VISITORS and local people have come out in droves to support the West Somerset Railway this December ahead of the railway’s extended closed period from January until the end of March 2019.

The West Somerset Railway’s Christmas programme of special events has proved to be so popular with locals and visitors alike that the railway has had to add additional tickets to the Santa Express services in order to cope with the demand.

The Santa Express services from Bishops Lydeard allow passengers to travel behind a steam locomotive while Santa visits families at their seat on the train.

Mark Hill, West Somerset Railway's head of commercial services, said: "These services offer a warm, cosy and traditional Christmas experience, and a memorable outing for all the family.

“We’re very pleased that so many visitors are supporting the railway ahead of our extended closed period next year, and it shows the community spirit and local support for us that is alive and well in West Somerset.

"We also have running days just after Christmas too from December 27 to January 1, with our Winter Steam Festival taking place on December 29 and 30.

"We’re hoping to welcome as many people as possible over those few days to end the season on a positive note.”