This Christmas we visited the Gloucestershare and Warwickshire Railway for the Santa Special steam train. The train was from Cheltenham Racecourse railway station. The train was fully booked, but there were enough tables for everyone to find a comfortable seat.
We started with a train journey to the “North Pole” station. The carriage was decorated for Christmas and the staff on the train came around to tell us where to go when we passed through the magical tunnel to the North Pole. On arrival of the station we visited Father Christmas in a converted train carriage, where the kids received good quality presents.
We then enjoyed free mince pies and coffee in the station cafe before our journey back home. There was also some Christmas songs at the station. There was a snow machine just before we visited Santa, but the one thing they could have done with is a bit more snow.
After boarding the train home we were told that it was delayed a little, but at least we were on the train in the warmth. The staff were also great and came around to each compartment to let us know what was going on and check that we were all okay [hint to other railway companies – this is how to provide great customer service]. While we were waiting we played a game which had been the present from Santa to our daughter.
The train then took us back to the racecourse. The length of the train ride was just about right. Enough time to enjoy the journey without it getting boring. As an alternative for younger children they also run a diesel rail-car train where Santa visits the children on the train.
We had a great Santa experience.
For more details about this and other train journeys see Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway.