In a festive partnership between ScotRail, the Railway Children charity, and Father Christmas, this is the first of five Christmas specials in the lead-up to the big day. The special train departs Edinburgh Waverley at 08:58 bound for picturesque Boat of Garten in the Highlands.
On Saturdays 11 and 18 December, two more Santa Express specials will leave Waverley each day and travel around the Fife Circle line, one in the morning and the second in the afternoon.
Proceeds from the trains will benefit the Railway Children charity, which fights for vulnerable children who live alone and at risk on the streets, where they suffer abuse and exploitation. Tickets sold out in hours and raised £33,000 for the charity.
The Santa Express trains will be decked out in a festive theme. ScotRail staff and partner organisations have donated gifts to keep costs, and Father Christmas will hand these out as he walks up and down the trains. As wearing a face covering is mandatory in all ScotRail stations, covered and open-air, and on trains, Santa will be setting a good example to everyone by wearing his mask.
Children, with their mums, dads, and guardians, will have a special visit from Santa on board the train and receive treats and activities to keep them enter-trained, including performances by a magician.
The special train on Saturday, 4 December has an extra treat. When it arrives in Boat of Garten at 12:24, a small herd of Santa’s reindeer will be waiting to greet everyone. Passengers have an hour at Boat of Garten where they can get off the train, stretch their legs, meet Rudolph and his pals, and enjoy some seasonal snacks. Then, it’s back onto the Santa Express for the return journey at 13:23, arriving in Edinburgh Waverley at 16:46.
David Simpson, ScotRail Operations Director, said: “We thought the Santa Express would be popular but never dreamt tickets would sell out so quickly.
“ScotRail customers are known for their generosity, but this has exceeded all of our expectations. And we’d like to thank all the ScotRail staff who have volunteered their time to make these trips happen.
“The Railway Children charity is a great cause, and we are proud to be playing our part in assisting them to help vulnerable children all over the world.”
Terina Keene, Railway Children CEO, said: “We can’t thank ScotRail enough for partnering with us on this amazing festive event and we are so happy the Santa Express trains sold out so quickly.
“The money raised will really help us to support vulnerable children and families around the world.”
The train services are as follows:
Saturday 4th December – Edinburgh to Boat of Garten:
- Depart Edinburgh 08:58.
- Arrive Boat of Garten 12:24.
- Depart Boat of Garten 13:23.
- Arrive Edinburgh 16:46.
Saturdays 11th and 18th December – Edinburgh and return around the Fife Circle:
- First trip departs Edinburgh 10:15 and arrives back at 12:00.
- Second trip departs Edinburgh 13:16 and arrives back at 15:04.
For more information click here ScotRail Santa Express.