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Santa's at Keighley & Worth Valley Railway - in August
Winter came early to the Bradford district as overnight temperatures plummeted to their lowest August level for more than 100 years – and Santa Claus and his reindeer made an early appearance at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (KWVR).
Visitors to the heritage railway could be forgiven for checking their calendars as Father Christmas flew in from the North Pole four months before the festive season begins.
However, Santa, four reindeer and a couple of elves, were there to officially launch this year’s Santa Specials, ten-mile return journeys on steam trains with decorated festive coaches.
He met children, who also posted their Christmas wish-lists at the event. Railway spokesman Matt Stroh, who welcomed Santa to Oakworth Station yesterday, said: “We thought we’d do something different this year and while it might not be the festive season yet, we thought it would be an event that brings an exciting finish to the school holiday for kids of all ages.”
The KWVR is this year working closely with tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire and the railway believes this has led to the eight per cent increase in visitor numbers compared with last summer.
Mr Stroh said: “We’ve had a strong summer which is not just great news for our visitor numbers, but it helps with repeat visits as we are an all year round attraction.
“We hope our event this week will boost our popular festive service even more and keep us front of mind as a leading UK visitor attraction.”
The visit coincided with Bradford district’s coldest August night on record, according to figures released by the Met Office.
Temperatures of 2.8 degrees centigrade experienced on Thursday night were the lowest ever recorded for the area on a night in August since information was first compiled in 1908.
The low temperatures were caused by northerly wind and cold air from the north and dipped even further due to dry air – with little moisture to retain heat from the day – and clear skies causing heat to radiate into the sky.
Other areas that broke their individual records included Bainbridge in North Yorkshire and Benson in Oxfordshire although recordings have been kept for different lengths of time in different locations. But Bradford has the longest running out of all who rewrote the books that night.
However, none of them managed to smash the world record of -4.5 degrees centigrade in Lagganlia, in Inverness-shire on August 21, 1973, and first snow of the season was seen in Scottish mountains For details of the Santa Specials, visit kwvr.co.uk.