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Engineering works along the Ribble Valley line derails Santa
6:00pm Friday 13th December 2013 in News
SANTA’S annual journey through East Lancashire has had to be derailed – due to a series of 'essential' engineering works.
For more than five years the Santa Special, operated by Ribble Valley Rail, has delighted young and old alike in East Lancashire, in the run-up to Christmas.
Train carriages are decked out in tinsel, streamers and balloons, goody bags provided for youngsters and there was even sherry and mince pies for adults.
But rail bosses have announced that the Santa Specials have been sidelined for 2013 because of ‘essential’ engineering works along the Ribble Valley Line during December.
The train service formerly set off from Blackburn and called at Ramsgreave and Wilpshire, Langho and Whalley, en-route to Clitheroe.
A Community Rail Lancashire spokesman said: "Network Rail are currently carrying out essential engineering works on the railway line between Blackburn and Hellifield.
"All trains services are being replaced by buses between Bolton and Clitheroe and between Blackpool North and Hellifield.
"Unfortunately this means that the annual Santa Special train operated by Ribble Valley Rail in partnerhsip with Northern Rail has had to be cancelled in 2013."
Rail volunteers have pledged that the Sunday service will return in 2014. And festive travellers have at least one alternative.
The East Lancashire Railway, running between Rawtenstall and Ramsbottom, and beyond, will still be running their Santa Special today (Sat) and tomorrow (Sun).
And bosses at ELR, which also serves Irwell Vale and Summerseat, are also planning to run a Santa Shopper special next Wednesday (Dec 18).
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