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Manchester’s famous Santa steam trains are back and ‘local heroes’ can ride them for FREE

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 7th December 2022

East Lancashire Railway (ELR) is inviting five local heroes to catch a ride on one of its famous Santa Special steam trains this Christmas.

And all you have to do is nominate someone you think deserves it.

As the heritage railway is keen to celebrate those who have made a difference within the local Greater Manchester community, or those who have impacted peoples’ lives for the better, five ‘local heroes’ are going to get the chance to take a ride on one of the famous Santa Specials steam trains for free of charge this December.

The much-loved festive event has not only become an essential part of Christmas for many in the north west, but this year, it’s bigger and better than ever before.

The five local heroes will get to bring their families along with them for a truly special Christmas day out as they make their way through a winter wonderland at Bury Bolton Street Station.


They’ll first get to meet some old favourites and new characters, including the magical talking Christmas tree, Mrs Claus, and ELR’s very own Ice Princess, all before before having a singalong with a chorus of musical polar bears. 

The festive fun will then continue on the Santa Special steam trains on an 80-minute “enchanting voyage” through the magical Irwell Valley.

You can nominate a ‘local hero’ to ride them for free / Credit: Darren Robinson (via ELR)

Santa himself will be on board handing out gifts, while a festive brass band plays traditional Christmas tunes for a singalong, and adults tuck into a mince pie and a festive tipple or two.

Kids can feast on chocolate, juice, and get stuck into a brand-new ELR festive activity pack.

“It’s more important than ever to celebrate our local heroes who give back to the community and make a positive impact on people’s lives and we are thrilled to be able to give back to these people,” explained Mike Kelly – Chairman at ELR.


“The Santa Specials have become a staple in many families’ Christmas celebrations.

“If there’s someone in your life or your local community that has made a positive impact over the past year, whether it’s through the work that they do, the time they volunteer or any acts of kindness you think a light should be shone on then head over to our website and tell us why you think they deserve a magical day out with their families at the railway this Christmas.”

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Keen to nominate a ‘local hero’ for this special Christmas experience? Make sure you can your entries in before they close on Monday 12 December.

You can enter on the ELR website here.

Featured Image – Darren Robinson (via ELR)