Magical festive steam train rides return to Staffordshire for their 23rd year, with Churnet Valley Railway offering the ultimate seasonal experience for all the family on the Santa Express.
The Staffordshire heritage railway’s iconic and much loved ‘Santa and Steam’ event combines a ride on a steam train through scenic countryside with seeing Santa. On a variety of dates in the run up to Christmas Day, vintage trains warmly decorated with garlands and filled with Christmas cheer, make their way through the Churnet Valley. With a puff of steam and a blow of the whistle, 124 journeys are scheduled this season; the most the heritage railway has ever run.
Santa and Steam will run on both days on the weekends of 1st-2nd, 7th-8th and 15th-16th December, on Wednesdays 5th and 12th December, and daily from Wednesday 19th to Monday 24th December. The full timetable and pricing can be found on the Santa and Steam website.
Santa will well and truly have his work cut out this year as he welcomes children big and small aboard the train for an hour and 20-minute journey through the breath-taking Staffordshire moorlands. With on board entertainment for the children including balloon artists making festive creations for children of all ages and sherry and mince pies for adults, the 2018 ‘Santa and Steam’ event is a great mid-week or weekend family outing.
On offer will be a splendid selection of mystery presents. Santa and his elves make their way through the carriages spreading Christmas cheer whilst giving each child a wrapped gift. The Santa Express departs from two stations, Froghall (ST10 2HA) and Cheddleton (ST13 7EE), both of which have tea rooms where visitors can purchase hot and cold food, including yuletide favourites such as Christmas Pie. Mementos including toys and a range of train-themed gifts can be purchased from the Signals Souvenirs shop at Froghall and a pop-up shop at Cheddleton.
Gregory Wilson, operations director at the railway said “this is one of our favourite, and busiest, times at Churnet Valley Railway. Our Santa and Steam event is part of many families Christmas celebrations. Kids of all ages tell us meeting Santa, riding on a steam train and getting a present is a perfect day out.”
Ticket prices start at £17 for adults, £12 for children over two years old and £7 for children under two years old. A 10% group discounts is available on groups of over 20 passengers and groups of 6-8 passengers can book a private compartment for £30.
Churnet Valley Railway relies on a network of over 100 regular volunteers and there are opportunities to get involved over the Christmas period. This includes helping Santa and his elves with preparing presents, distributing festive refreshments, meeting and greeting passengers at each station and assisting with on-board duties. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01538 750 755.