There’s already something quite spectacular about seeing a steam train up close.
The smell, the sounds, the train’s size and the huge plumes of smoke wafting across the platform – it’s a great experience even on a normal day.
So add in thousands of twinkling lights, a mince pie or two and a friendly meeting with Father Christmas, well it’s enough to warm even the iciest of hearts.
We were lucky enough to be among the guests at the opening of the Steam Illuminations events on the Watercress Line on Friday night.
So one excited little boy got to spend some quality time with his equally excited mum on board the magnificent BR Standard Class no. 70167.
The Watercress Line volunteers were all exceptional, as ever, everyone from the friendly guards on the platform to the coal shoveling fire(wo)man to the cafe worker making coffee, they were all delightful. The event itself was a slick operation and it all went off without a hitch.
We held our breathe when the ‘voice over guy’ promised snow to his young passengers – but thankfully just like Father Christmas and his presents, it was delivered to much amazement and wonder.
It’s a lovely way to get into the spirit of things. We left with a renewed optimism about how much better Christmas 2021 will be than last year, and also gently humming this year’s Christmas soundtrack.
The Steam Illuminations run from November 26 until January 8.
Tickets must be pre-booked, go to watercressline.co.uk/steam-illuminations