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Dec 2022

Festive Fun Across Severnside with a Christmas Market, Noah’s Ark Farm, Carols in the Carriage and Circus Acts

Severnside Community Rail Partnership team have been very much in the festive spirit, linking community groups and schools with Christmas offerings on and around the local rail network.

The festive mood started with a ‘Days out by Train’ trip for members of the Welcome Café in Weston-super-Mare to the famous Bath Christmas Market . The group enjoyed the bustling streets lined with wooden chalets selling gifts and tasty treats. Street performers entertained with juggling fire sticks while the Christmas tree at the Abbey twinkled with it’s simple white lights.

Days out By Train visits are supported by  GWR’s Community Investment Fund.  The scheme offers rail familiarisation and confidence building trips to local destinations for registered community groups.  Severnside Community Rail Partnership currently engage groups supporting refugees and asylum seekers, the d/Deaf community and elderly isolated in the programme.

It was family time at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm farm in North Somerset, where a visit by rail was organised in partnership with Southwest charity 1625 Independent People.  By travelling by rail from Stapleton Road to Nailsea and Backwell station the group learned all about how to travel safely with young children. The group loved seeing the lions, elephants, camels and many other animals at the farm, warming up with hot chocolates and a hot lunch at the cafe on site. The trip offered an opportunity to meet other families and build new friendships as well as enjoy a day out with the children.

Pupils attending Coniston Primary School in South Gloucestershire took the train into Bristol where they were treated to an extra special circus extravaganza at Loco Klub.  Set in the archways of Brunel’s Temple Meads station, Loco Klub is an alternative arts venue and a member of the Community Rail Network. The team at Loco are keen for local people to get the best from the space and to take advantage of the unique venue and it’s varied arts, music and theatre programme by arriving by rail. ‘Christmas at the Loco Klub’, supported by a grant from the Community Rail Development Fund,   was organised by the Platform Community Rail Education team.  Pop over to the Platform website  to read all about amazing acrobatics, juggling, laughter and Christmas crafts,  all thoroughly enjoyed by the children – and equally by the adults lucky enough to accompany visits!

After a two-year hiatus during Covid, the popular Carols in the Carriage returned with plenty of tinsel, Christmas jumpers and singing all the way between Avonmouth and Weston-super-Mare.  To make the event extra special, staff from the Strawberry Line Café joined the train at Yatton station to serve their delicious, freshly baked mince pies. The event brought many smiles to the other passengers and onboard staff, some of whom got in to the festive spirit and joined us for the singing as well. Many of the participants were grateful to have a chance to socialise on the trains again and looked forward to more events taking place in 2023.