The Swanage Railway has announced that it will run a series of new Coronavirus-safe ‘Steam and Lights’ festive trains during the run up to Christmas.
Operating on ten days, with two evening trains, the new service will replace the Swanage Railway’s Santa Specials, which cannot operate due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead of Father Christmas handing out presents to children, the new service will see trains covered in coloured lights as they steam through the Isle of Purbeck in the dark.
There will also be special displays at stations, as well as other locations along the 5-mile heritage railway. Trains will run from Swanage to Corfe Castle and Norden for a one hour return trip.
Before passengers board the train at Swanage, there will be a dramatic switch on of the lights on the platform.
Swanage station will only be open to Steam and Lights passengers, whilst Herston Halt, Harman’s Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden will be closed to the public.
The Swanage Railway volunteer Commercial Director Steve Williams said: “This new ‘Steam and Lights’ train service in the run-up to Christmas is a festive first for the Swanage Railway and we are very excited because it will be very special and out of this world – colourful, evocative and dramatic. We are looking forward to it tremendously.
“The need to keep our passengers and staff safe against the threat of Covid-19 – by following social distancing and the wearing of face coverings – means that we cannot run our traditional, and very popular, Santa Special trains where Father Christmas gives presents to children on the train and has his photograph taken.
“With the help of an experienced and reputable company specialising in synchronised lighting and music, we have been working very hard to design a special festive train service that will make wonderful and magical memories for children and adults in the run-up to Christmas,” added Steve.
Steam and Lights trains will operate on the first two weekends of December and then daily from Friday, 18 to Wednesday, 23 December 2020, with departures from Swanage station at 5.15 pm and 7.15 pm.
Steve explained: “At the time of booking, passengers can purchase a special festive picnic box filled with tasty treats and drinks to make their ‘Steam and Lights’ journey extra special.
“A memorable experience suitable for all ages, stations and key points along the line will be specially lit as the ‘Steam and Lights’ train passes through in the dark. On board the train, there will be festive music synchronised to the lighting displays passing the carriage windows as well as an informative on-train commentary.
“With allocated socially distanced seating, the ‘Steam and Lights’ trains must be booked in advance and can only be joined at Swanage station where the brightly lit festive trains start and end their journeys.
“To comply with Government health regulations, no bookings can be taken for groups comprising more than six people and face coverings should be worn on the platform at Swanage station as well as on the ‘Steam and Lights’ train,” added Steve.
Swanage station shop will be open when Steam and Lights are running, subject to volunteer availability.
Tickets for the ‘Steam and Lights’ trains are £20 each for passengers aged 15 and above, £15 for children aged three to 15 and free for children aged under three if they sit on an adult lap.
A maximum of six people can be booked on one booking.
To book your tickets, please click here to visit the Swanage Railway website.
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