All aboard tinsel-clad railway for Santa’s festive services

Santa Claus stands on the engine pulling the Christmas Cracker Santa Special train at the Middleton Railway in Leeds. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
Santa Claus stands on the engine pulling the Christmas Cracker Santa Special train at the Middleton Railway in Leeds. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
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Santa’s preparations for a busy festive period are going full steam ahead after his very own seasonal services launched.

The annual Santa Special Trains at Middleton Railway, which is based at the Moor Road Station, in Hunslet, started up over the weekend as Christmas Day rolled closer yet.

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More than 4,000 adults and children are expected to board the decorated steam trains, in which every young passenger is rewarded by Santa himself with an age and gender appropriate gift.

All proceeds from the popular Santa Specials go towards the running of the facility, which is world’s oldest continuously working railway having opened back in 1758.

Andrew Gill, chair of the Middleton Railway Trust, said: “We’ve had people come dressed up in their Christmas jumpers and all sorts, and we have something like 16 Christmas trees in the Engine House.

“All the locomotives are decorated and everyone’s in the spirit of Christmas.”

The 35-minute train rides from Moor Road to Park Halt and back also reward adults, who get a mince pie and a warm drink on arrival back at the station.

Visitors are urged to book their tickets in advance for the trains, which run on December 13, 14, 20, 21, 23 and 24 this year. Tickets cost up to £11 per child and up to £8 per adult.

Mr Gill added: “It’s proven very popular so far, we’re advising people to book places in advance so not to be disappointed.”

For further information or to book tickets visit www.middletonrailway.org.uk or call 0845 6801758 on Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm.

HISTORIC RAILWAY

Middleton railway is the world’s oldest continuously working railway, having first opened in 1758.

First built to transport coal from Middleton Colliery to the factories of Leeds, it is now a heritage railway run by volunteers from the Middleton Railway Trust which was founded in 1960.

In 2012 it celebrated 200 years since it became the world’s first railway to use steam locomotives in a commercial environment.

Based at the Moor Road Station, in Hunslet, the railway features a museum and regular weekend train rides to Middleton Park and back. For further information visit www.middletonrailway.org.uk or call 0113 2710320.

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