Parents say their children have been left "traumatised" after a Christmas themed train hit dogs that had strayed onto the railway track.
Families had enjoyed a day out on the ‘Santa Special’ from Llangollen Station to Carrog (renamed Lapland for the festive period) in north-east Wales on a decorated steam train.
A spokesman for Llangollen Railway described Sunday’s incident as "highly regrettable" and said "at least one" hound loose from a local hunt was hit by the Santa Special steam train.
Other reports suggest up to four dogs may have been hurt, and that they were very badly injured, report Wales Online.
The trip saw children meeting Santa when they got off at Carrog station, while adults got to enjoy a glass of mulled wine.
And it seemed the day had been a great success, until the journey back to Llangolen Station, when the jubilant atmosphere turned to one of horror for those on board.
Eyewitnesses said that the hounds “ran out in front of the train” as it moved along the train line, and that they were taken away by some members of the hunt after they were tragically hit.
Charlene Jones had been on the train, which left the station at 1.35pm, with her husband and two young children, along with some friends, ahead of her 35th birthday tomorrow.
She said: "We were on the carriage and my husband hung his head out of the window when he saw animals had been hit.
"One had been hit from the back end and was completely paralysed. The train staff went down to do what they could.
"The train stopped suddenly, and anyone who had not originally seen it was looking out the window to see animals yelping.
"There was loads of little children. We were quite far at the back but knew what was going on. My children had seen it.
"There were children sobbing everywhere. The atmosphere just completely changed."
"The train stopped and it could not move on until they had the go ahead from head office. We were there for around 45 minutes.
"I have to say the Llangollen Railway were wonderful. It was a great day with a sad ending."
Liz McGuinness, business manager of the popular heritage railway, said: "No-one aboard the train 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.”
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