The team behind the Santa Special trains, brought extra festive cheer to less fortunate families as they enjoyed a special steam train ride, whilst meeting Santa Claus!

Whitehead Railway Museum and The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) teamed up with the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul (SVP) on Saturday 1st December to take around 100 parents and children on a magical journey, stretching from the city centre, along the scenic coastline to Whitehead town and a trip to Whitehead Railway Museum.

Children met Santa and his elves on the steam train and received a specially-chosen Christmas gift. Passengers travelled in style in one of the society’s enchanting steam locomotives, No. 85 Merlin, built in 1932. A Salvation Army band played atmospheric Christmas music, giving passengers a Christmas send-off.

Siobhan Dillon, Whitehead Railway Museum’s General Manager said, “The Santa Special is a wonderful experience for children and families alike. We are grateful to all those involved from the RPSI and respective charities who made this trip a memorable and magical day out.”

Kirsten Hewitt, the Salvation Army’s regional homelessness manager, said: “Christmas is ultimately about love. To bring children and families together is special and we are so grateful to everyone involved, we simply could not do the work we do without the generous support of others.”