Gloucestshire Warwickshire Steam Railway Santa Specials
Credit: GWSR

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway has announced that its Santa Specials are to break records again as the last seats are taken.

The Santa season starts this weekend (2nd December 2017). 75 Santa Specials scheduled to take families to meet Father Christmas.

75% of seats have been sold, and 45 trains are now fully booked.

A Special Steam Train from Cheltenham Racecourse to the North Pole (at Winchcombe) departed on Sunday 26th November. The train was full of 65 children from Winstons Wish, Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust and Riding for the Disabled.

The trains run every weekend and daily from Wednesday 20th December.

Additionally, Santa will be travelling on a diesel railcar service from Toddington station along the line to Laverton. These trains run on December 9th, 10th, 16th, 17h, 19th and 20th with 30 trains running altogether.

Taste the yummy Mince Pies too! They are made to a special recipe by a local bakery for the railway!

What did the officials say?

Steam locomotive department volunteer Chris Blake who spearheaded the special train says: “We bring such a lot of delight for children throughout December but many miss out from the opportunity to enjoy something like this because of severe illness, disability or a family bereavement. This is the fourth year we have done this and it brings such a huge amount of pleasure to these special youngsters. It makes a real difference not just to their lives but ours too.”

Chief Elf

Chief Elf Colin Fewell (the railway’s volunteer commercial director), says: “We expect to carry over 10,000 people on our trains this December.  Most are already sold but there are still some seats available but this really is a case of ‘book now while tickets last’! Tickets seem to be sold earlier than ever and even by the beginning of November our sales were up 60% compared with last year.  I’m overwhelmed by how popular our Santa Specials are. There are only so many trains we can run each day but if we could run more, I’m sure we would fill them too!”

He added “Many families come year after year to enjoy the steam train journey from Cheltenham Racecourse station to the railway’s Christmas wonderland at the North Pole with a chance for a chat with Santa Claus himself. This is a volunteer-run railway and I believe it’s because of that families feel so welcome when they visit us.  Our staff give up their time because they want to. We all enjoy the delight and wonder on youngsters’ (and grown-ups) faces – not only when they see the steam engine pulling their train but also visiting Santa in his specially converted railway coach at Winchcombe!”

“We expect to get through around 15,000 hot mince pies,” Colin Fewell adds. “To say nothing of gallons of tea and coffee – and sackfuls of carrots for Santa’s reindeer.”