SANTA and his elves are taking a new railway route for this year’s Santa Special in the Ribble Valley.
After 25 years of using the normal Manchester-Clitheroe service train, the genial gent gets a train of his very own, from Blackburn to Hellifield, with fun stopovers at Hellifield and Clitheroe.
The new Santa Special runs on Saturday, December 8th, and tickets are already selling fast.
Marjorie Birch, of Ribble Valley Rail, said: “The service trains had just got too busy, and we felt we were in the way with Santa and his elves and all the children, parents and pushchairs.
“We had an offer from Northern Rail to put on a train just as a Santa Special, so it will be all-ticket and we’ll know exactly how many children and adults we’ll have to cater for.”
Settting off from Blackburn, the train will stop at Ramsgreave and Wilpshire at 11.41 a.m., Langho at 11.46 a.m., Whalley at 11.51 a.m. and Clitheroe at 11.58 a.m.
Santa will visit all children on the train, listening to their requests for presents and leaving them with a free goody bag.
On arrival at Hellifield, hot and cold refreshments will be available in the station café, and there will be carol singers, festive stalls and a puppet show for the children.
On the return journey, adults will receive a mince pie and glass of sherry.
The train will leave Hellifield at 13.55 and tickets are valid for a break of journey in Clitheroe, to see a wide range of festive products on sale in the market and local shops. The town itself will be decked with Christmas trees and festive lights and the traditional Christmas Crib will be situated at the Castle gate.
Ticket holders can return to Blackburn from Clitheroe on any service train during the day or evening.
Tickets are strictly limited to 250 and are on sale on November 10th, 17th & 24th outside the Platform Gallery, Clitheroe, from 2 to 4 p.m., or the lower concourse at Blackburn station on the same dates from between 10 a.m. and noon.
Ribble Valley Rail have thanked Booths, Byrnes, BT Police, Northern Rail, Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line, the Clitheroe Line Community Rail Partnership, Ribble Valley Borough Council and raffle prize donors for their support.
TRAIN TIME: Santa with helpers and children on last year’s special train.