The popular Santa Special switched tracks to Lidlington on the Marston Vale Line between Bedford and Bletchley just before Christmas.
Lidlington Church Hall was transformed into a winter wonderland for the occasion, with Santa and his elves hard at work taking Christmas requests from all the children.
A special Christmas gift was given to each child visiting the Grotto.
Families were kept entertained whilst waiting to see Santa by a face painter, balloon modeler, model railway layouts and live music from special guests Chasing Deer.
A variety of refreshments were on sale, including the renowned Bedfordshire Clanger, courtesy of Gunn’s Bakery.
The ‘Santa’s Special’ Grotto is arranged annually by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership in association with the Bedford – St Albans City Community Rail Partnership.
A team of 23 volunteers were on hand at intervals during the day to distribute event information on the trains, meet passengers arriving at Lidlington station, welcome visitors to the Grotto, issue event packs, run the model railways and serve refreshments.
In addition to those from the local community, volunteers travelled from as far afield as Brackley and Birmingham to join the team.
A collection taken on behalf of the Motor Neurome Disease Association resulted in such a heavy bucket that the elves struggled to carry it.
The event attracted over 150 visitors, many of whom came by train.
Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership Officer, said, “I am delighted we were able to run a special Christmas event; it was great to welcome Lidlington residents and rail passengers alike to ‘Santa’s Special’ Grotto.
“There was a truly festive atmosphere and it was certainly a day to remember. My thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make it happen.”
Vicky Cropper, head of stakeholder & community for London Northwestern Railway said, “My praises go out to the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership and their hard-working volunteers for putting on an excellent event which captured the true spirit of Christmas and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
“It was wonderful to see the familiar faces of the families who have made the Partnership’s Christmas event an annual tradition.”