*** Pre-Booking Only ***

The Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam Experience 2024 – a brand new experience

Get your holiday off to a magical start this Christmas by coming for a journey aboard the Santa Express in Staffordshire. The Churnet Valley Railway is pleased to be welcoming a return visit from Father Christmas and his Christmas Elves during their annual pre-Christmas tour of the world, where they will once again arrive to enjoy a steam-hauled train instead of his normal reindeer-hauled sleigh – and you're all invited to join.

One of the best things to do in Staffordshire this year, Father Christmas and the Churnet Valley Railway offers the opportunity to meet Santa yourself, and all in less than an hour's drive from all of Stoke-on-Trent, Uttoxeter and Macclesfield. So, come and visit Father Christmas yourself, bring the family and join us in travelling on the Santa Express this year.

Trains depart from Froghall station on selected dates between the 21st of November and the 23rd of December, with a final opportunity on Christmas Eve before Father Christmas leaves for his annual tour of the world.

You will find ample free parking and a station filled with festive atmosphere, plus our refreshment room will be serving a selection of hot and cold festive treats. This is supplemented by the Signals Souvenir Shop, that will be selling a range of gifts and souvenirs to take away – maybe even that last minute present for the hard to find for relative!

Father Christmas' delightful elves will guide you to your seat and call upon the main man to come and say hello. But wait, where is Santa? Oh no! It turns out each elf thought each other had told Father Christmas to meet on the train. Well we can't have a Santa Express with no Father Christmas, so if you're happy for a detour, we'll have to head for the North Pole to pick him up. Journeying through Staffordshire's hidden valley, each of our happy little elves will help spread the Christmas Cheer with singsongs and quizzes to pass the time on our adventure North. Don't forget to look out the window though, as magical happenings may appear alongside your train.

After passing through the Northern Lights, the train will arrive at the North Pole where hopefully Father Christmas will be waiting for the Santa Express' arrival. Welcoming Father Christmas onboard, we will then continue our journey as our hero ventures through the train to meet everyone onboard and collect all the Santa Wish lists for Christmas Day. Each little boy and girl will receive a wonderful gift from Father Christmas himself, whilst Santa's Christmas Elves will be happy to provide a drink and some of the finest North Pole chocolate to all on board the atmospheric festive filled coaches – including Mums, Dads, Grandmas and Grandads.

The train ride will last approximately 1 hour 30 minutes, and passengers with a disability can join too as our friendly staff will guide them to suitable accommodation. Sadly dogs are not allowed on the Santa Express, with the exception of Guide Dogs, which are welcomed.

What is included in your fare?

  • new Extended journey now lasting 1 Hour 30 Minutes and taking you over 15 miles
  • new Northern Lights on the way to the North Pole
  • new Unique encounters with every elf
  • new Story on the train as you travel with Santa
  • new Train Travels up towards Apesford
  • Seating and return journey on our Santa Express Train
  • Meet Father Christmas as he wanders through the train talking to all the good boys and girls
  • A wonderful age-suitable present for all children
  • new Cookie and Hot Chocolate for all passengers


  • There are toilets on the trains but there no Baby changing facilities
  • Buggies & Pushchairs must be folded down and stored in the Station Waiting room of the boarding station due to limited space on the train
  • Please call our office on 01538 360 522 if your party includes a wheelchair user and we will make appropriate arrangements

How to find us

Froghall is located on the A52 (Stoke on Trent – Ashbourne road, enter "ST10 2HA" into your SatNav).

If coming from Ashbourne approach Kingsley village; immediately after crossing the bridge over the railway turn left into the station area and drive into the car park area. If this is full there is an overflow car park located on the left hand side immediately before the bridge over the railway (this is normally clearly sign-posted when in use).

If coming from Stoke-on-Trent follow the A52 to Kingsley and drive through the village onto a steep hill dropping towards the railway. Immediately before the bridge over the railway turn right into the station area. If this full there is an overflow car park located on the right hand side immediately after the bridge over the railway (this is normally clearly sign-posted when in use).

Things to do within the area

The Churnet Valley Railway lies within the Staffordshire Moorlands, with handy access from Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and Uttoxeter. If you are visiting one of these places for your seasonal shopping, why not make time to include a visit to the railway and experience our hugely popular Santa & Steam specials? Take some time out and relax on the Santa Express, switching off for a magical journey that will fascinate all.


Q: What do we do if we don't like the present?

A: If you find you do not like the present please let one of the elves know on the train and we will work to provide you with a new gift at our discretion.

Q: What's new this year?

A: With the journey now taking 20 minutes longer and taking you a further 4 miles you will enjoy more time than ever before aboard the train. We now have a unique story aboard the Christmas train as it travels the Staffordshire Moorlands. This sees the elves get a little confused and forget to invite Santa! While racing to the North Pole the elves shall delight with the jokes, tricks and peculiar personalities. Once at our very own North Pole the Winter Express shall charge for Ipstones while Santa visits all the boys and girls in true Churnet Christmas.

Q: Is the Compartment £30 each?

A: All compartments require you to purchase individual tickets, and then pay a single supplement of £30 for your group. Compartments can be booked for a minimum of 6 and maximum of 8, though if you have a baby in your group who can sit on a lap then this can be increased.

Q: How Far Away Are You?


  • We are approximately 30-minutes from Stoke-on-Trent
  • We are approximately 30-minutes from Stafford
  • We are approximately 30-minutes from Uttoxeter
  • We are approximately 40-minutes from Congleton
  • We are approximately 50-minutes from Macclesfield
  • We are approximately 55-minutes from Burton-Upon-Trent

Q: Does Everyone See Father Christmas?

A: Santa Claus will meet everyone at their respective seat, and spend time talking with each group whilst sharing presents for each child.

Q: Do We Need To Buy A Ticket For A Baby?

A: We charge tickets for all children who receive a gift, no matter their age.

Q: Are All Trains A Steam Train?

A: All our services will be hauled by a steam locomotive, with two available for service each day. A diesel is included in the consist as back up, should a disruption occur during the day.

Q: Is There Heating On The Train?

A: All our trains are steam heated by our steam locomotive, keeping everyone on board warm no matter the weather outside.

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