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NORTHALLERTON department store, Barkers, has unveiled a first-class attraction for customers – a model railway.

The electric locomotive runs on 30 metres of elevated track installed in Barkers Kitchen, one of the High Street store’s restaurants.

The eye-catching centrepiece, which is currently a Christmas special with Santa as the driver of the train pulling 10 carriages filled with presents, is proving a big success with diners of all ages.

A painted winter backdrop by Yorkshire Dales artist Lynne Chapman completes the magical scene.

Barkers welcomed members of the award-winning Wensleydale Railway, a heritage railway association, into the department store to officially open the model railway.

Barkers Managing Director Charles Barker decided to introduce a model railway after seeing a similar one at Barter Books – a second-hand book store in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Mr Barker said: “When I first saw the amazing high-level model railway in the book store, it was wonderful to see the smiling faces of children and parents alike watching with fascination and I thought how marvellous it would be to have one in our restaurant.

“With the help of Richard Booth from the Wensleydale Railway, we organised a VIP launch for what will now be known as the BNWR branch line – Barkers Northallerton Wensleydale Railway branch line!

“We think that Barkers are unique in having a railway like this in a store restaurant. 

“This is Phase one, the feedback from customers has been so positive we are looking at plans to extend it in 2018.”

Characters from Wensleydale Railway Heritage Education Programme, who recently won an award for volunteers in museum education from the British Museum in London, officially waved a green flag and blew the whistle to set Barkers’ train on its way.

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