Festive fun on train from Bletchley to Bedford

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Santa swapped his usual sleigh and reindeers to travel in style on the Marston Vale Line between Bletchley and Bedford on Saturday.

The train was transformed into a ‘winter wonderland’ for the occasion, with Santa and his team of elves hard at work taking Christmas requests from all the children on board.

A special Christmas gift was given to each child visiting the Grotto.

Santa was joined by a face painter, balloon modeller and magician to keep everybody entertained during the journey through the heart of the picturesque Marston Vale.

The special service was arranged by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership in association with London Midland.

All of the activities on the train were provided free of charge with passengers just paying the normal rail fare.

A team of 11 volunteers were on hand during the event to assist passengers, distribute information packs, collect surveys and sell refreshments.

Volunteers travelled from as far afield as Birmingham and Brackley to help with the event.

A number of regular passengers enjoyed a journey with a difference too.

A collection taken on behalf of Ampthill and District Rotary Club for the Jigsaw Club resulted in such a heavy bucket that the elves struggled to carry it.

Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale community rail partnership officer, said: “The Santa Special was one of most successful Community Rail Partnership events to date with six busy trains, many local families taking the opportunity to travel on the Marston Vale Line for the first time and a truly festive atmosphere.

“I am delighted we were able to extend the Christmas magic to Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre again.”