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Santa Experience 2020



The GWSR 2020 Santa Experience trains will be running


Following the announcement of the latest Government rules and restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, we are pleased to announce that GWSR is able to operate this year's Santa Experience trains.


Please see the attached document if you wish to review the new rules and restrictions.


Sorry - all sold out for 2020. We occasionally get 'returns' so keep an eye on the site if you want to see Santa with us.


Your Santa Experience will begin at our festively decorated Toddington Station where there is a large free car park.

One of our amazing heritage steam-hauled and decorated trains will be waiting to take you for a 10 minute train ride in your own private compartment or specially reserved seats in an open carriage on a magic trip through the Cotswolds and beyond to The North Pole (Winchcombe). Here you will be able to walk through a wonderland of lights, trees, and decorations where Santa will be waiting to talk to all the children. As in previous years, all children will of course be given high quality presents which we have become famous for.

The whole family will then be able to enjoy the usual refreshments including the railway’s famous and highly recommended mince pies; additionally, for the first time this year, adults also have the option of a free glass of mulled wine. If you are still feeling peckish our griddle will be on the platform at Winchcombe selling baps filled with bacon, burgers or sausages. There will also be the opportunity to buy take-away beer and additional boxes of delicious mince pies to take back with you before re-joining the train for the trip back to Toddington, where children will additionally receive a small goody bag for the journey home.

Having successfully operated trains under Covid-19 restrictions since 15 August we are confident that we have become well practised at managing the necessary hygiene and social distancing measures that ensure the safety of our volunteers and visitors. Unfortunately, because of the restrictions and space limitations, you will not be able to visit Santa in his usual grotto this year – instead, he will be in more open surroundings by the Christmas decorations.

In the event of severe weather, or Government COVID restrictions (eg lockdown) resulting in the GWSR being unable to offer our Santa Experience we will issue a full refund and a notice will appear as soon as possible on our website.

Tickets are available for:

Sat 5th December 10.00 11.45 13.30 15.15
Sun 6th December 10.00 11.45 13.30 15.15
Sat 12th December 10.00 11.45 13.30 15.15
Sun 13th December 10.00 11.45 13.30 15.15
Sat 19th December 10.00 11.45 13.30 15.15
Sun 20th December 10.00 11.45 13.30 15.15
Tues 22nd December 10.00 11.45 13.30 15.15
Weds 23rd December 10.00 11.45 13.30 15.15
Thurs 24th December 10.00 11.45 13.30 15.15

Times above shown in red have limited childrens tickets available. If the time is crossed through we are sold out.

Steam trains will depart Toddington Station, returning approximately 1½ hours later.

Tickets are £20 for both children and adults. All children under 1 go free and will receive a nominal present from Santa.


All trains depart Toddington Station GL54 5DT 

Please do not go to any of the railway’s other stations.

Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your train’s scheduled departure time. There will be adequate parking at Toddington, and the “Flag & Whistle” Café will be open for refreshments from 09:00.

Car parking at Toddington station is free. Users of our car parks do so at their own risk. The management will not accept responsibility for any damage, accidents, or losses.

There will be no diesel railcar Santa Special trains from Toddington to Broadway this year.

Because of the present Covid-19 situation there will be limited seating numbers available. Our Santa trains normally sell out very quickly and we expect that to happen again this year, so please book early.

In line with other transport bodies and following good practice, face coverings will be required by passengers travelling on our services, whilst on the platform and in all buildings and enclosed spaces. These may be removed whilst seated in a compartment. Those who are exempt include children under 11 years old, passengers with disabilities, those with breathing difficulties and anyone travelling with someone who relies on lip reading. Face coverings can be temporarily removed while eating.


Now for the “small print”, please read carefully:

Click on any of these links to go straight to that subject:

Booking & Tickets Refunds, Alteration & Cancelation
Wheelchairs Dogs
The Train Station Facilities
Pushchairs & Buggies Cleanliness


COVID-19 symptoms

If you are showing any of the symptoms below or have been in contact with a person with Covid-19 within the last 14 days, then please do not attempt to travel with us: 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of taste or smell 

Contact our bookings team on 01242 621905 or 01242 621904 (Mon- Fri 09:00 to 16:00) who will try to reschedule your booking.


Booking and tickets

All tickets must be pre-booked (but see about wheelchair bookings below), there are no tickets on sale at the station.

The majority of seating is in compartment carriages suitable for family “bubbles” of up to 6 people. There are a smaller number of seats in open carriages suitable for twin occupants. Your tickets will show your carriage and compartment or seat allocation.

In order to comply with the Government’s “rule of six” you will not be able to purchase more than 6 tickets (adults and children) on one order. If you do need more than 6 then book a separate order or contact our admin team by telephone 01242 621905 (Mon – Fri 09:00 to 16:00) or by e-mail to

When booking you will be asked to provide the age and gender of the children. This is so that we can provide the most appropriate presents for the children. Presents are not intended for children over the age of 14.

