ScotRail’s Santa Express services have raised almost £37,000 for charity after the initial journey from Edinburgh to the Highlands last Saturday (4 December).
Hundreds of children and adults took the special train from Waverley to the Strathspey Railway in snowy Boat of Garten, the first of five Christmas specials in the lead up to the big day.
They were greeted there by Santa, and some of his reindeer who’d taken the chance to drop in to see their chums at the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre before the busy Christmas season begins.
And, on the train home, Santa gave out presents to all of the children to a soundtrack of carols and Christmas hits, past and present.
The Santa Express is a festive partnership between ScotRail, the Railway Children charity and, of course, Father Christmas.
A further four specials will leave Waverley on 11 and 18 December and travel around the Fife Circle line, one in the morning and the second in the afternoon of each day.
Tickets for all five trains sold out within hours of going on sale in October, and with extra cash from an onboard raffle on Saturday, the Railway Children charity has so far raised almost £37,000, a total that’s bound to go higher after planned raffles on the remaining Santa Express trips.
David Simpson, ScotRail Operations Director, said:
“We thought the Santa Express would be a success, but Saturday’s trip to Boat of Garten has exceeded all our expectations.
“Everyone played their part and I’d like to thank all the ScotRail staff who volunteered their time and everyone else, especially Strathspey Railway and the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre.
“And, of course, a massive thank you to Santa who took time out of his busy schedule to come from the North Pole and give out presents to all the children onboard.
“For our customers to raise this amount of money is absolutely fantastic and everyone’s looking forward to the next trips around Fife. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”
Terina Keene, Railway Children CEO, said:
“The Santa Express trains have already brought in a life-changing amount of money for the Railway Children charity.
“It will do so much to help us support vulnerable children and families around the world.
“It’s been an amazing success and we’d like to thank ScotRail and everyone who volunteered their time and facilities for this fantastic festive event.”