Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

A family day out with a difference

Our Santa Train Experience runs on the following dates:
November 25th & 26th
December 2nd & 3rd and 9th &10th
Note: The Santa Train Experience is a ticket-only event.
No walk-ins. Admission will not be granted without a valid ticket.
The Stradbally Woodland Railway is open to the public for its main running season every bank holiday Sunday and Monday as well as selected other weekend dates between March and the end of August in 2023
Ticket information for ordinary open days listed below
Operating hours on running days are 11am-4pm with diesel trains, pulled by our ever-reliable Ruston diesel, Rusty, for the first hour and steam trains with our steam loco, Róisín, for the rest of the day. The line runs for 1km through a beautiful woodland on a loop line. The leisurely journey takes about 10 minutes and takes to you back in time for a taste of the glory days of steam power. Get a snack or drink, including tea and coffee, from our tuc shop, relax at our seating area next to the tracks and watch the trains come and go. Ideal for a family picnic on a summer’s day! Our train is wheelchair accessible. Card and cash accepted. Private bookings available, inquire via the email listed below.
Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Santa Train Experience

Our massively popular Santa Train Experience is back for 2023!
Join us and set off on an exciting adventure through the magical setting of Stradbally Woodlands. Get to meet Santa and Mrs Claus and their band of merry elves. Check out our Steamin’ Brews Coffee Hut and enjoy a hot chocolate while you take a wander through the stalls of our Christmas Market.

This year our steam train Róisín will have the very important job of hosting Santa, Mrs Claus, lots of busy elves and lots of lucky families, as they journey through the magical setting of Stradbally Woodlands!

Running on November 25th & 26th and December 2nd & 3rd and 9th & 10th, tickets are selling fast! 

Each train rides includes a story read by Mrs Clause while the train is moving, the chance to meet and get a photo with Santa afterwards and a free present for all the children!

2023 Open Days

The Railway opens on bank holiday Sundays and Mondays and selected other weekend dates between March and the end of August. We open at 11am and close at 4pm.


Sunday 19th – Mother’s Day


Sunday 2nd
Sunday 9th & Monday 10th – Easter
Sunday 30th – bank holiday


Monday 1st – bank holiday

Sunday 21st


Sunday 4th & Monday 5th – bank holiday
Sunday 25th


Sunday 9th
Sunday 23rd


Sunday 6th & Monday 7th – part of the National Steam Rally – see here for more info

Sunday 20th


                                                                                                      Sunday 15th

See our social media pages on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the most up to date information on running days


Tickets for our regular running days are sold on the day of your visit from the ticket office before boarding the train. We accept cash and card payments. Tickets are valid for unlimited trips on the train during operating hours. In other words, pay once and travel all day! 
Tickets for our Santa Train Experience must be booked in advance. No walk-ins will be accepted for the Santa Train running days.


Family of four: €20
Adults: €8
Children: €4

Steamin’ Brews shop

A shop selling hot and cold drinks, snacks, merchandise and second-hand books and magazines will be open on running days, subject to volunteer availability. We have a seating area next to the platform, ideal for a picnic.


Twitter: @StradballyRail
Instagram: @irish.steam

From front to back: Ruston diesel engines Rusty and Warrior sit at the engine shed in Stradbally while Róisín prepares to take another passenger train during the 2022 National Steam Rally. Photograph: Kieran Marshall

The Stradbally Woodland Railway opened in 1969 as the first volunteer-run heritage railway on the island of Ireland

Situated in the grounds of the Stradbally Hall estate, the railway stemmed from an earlier idea which saw an original Guinness Brewery steam locomotive steamed while mounted on blocks for the August 1967 National Steam Rally. A short section of 1ft 10½in track was laid for the 1968 event and the engine pulled several small passenger carriages.
In 1969, the line was relaid to 3ft gauge following the arrival of our steam locomotive, the pride of the fleet, 1949-built Andrew Barclay 0-4-0WT No 2/LM44 RóisínRóisín spent her working life on the bog railways of counties Laois and Offaly for Bord na Móna alongside her sister steam engines, Nos 1 and 3. Róisín has called Stradbally her home for over 50 years and she’s been lovingly cared for by our small but dedicated Irish Steam Preservation Society volunteers since the day she arrived. 


The Railway’s aim is to preserve rare examples of Ireland’s industrial heritage, in particular local examples such as our steam and diesel locomotives, and to educate visitors on an often-overlooked part of Irish history. Our volunteers are always happy to answer any questions our visitors may have. 

Private group bookings for the railway are available and can be arranged once sufficient notice is given, preferably before the start of our running season. The cost of such bookings is dependent on how the group wishes to spend their time during the visit and its size. Inquiries should be sent to

Róisín and Rusty outside the shed at the end of another busy day.
Passengers relax at the picnic area near the platform by the shop.
The picnic area.
Photograph: Seán Cain
Photograph: Eoin Smyth
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