A NEW Christmas event will launch at Bridgnorth Station this weekend, marking the start of the Severn Valley Railway's festive services.

For the first time in 40 years, Bridgnorth will be brought in on the festivities, with the station set to host the Railway's all-new Premium Santa Specials, which steam into action on Saturday and run every weekend until December 22.

More than 3,700 visitors will board the steam train from Bridgnorth for a festive journey to Highley and back with Santa, with the event running throughout the month.

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The historic station will also host the railway's first ever Steam in Lights services, which launch this Friday, offering passengers an interactive, illuminated adventure through the Severn Valley after dark on a quest to find the Christmas Cacklers.

Staff and volunteers at the Railway have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare stations along the line.

Dozens of volunteers have helped to deck the stations with fairy lights, and at Bridgnorth an illuminated walkway and tunnel of lights will lead on to the decorated platform, including 1km of bunting handmade by the wife of one of the volunteers ahead of the Steam in Lights launch.

Around 8,000 mince pies and 5,000 gingerbread men will be ordered for passengers on board the Premium Santa Special and more than 2,500 baubles have been hung inside the heritage carriages.

Bridgnorth Station's pub, the Railwayman's Arms, is also fully-stocked with mulled wine for the event.

The re-introduction of Christmas services to Bridgnorth follows the completion of the new refreshment room, toilets, car park and station access earlier this year.

SVR events co-ordinator Lewis Maddox said: “This weekend will be the culmination of years of preparation for us – it marks a real milestone for the railway in bringing Bridgnorth back to the heart of Christmas at the SVR.

“It will be fantastic to see this wonderful station buzzing with people enjoying the festive spirit and making use of the new facilities that so many people, both nationally and from within the local community, helped us to create – and for that we are very grateful.

"That’s when we know all the hard work has been worth it.”

To mark the occasion, the Railway has also organised a special Santa service on Sunday, with every seat on board offered free to local family charities.

There are still a limited number of seats available for this weekend’s Bridgnorth services and people can take advantage of a special Black Friday offer of 35 per cent off normal prices if they book online before midnight on Friday.

Go to svr.co.uk or call 01562 757900.