All aboard the Santa Express! Train gets charity makeover

The Grinch hops aboard the Santa Express!

Father Christmas swapped his sleigh for a train today as staff and passengers raised money for charity.

On board the Santa Express, St Nick, elves and the grinch were spreading festive cheer, handing out presents to everyone.

Money from the train tickets sold, which departed from Maidstone East, will go to a charity helping homeless young people called The Railway Children.

Santa said: "The Railway Children is a well established charity that looks after children on the streets. No one is getting paid for this, it's people giving up their time, having a nice time doing something good."

Children and their families join the festive train ride

Matthew Fraser, Community Relations Manager at Southeastern, said: “Santa’s reindeer have a very busy night coming up so we thought it was important for them put their hooves up and let the train take the strain.

“As well as being fun, the Santa Express will raise vital funds for Railway Children, one of Southeastern’s chosen charities that works to support young people who find themselves on the streets. The charity has helped more than 275,000 children in the UK, India and East Africa and we’re very pleased to be able to play a small part in that.”

The Santa Express left Maidstone West just before midday, travelling along the scenic Medway Valley Line to Strood, before doubling back along the line to Paddock Wood and Maidstone West.