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As christmas was approaching, i had decided to take my partners little boy and my two nephews to see Father Christmas.
However, i could not find any Grotto's locally, and remembered being told about the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. I looked them up on the internet and discovered that we could ride the old fashioned steam train with Santa!
Great I thought, so i phoned them up to book our places, although a little steep at £9.80 each (even for the kids!). Anyway two days later my receipt and ticket arrived, so we all looked forward to going.
On the day, we arrived at Llanfair station 10mins early to hear lovely christmas music and a great atmosphere. We boarded the train and were soon on our way, the kids were mesmerised by smoke coming out of a train!
When we came to the next station at Cyfronydd, another steam train came rushing in, and guess who was hanging from it waving? Yea, it was Father Christmas! As we were waiting for him to come to our carriage, some of his friends got on to entertain the kids, we had a reindeer and an orangutan monkey (this wasnt as bizarre as it sounds).
Father Christmas finally arrived by the time we reached the next station, and he sat and talked to the kids and handed them their presents! The presents they got were suitable for their age group, and were quite impressive, if i had bought them from a shop i would probably have spent £10 on them, so good value for money!
As we returned back, we dropped Santa off and waved goodbye to him, the kids were loving every minute! When we arrived back at LLanfair the kids got a free carton of Ribena and a mince pie and the Adults got a free cup of mulled wine (very nice!) and a mince pie.
I would recommend this trip to anyone, it was definitley worth the money, and the kids loved it!
The W&LLR was one of the few narrow gauge branch lines to be built under the provisions of the 1896 Light Railways Act. It was opened on 4 April 1903 to aid economic development in a remote area. It never made a profit. It was originally operated by the Cambrian Railways. The line is built through difficult country, having a great number of curves in order to reach the summit of 600ft. The original terminus at Welshpool was located alongside the main line station and trains wound their way through the town, using the locomotive bell as a warning. In the 1923 Grouping of railway companies the line was taken over by the Great Western Railway. On 9 February 1931 the line lost its passenger service, which was replaced by a bus service, and it became a freight-only line. It was temporarily re-opened to passengers between 6 and 11 August 1945 for the Eisteddfod. The W&LLR was nationalised in 1948. Freight traffic lingered on until 1956, by which time British Railways decided to close the line. A group of volunteers and enthusiasts took the line over and started raising money to restore it. On 6 April 1963 the first section of the line was re-opened as a tourist railway. The line through Welshpool however could not be reopened, so the line has a new terminus at Raven Square on the outskirts of the town, originally opened on 18 July 1981. Because of the gauge, unusual for the British Isles, locomotives and rolling stock to supplement the originals have had to be obtained from a cosmopolitan variety of sources. A major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund permitted restoration of both original locomotives together with several coaches and original wagons, and provision of new workshop facilities, ready for the line's centenary.