The trains were due to run from Monday, 27 December until Sunday, 3rd January. However, with the growing concern about the rapid spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, the railway took the view that its first responsibility is to protect its volunteers and visitors.
The railway has therefore taken the tough decision to cancel the post-Christmas special trains. However, Santa trains will continue to Christmas Eve, subject to social-distancing and any further Government requirements.
Janet Gough, the railway’s Volunteer Resources Director said: “In light of the current developing situation and mindful of the safety of our volunteers and visitors, we have reached the decision to cancel our post-Christmas services.
“We designed the Santa Specials with Covid in mind, based on the very successful service we offered last year. By using pre-booking of tickets and compartment coaches in these trains, we are able to provide built-in social distancing for family groups.”
“We think this is the responsible way forward and removes any doubt about the railway’s responsibility towards its volunteer staff and visitors,” she said, pointing out that the railway had to cancel its post-Christmas trains last year thanks to Covid lockdown.
Meanwhile, work continues to repair the landslip in the cutting between Winchcombe station and Greet tunnel, which has been progressing well thanks to favourable weather conditions. Full details of that work can be found here, and a selection of pictures of the work in progress can be found here.
Similarly, work to repair and strengthen the bridge that carries the B4632 road over the railway near Stanway between Toddington and Broadway will start in the New Year following the success of a £200,000 appeal by the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust to help meet the cost of this essential work; the appeal passed its target in less than a month.