Historic Leeds railway brings back festive cheer as Santa Specials go full steam ahead

The Santa trains at Middleton Railway, Leeds. Santa is pictured on the train. Picture by Simon Hulme.
The Santa trains at Middleton Railway, Leeds. Santa is pictured on the train. Picture by Simon Hulme.
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Santa has been making sure that all aboard his seasonal rail services are getting into the Christmas spirit.

The annual Santa Special Trains at the historic Middleton Railway, which is based at its Moor Road Station in Hunslet, rolled into action over the weekend to once again spread some festive joy.

The Santa trains at Middleton Railway, Leeds. Santa is pictured with Bella Sellars, aged three, from Roundhay. Picture by Simon Hulme.

The Santa trains at Middleton Railway, Leeds. Santa is pictured with Bella Sellars, aged three, from Roundhay. Picture by Simon Hulme.

This year 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.

Hundreds of families went along to the volunteer-run railway, which has been transformed into a tree-laden winter wonderland complete with Santa’s grotto, on Saturday and Sunday.

Ian Smith, vice president of the Middleton Railway Trust, said: “You come here and you watch the faces of the young children and it’s pure wonderment in their eyes.

“It’s a fantastic sight to see, especially how they interact with Santa and our elves. You can see the magic in their eyes and that’s what we do it for.”

The Santa trains at Middleton Railway, Leeds. Ian Dobson waves the train off. Picture by Simon Hulme.

The Santa trains at Middleton Railway, Leeds. Ian Dobson waves the train off. Picture by Simon Hulme.

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

The 35-minute services run from Moor Road to Park Halt and back. Visitors are urged to book their tickets in advance for the trains, which will run on December 12, 13, 19, 20, 23 and 24 this year.

Tickets cost £10.50 for children aged three to 12, £6.50 for children under three and £7.50 per adult. Christmas Eve services cost £1 extra. Tickets include a free gift for children and refreshments for all.

Mr Smith explained that the Santa Specials have become a tradition for many. He said: “They have been coming down here for 20 to 30 years, coming down as children and now they are bringing their own – it’s brilliant.”

For details or tickets, visit middletonrailway.org.uk or call 0845 6801758 Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm.

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