The night before our third Sunday on the Santa Special we were worried we might not be able to get out of the village, we should have attended the annual Christmas Dance on Saturday night but there was a second fall of snow late afternoon, unknown to us until we stepped outside the house all dressed up in our costumes. We had at least a foot of snow, it had banked up against the car wheels and we couldn't get out.
Sunday morning Jim heard what he thought was a snow plough go through the village, it was actually one of our local farmers who was using his tractor with an attachment to push some of the snow off the road. It was still thick but after some digging and huffing and puffing Jim managed to get the car out of its parking space and off we went.
At the station I walked into the cafe where volunteers and members of staff were congregating over hot coffee and a big cheer went up, they had all heard we might not be able to get in.
The first train was set to leave at 9.45am but due to frozen points, frozen diesel and a cranky generator it was unable to move. So the passengers who had been able to get to the station boarded the train anyway and took their turns to visit with Santa in the Grotto. Quite a lot of people from further afield couldn't make it due to impassable roads.
The second train was able to leave the station, yet again with a smaller contingent of passengers than it should have had, by the time we reached Levisham we had been visited by all the children. Then we got stuck again as the engine had to cross to another line, make its way back down to the other end of the train, cross back onto our line and back up to link with the carriages. But the points were all frozen there too, it took a little while but finally we were on the move again on our return to Pickering. Santa and I spent the return trip walking through the six long carriages talking to the children and their parents. Lots more photo's were taken with a number of families, and then they started singing Christmas carols to us. Everyone seemed to be in a happy and jovial mood when they reached Pickering. We left the train and went back to the cafe to have our lunch, it was cut short when a family who had driven a long way and arrived too late for the train asked if they could see Santa, so it was back to the Grotto for a short time, they couldn't stay for the third train as they had to rush off to York to catch another train.
The third and fourth trains ran ok and we had a good time with the children and their parents, walking the carriages again after the third one and everyone had been to the grotto. After the fourth train arrived back in Pickering we all went into the Marquee for hot coffee and mince pies before going home.
During the day, between trains we were filmed by a BBC camera team, and Santa was on the BBC 6pm news, unfortunately for me they cut the clip short so I wasn't in it when it was shown.
When we arrived back home we couldn't get back into our parking space due to the piled up snow again, so this time Jim had to dig his way back in!
Tonight we have the local Council's children's party to attend, then we will be visiting with friends who are staying in a hotel in town, up from Hampshire in the south...at least I hope they have arrived!!!
Tomorrow we will be back on the train again, our last day.