The Coombe Farm team were up and out bright and early to get to Bodmin General station with plenty of time to catch the “Santa by Steam” train. I don’t know who was more excited, the parents or the kids, and we arrived extremely early decked out in our Christmas jumpers (as Ella had insisted!).
We had been keen for ages to try one of the local steam railways (the other one being Launceston), so this popular event could not pass us by. William (aged 2) had never been on a real train before so was very special for him. Ella was beside herself (so it worked out well that we’d booked an early train!) and had written her letter, painted her toes nails and made Father Christmas a snowman card and several pictures in preparation.
Luckily there was lots to do at the station before the train left, as all the passengers arrived early. There were mince pies, biscuits and drinks to warm us up that could be eaten in carriage cafe area, a beautiful brass band was playing carols, the whole place was decorated and lit up, and of course, the main attraction was the puffing steaming locomotive.
The Bodmin and Wenford Railway dates back to 1859, and the 3 mile stretch we travelled today through the beautiful Cornish landscape was the first railway in Cornwall, and reportedly in the world to use steam locomotives (until London overtook Bodmin). This line became part of the Great Western Railway, and the trains are extremely impressive, and very steamy! It remains Cornwall’s regularly operating full size steam locomotive railway.
Everyone sits in their seats and enjoys the journey and the atmosphere until the elves call you up to Santa’s grotto on the train. We’d walked all the way through the carriages when disaster nearly struck, we’d left the carefully written letters to Father Christmas in our seats… after a quick dash back and retrieving them as quickly as possible with people milling about in the aisles, I made it back just in the nick of time as we went in to meet the man himself. The kids were a bit dumbstruck, but Ella recovered and had a bit of a chat. We collected our gifts and walked back to our seats with two very happy kids. We immediately opened the pressies (Santa had said we could!) and the gifts were quality, which was an added bonus. We played with our new toys as we choo-ed over the tracks back to the station. It was a great day, a great memory, and very carefully put together by the thoughtful and kind people (all volunteers) who operate this line. I would highly recommend it, great value for money. We’ve spent the rest of the day recovering from the over excitement… and three of us are still wearing our Christmas jumpers. Enjoy meeting Father Christmas wherever you are, and be good!