South Downs Light Railway

Santa Special Trains

Come and meet Santa and ride the steam train!

Our Santa Specials for 2020 run on:

5th & 6th December

12th & 13th December

19th & 20th December

23rd December


This year our Santa Specials will be a little different from previous years due to Social Distancing requirements and Government advice.

We are asking customers to book compartments on the train instead of individual seats. Each train will consist of four Standard compartments with three seats in each, and one Larger compartment which has four seats. Each seat is just under 76cm (30inches) wide and will usually allow an adult and small child to sit next to each other.

The steam hauled train rides will start at Stopham Road Station. The train will slow down through North Pole station where Santa and his helpers will wish each group a very Happy Christmas. The train will not stop at the North Pole. The ride will continue back to Stopham Road where you can disembark and will take approximately 9 minutes. We WILL NOT be giving presents.

You can book your tickets up to 9pm on the day preceding the day of your visit.

Due to the popularity of the Santa Specials we are unable to accept day riders on these dates.

Unfortunately, all the tickets for our 2020 Santa Season have now sold out.


Prices for each Standard compartment with three seats is £9.00, and the Larger compartment with four seats is £12.00.

For all ticketing enquiries please contact us by email to

What our visitors have said

"Thank you for such a fabulous time on the Santa Specials today. The big man was fabulous with the kids and we received a lovely gift at the end of a very amusing chat"…

"Wonderful Santa Special today, absolutely magical and no massive queues. Our girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves (as did we) and they were thrilled with their presents. We'll certainly be back next year and also when the railway reopens in March"…

"Santa visit yesterday was great. Our twins loved it and the presents were lovely. Definitely recommend a visit to see Santa"…

"Fantastic place for families to take little ones to see Santa. Relaxed atmosphere, very well thought out. The grotto is awesome very well decorated. We had a lovely time. The train ride to the North Pole was brilliant - highly recommended."…

"We had a lovely experience on the Santa Special train today. No queue at all. Staff were incredibly warm and friendly. Santa and his helpers were extremely patient with my son who was a bit nervous at first. Really lovely gift for my son and mulled wine for the adults. Would heartily recommend."…

"We had a very enjoyable afternoon at the SDLR yesterday. The Santa Special train perfect as was the mulled wine (for the adults) and presents for the children. Santa and his team of helpers - excellent. Must be our 7th year of attending the Santa Specials - hopefully a few more to come."…

"We had such a wonderful time today with our boys (4,5 & 6). They loved talking to the volunteers to find out more about the engines, enjoyed the little trips with the steam train. Father Christmas allowed time to talk to the boys (and a lady kindly took a photo of our whole family together) all of the volunteers were welcoming, helpful and added to the experience and our boys had amazing gifts! Well worth the visit, will recommend this to everyone both at Christmas and throughout the year. Our boys have already said they would like to come back again next year. Thank you so much for all your hard work, you have certainly given some Christmas magic to our children. Merry Christmas to you all! XXX"…

Some important information about your visit to Santa

1. In your own interests to avoid disappointment and for the benefit of other travellers it is essential that you arrive in good time for your train. The advertised times are when the trains depart so we advise you to arrive at Stopham Road Station at the latest 10 minutes before the departure time. If you are late and your train has departed we regret that we cannot guarantee that you will be able to travel on another train.

2. There will be no presents given this year. The train will slow down at North Pole station for Santa and his helpers to say hello before it then continues and returns to Stopham Road.

3. Unless weather conditions are really bad all advertised trains will run. You should treat your visit as an outdoor activity and wear appropriate clothing. If trains are to be cancelled we will announce that on our Facebook page by 9am on the day affected.

4. If you decide not to travel on the day you have booked and the trains are not cancelled then you will not be entitled to a refund. If the trains are cancelled becuase of inclement weather or other unavoidable cause we will refund the ticket price you have paid less an administration charge of £5 if we are unable to offer you an alternative day for your visit.

Contact us:
By phone: 07518 753784
By email:

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© South Downs Light Railway, 2018.

South Downs Light Railway Society Ltd
Stopham Road Station
Pulborough Garden Centre
West Sussex. RH20 1DS

A company limited by guarantee number 6426315

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