SANTA has added an extra date to his diary at the Severn Valley Railway, after heavy snow forced the attraction to cancel the much-loved Santa Steam Special services last Sunday (December 10).

The Railway has organised an extra day of its Santa Herald services on Monday (December 18), after dedicated volunteers rallied round to organise timetables and logistics, with many planning to travel from across the country to make the service possible.

Seats on the service, which offer visitors the chance to enjoy a magical steam train ride with Father Christmas on board, are now on sale and have also been offered as one of a range of options open to those who had booked on Sunday's services. Trains run at 12.30pm, 3.15pm and 6pm.

Passengers can join their steam train at Kidderminster station, for a festive journey to Highley, during which Santa will visit every child on the train, handing out gifts and posing for festive selfies. 

Sunday's cancellations to the popular Santa Steam Specials were announced with deep regret by SVR, after volunteers worked around the clock to try and enable the services to go ahead. Some even slept overnight at stations on Saturday and got up early on Sunday morning to try and clear the track and platforms, which lay under the heaviest snowfall the Midlands has seen in years, with snow still falling.

However, following a power failure at Arley and despite the volunteers' best efforts, it was decided that it was unsafe to continue with the services, and the cancellation announcement was made.

Staff and volunteers have since been working to contact the thousands of passengers who booked their space from the services' 4,000 seats, and offer them alternative options, including seats on the new Santa Herald service and the chance to meet Father Christmas at Kidderminster and enjoy a Freedom of the Line travel ticket for 2018.

Clare Gibbard, marketing and communications manager, said: "Cancelling Sunday’s Santa Steam Specials was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do – as we know how much families look forward to the experience, with many coming along year after year.

"However, with no power, inches of snow and worsening weather, it would simply have been unsafe for everyone to continue.

"I cannot praise our volunteers enough for all their efforts, from working tirelessly to try to clear the line in time for Sunday, to rallying round in the aftermath to organise a magical alternative for our passengers.

"I would also like to say a huge thank you to the passengers affected by the cancellations – thank you for bearing with us and being so patient.  We have had such lovely messages of support and understanding, which really has helped with this enormous task.

"We hope that our extra Santa Herald services will offer people the opportunity to still come and enjoy a wonderful, festive experience on the Railway."

For tickets for the additional service or for more information, visit or call 01562 757900. Spaces for the service are limited, so early booking is advised.