A spokesman for Llangollen Railway has given details of a “highly regrettable” incident on Sunday afternoon in which at least one hound from the local hunt was hit by a Santa Special steam train after straying on to the track.
Liz McGuinness, business manager of the popular heritage railway, said: “Our Santa Special was on its way back from Carrog station to Llangollen when the incident occurred at around 4pm today near the Deeside loop just after Glyndyfrdwy .
“From what I understand members of the local hunt were somewhere in the vicinity of the line when at least one of the hounds ended up running up the tracks towards the oncoming train which was carrying a large number of passengers – many of them young children – enjoying a festive day out.
“I understand that the train hit at least one of the dogs. I am not certain at this stage how badly the animal was injured but members of the hunt turned up to take the animal or animals away from the scene.”
She added: “No-one aboard the train, either on the footplate or in the passenger coaches, were hurt but the driver and crew were obviously badly shaken by this highly regrettable incident.
“The train eventually made its way back to Llangollen.
“I sincerely apologise to everyone on the Santa Special for what should have been an enjoyable afternoon ending in this way.
“Can I make it clear that the hunt does not have permission to be on Llangollen Railway property at any time.
“A full investigation into the incident will now be carried out by railway management.”