-based Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.
Many of our staff have had friends or family who have been looked after by the team at Weston Park and wanted to show their support for this charity which is close to many people’s hearts."
EMT staff volunteered to work the train. Other thanks go to Network Rail for arranging the track access, UK Railtours for selling the tickets for free, GBRF for helping run the train, and the Thornbridge Brewery and Sheffield Tap who donated beer.
The KWVR shares a station at Keighley with Northern Rail so steam hauled Santa Specials are easily reached without having to drive.
Join the Santa Special at Oxenhope, Haworth or Keighley Stations for a ten-mile return journey on our steam train, lasting around an hour enjoying the nostalgia and the magic of Christmas in the specially decorated coaches, with festive music.
Santa and his pixies visit each child during the journey, delivering presents and the grown-ups are served with a mince pie and seasonal drink: the perfect way for you and your family to start the Christmas season.
Santa Specials convey a buffet car serving real-ale, hot and cold drinks and a variety of snacks, with entertainers on board. The Sana ticket also allows you free travel on connecting KWVR diesel services.
Santa Special trains run on the following Saturdays & Sundays:-
1/2 December, 8/9 December, 15/16 December, 22/23 & Monday 24 December