Adults and children's tickets are NOT interchangeable.

Tickets will need to be presented at Santa reception at Toddington for inspection before you will be allowed onto the platform; sanitiser will be available before you enter the platform and its use is compulsory for anyone boarding the trains to reduce potential contamination. Carriages, compartments, and seats will be clearly marked and we will have Christmas Elves available to help with directions. Information will be supplied outlining the controls in place for your journey including boarding, cleanliness, social distancing etc. All tickets purchased are for the specified time train on the specified day. Passengers missing their specified train will not be able to travel on a later train that day or on a different day without re-booking.

Tickets are “print at home”. You will need to bring your tickets printed or available on your smart device to show at Santa reception. Your ticket will pre-allocate your seating. Alternatively, you may also opt to have the ticket/s posted to you, although we will then need to add a £1 handling charge - and in this case you will need to buy your ticket at least 7 days before you want to travel.


Refunds, alterations, and cancellation

We will try to accommodate refunds if they are made at least 14 days prior to travel. If the travel date is within 14 days, refunds can only be considered if the tickets can be re-sold. Requests for refunds should be made by telephone 01242 621905 (Mon – Fri 09:00 to 16:00) and confirmed by e-mail to No administration fee will apply to refunds.

Similarly, we will try to accommodate alterations if requested at least 14 days prior to travel and provided there are seats available on the new date. No administration fee will apply to alterations.

In the event of severe weather, or Government COVID restrictions (eg lockdown) resulting in the GWSR being unable to offer our Santa Experience we will issue a full refund and a notice will appear as soon as possible on our website. Where you have given us your mobile telephone number and/or email address at the time of booking, we will endeavour to advise you of any such cancellation by text and/or email.


Wheelchairs - requires phone booking

Regrettably we only have space on 10:00 & 13:00 Santa train for ONE pre-booked wheelchair, in a dedicated area. Please DO NOT book online if you are bringing a wheelchair please call 01242 621905 (Mon- Fri 09:00 to 16:00) to check availability and make your booking.  If you make a booking online you may be allocated a non-accessible compartment and may be unable to travel on the day.



We regret that Covid-19 measures mean that we will not be able carry dogs (except for assistance dogs) on our Santa Experience trains.


The Train 

We will be running six-carriage steam-hauled trains; five carriages will be compartment stock.  We ask that you adhere to the government rules regarding whom you are traveling with within the compartment i.e. not sharing with strangers.  The sixth carriage will be an open coach and will have suitably distanced seating available for twin occupants.

We have limited the number of people in the carriages to ensure that we can conform to the Government’s guidance on social distancing, so we ask that customers limit movement around the train and observe social distancing rules on platforms and carparks etc. Please do not stand in the corridors. The toilets on the train will be locked out of use, please make use of the toilets at both Toddington and Winchcombe Stations.

Carriages and seats will be clearly marked and we will have Christmas Elves available to help with directions.


Pushchairs and buggies

Because of the types of carriages in use, we can only accommodate small, foldable buggies on the train, which must be put inside your booked compartment. Also, there is no storage space at the station so, if possible, please carry young children onto the train and leave pushchairs and buggies in your car.


Station Facilities

Access to the platform will be restricted to those who will be travelling.  Toilets will be open at both stations and sanitiser will be available as you enter each toilet block; all visitors are encouraged to use it and follow the guidelines regarding handwashing.

Please be aware that, while the stations will be open, the ancillary attractions such as small museums, have-a-go mini signal box, children’s playground and shops will not be open.  The Flag and Whistle Café at Toddington will be open.

At Winchcombe Station our griddle will be on the platform selling baps filled with bacon, burgers or sausages.

We request that passengers keep a safe distance from fellow travellers. 



We have increased the intensity and frequency of cleaning on our trains and at stations and installed new signage and floor markings at our locations; we ask that everyone follows markings and signs.

We have introduced overnight fogging which sprays disinfectant directly onto all surfaces, killing viruses and bacteria.

Rubbish bags will be provided and passengers will be asked to put any rubbish into the bag and seal it before leaving the train. All customers are asked to remove any item of personal belongings that they may have brought with them and to not leave any rubbish in the compartment.  Spare bags will be available from the train crews if required.

GWSR reserves the right to, or may be required to, alter, and possibly cancel the Santa Experience Event if Government Covid-19 guidelines change.

Although every effort will be made to run the trains as advertised, the GWSR reserves the right to cancel, alter or suspend services without notice. The liability in the event of cancellation will be limited to a refund of the appropriate part of the fare.


Happy Christmas!!! 


Santa Experience 2020