Santa's Grotto was an important part of the SVR's Santa Special services until 2018, and was located at Arley station. The grotto was constructed every year starting in late October, and dismantled early in the New Year.
The grotto consisted of a short train parked in Siding 1 of Arley goods yard, made up typically of ex-postal vehicles 80328, 80329 and 81013, together with Siphon G Milk Vans 1257 and 2926 for storage purposes. The fence that normally forms the rear edge of Arley's main platform was partly dismantled to enable visitors to exit the train onto the platform. A large marquee was erected on the other side of the grotto train, filling most of the space in the goods yard between the two sidings, to provide cover for visitors queueing to enter the grotto.
From 2019 Christmas services were revised to become an 'at seat' operation, without a grotto.
- SVR News 200