Magical festive steam train rides returned to Staffordshire this weekend for their 23rd year, with Churnet Valley Railway offering the ultimate seasonal experience for all the family on the Santa Express.
Iconic ‘Santa and Steam’
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.
Customers Lee and Sare Younger, from Werrington, brought their young family to enjoy the Santa and Steam experience. Sare said of the day
“we loved the idea of the kids meeting Santa while riding on a train, it beats standing in a queue in the cold to go in a grotto. Santa and his helpers came to talk to Ivy and Olivia which was very special. He also gave each of them chocolate coins and an early Christmas present. Lee and I were very happy with our mince pies and sherry, and seeing the excitement on the girls faces just made our day!”
Santa and Steam will run on both days on the weekends of 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: https://santaandsteam.co.uk/
Christmas event for the whole family
Santa well and truly has his work cut out for him this year as he welcomes children big and small aboard the train for an hour-long 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 family outing.
On offer is 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 “we have seen a smashing start to the festive season with our opening weekend of Santa and Steam. It was great to see some new customers visiting alongside those who have made this part of their annual Christmas celebrations. We still have limited places left so those wishing to join us for 2018 should be booking their seats asap!”
Ticket prices start at £17 for adults, £12 for children over two years old and £7 for children under two years old. A 10% discount is available on groups of over 20 passengers and groups of 6-8 passengers can book a private compartment for £30.
Santas little Elves
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 assisting Santa and his helpers with preparing presents, distributing festive refreshments, meeting and greeting passengers at each station and assisting with on-board duties.
Santa and Steam Dates & Times 2018
Santa Express train journeys last approximately 1 hour
Trains will run on 5,8,9,12,15,16,19,20,21,22,23 December at the following times:
10.00, 11.30, 13.00, 14.30, 16.00
10.40, 12.10, 13.40, 15:10
Christmas Eve Times 2018
10.00, 11.30, 13.00, 14:30
10.45, 12.15, 13.45
Santa & Steam Prices 2018
|Adult||Child > 2||Child < 2|
|1 – 16 Dec.||£17.00||£12.00||£7.00|
|19 – 21 Dec.||£19.00||£13.00||£7.00|
|22 – 24 Dec.||£21.00||£15.00||£7.00|
Private Compartments available for groups of 6+
Private compartments are only available for groups of 6 – 8 passengers & cost a flat rate of £30.00 on top of the original booking. If some of the passengers travel on the knee of an adult (ideally babies 12 months or less), then it is possible to fit more in a compartment.
Please contact the Churnet Valley Railway office for details.
- Seating and return journey on the Santa Express train
- Meet Santa as he wanders through the train
- A wonderful age-suitable present for all children
- Complimentary soft drink and treat for each child
- Complimentary glass of sherry and mince pie for adults
- Balloon artists will be on board to create festive balloon art
- Parking is available at both stations (Froghall and Cheddleton)
- Tearooms will be open at both stations 30 minutes before the first train’s departure each day
- There are toilets on the trains but unfortunately no baby changing facilities
- Buggies and pushchairs must be folded down and stored in the station waiting room due to the shortage of space on the train.
- Please call if you have a wheelchair user and we will make appropriate arrangements
- Passengers with a disability are advised to join the train at Froghall station
- Dogs are not permitted on the Santa Express train with the exception of guide dogs
Finding Churnet Valley Railway
Our Santa trains depart from the Froghall and Cheddleton stations. Froghall is situated on the A52, Stoke to Ashbourne road. Cheddleton is situated three miles south of Leek along the A520. For satellite navigation users: Froghall Station ST10 2HA; Cheddleton Station ST13 7EE
For more information, contact [email protected] or call 01538 750 755.