GWSR enters into the Christmas spirit!


Special train for local charities on 24 November


  • More than 70 ‘Santa Specials’ running throughout December

  • Special train for youngsters from Acorns Children's Hospice; Maggies cancer care and Riding for the Disabled

  • 74 Santa Specials running from 30 November to Christmas Eve

  • Many trains already sold out

  • 10,000 mince pies ordered


Toddington, 03 November 2019: The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway starts its bumper Santa Special season at the end of November with entertainment for youngsters and adults on Santa Steam Specials from Cheltenham Racecourse or Railcar Specials from Toddington station.


The steam trains from Cheltenham Racecourse to the North Pole (at Winchcombe) begin with a very special service for children supported by charities Acorns Children's HospiceRiding for the Disabled and Maggies, the cancer care charity.  This train leaves Cheltenham Racecourse at 11.00 on Sunday 24th November.


This is an initiative of the GWSR’s steam locomotive department and enthusiastically supported by the Santa Special team of volunteers. 


Steam locomotive department volunteer Chris Blake who is spearheading the special train says: “We bring such a lot of delight for children throughout December but many miss out on the opportunity to enjoy something like this because of illness or a disability.


“This is the sixth year we have done this.  It brings such a huge amount of pleasure to these special youngsters.  It makes a real difference not just to their lives but ours too.”


All youngsters get to meet Santa after the train ride to Winchcombe (North Pole) which is superbly decorated for the occasion while all receive a special gift.  The GWSR has some of its 50-year-old coaches specially adapted for wheelchair access.                     


December train tickets selling out fast!

The Santa Special trains for everyone start on Saturday 30th November and run every weekend as well as Friday 20th and Monday and Tuesday, 23rd and 24th December, up to Christmas.  However there are still tickets available on all trains over the weekend of 30th/31st November – a great way to get the Christmas season off to a flying start! 


Steam services start at Cheltenham Racecourse station while the Diesel Railcar service, which begins on 7th December, operates at weekends from Toddington station on a ten-mile round trip.


Over 40 steam trains are running from Cheltenham Racecourse to the ‘North Pole’ where everyone gets an opportunity to meet Santa in his specially converted railway carriage while youngsters each receive a quality gift.  Complimentary hot mince pies, hot and soft drinks and fruit are on offer in the Coffee Pot Café on Winchcombe station. 


Santa travels with families on the diesel railcar and again, mince pies and hot and soft drinks are offered to everyone. 

But many trains are already fully sold out while some others have only a few tickets remaining. 


Chief Elf organiser Colin Fewell points out that these special trains are all run by volunteers and the thinks that's what makes the trip such a wonderful experience for families.


“Many families come year after year to enjoy the steam train journey from Cheltenham Racecourse station to the railway's Christmas wonderland at the North Pole with a chance for a chat with Santa Claus himself.


“This is a volunteer-run railway and I believe it's because of that families feel so welcome when they visit us.



“Our staff give up their time because they want to.  We all enjoy the delight and wonder on youngsters' (and grown-ups) faces – not only when they see the steam engine pulling their train but also visiting Santa in his specially converted railway coach at Winchcombe!


“The diesel railcar offers a quite different but equally enjoyable experience and is limited to just 25 children per train so there’s plenty of opportunity to chat with Santa during the journey.”


We expect to get through around 10,000 mince pies,” Colin Fewell adds.  “To say nothing of gallons of tea and coffee – and sackfuls of carrots for Santa's reindeer.” 


Tickets for the diesel railcar service are £16 (adults and children) and £17 for the steam train.  Full details of the services, ticket availability and how to book are on the railway's website at 


Ends /more


Please contact the below if you wish to either visit for the special train for the special charity train on Sunday 24th November or to travel on one of the other trains during December.  Media visiting will even get to try one of our special mince pies, made to the railway’s special recipe by a local bakery. 

Photographs taken on previous Christmas Specials on application or visit this Dropbox file.  Credit GWSR if reproducing one in possible - thanks!.


Media Contact: 

GWSR: Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or