Santa made an early visit to children in Liverpool this week thanks to Northern.

Despite this being the busiest time of year for Father Christmas, he set aside some time to see children from Alder Hey as they travelled on a special ‘Polar Express’ style train to Manchester Victoria.

And he didn’t turn up empty handed as Radio City’s Cash for Kids charity supplied early Christmas presents for the children.

Paula Burton, of Northern, said: “We really wanted to do something exciting for the children at Alder Hey who have been through so much.

“Christmas has always been a time for giving and the Northern Polar Express – with carriages full of festive decorations - was just one way in which we could make this year extra special from some very important passengers.”

The journey saw the children travel from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Victoria and they will have a star studded send off as Everton FC players and stars from Coronation Street were on the platform to give them a festive farewell.

They also had musical accompaniment in the form of Christmas carols sung by a choir of schoolchildren from St Bridget’s Catholic Primary School in Warrington.

Ceri Dobson, headteacher at St Bridget’s, said: “The pupils were honoured when asked to carol sing for the children from Alder Hey Hospital.

“As part of our Advent promises, we have been thinking about how we can help others as we get ready for Christmas, instead of just thinking about ourselves and what we would like on our Christmas lists.

“We had a great time spreading a little Christmas cheer to those less fortunate than ourselves.”

And once the journey got underway the children had a celebrity conductor too, with Radio City’s own Pete Price taking charge of proceedings – as well as live broadcasting from the train.

Carole Clare, of Radio City’s Cash for Kids, said: “It was fabulous to be involved in such a special and magical event I am sure all the children had a fantastic time.

"For us it what makes Mission Christmas so special is to be able to provide the gifts for the children and bring a smile to their faces - that's what it is all about.”