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Gloucestershire Business News

Steam and Santa coming to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) has announced additional running days for 2020 as well as a series of 'Santa Experience' trains.

To the end of October, the railway continues to operate round trips from Toddington station on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In addition, trains will run over the weekends of 7th and 8th; 14th and 15th and 21st and 22nd November.

From Saturday 28th November, 'Santa Experience' trains will operate in a manner reflecting the government's social guidelines (and provided more severe restrictions are not imposed).

Graham Radband, the railway's volunteer commercial director said: "It has been difficult planning our services for the rest of the year given the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 restrictions but our volunteers were keen to offer our loyal visitors a memorable Santa service.

"We have successfully operated trains since August 15 and thankfully, the trains have been very popular. We are now well practiced at managing the necessary hygiene and social distancing measures to ensure the safety of our volunteers and visitors.

"This has given us the confidence to organise a 'Santa Experience' right up to Christmas. We know families love travelling by train to see Santa and that's just what we will do. But of course, there are changes to ensure that everyone is kept safe."

The 'Santa Experience' will start and finish only at Toddington station GL54 5DT. The trains will run to Winchcombe station and back. At Winchcombe, refreshments will be offered including mulled wine the railway's famous mince pies and families will be taken to meet Santa - although at a socially safe distance.

Mr Radband added: "Sadly, Santa and his elves have to maintain social distancing just like everyone else. But not only will children enjoy from Santa good quality gifts reflecting the their age, but a 'goody bag' too.

"Last year we took over 11,000 people to meet Santa. But because we have to limit the number of people on each train, this time we have about half that number of seats available. By this time last year, many of our trains were already sold out - so when tickets go on sale we expect them to go very quickly."

Advance bookings will be available from November 1 and must be booked online. Tickets, costing £20 per person (children under 1 go free) should be printed at home or retained on a smart device to show staff when they arrive.

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