Swanage Railway announces Steam and Lights Christmas schedule

Photo: Andrew PM Wright

Swanage Railway has announced the return of the evocative Steam and Lights Christmas trains after last year’s success.

Two evening trains will run on 17 selected days over the Christmas period, replacing the traditional Santa Specials which cannot operate because of COVID-19 measures.

The event will run on selected days between November 27 and December 31 and will see trains covered in bright lights steaming through the Isle of Purbeck.

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There will also be refreshed lighting displays at stations, as well as at other locations along the five and a half mile heritage line, as the steam train runs from Swanage to Corfe Castle and Norden on the festive one-hour return trip. 

The interiors of the cosy steam-heated carriages will also be festively decorated for the one-hour round trip which will see on-board music synchronised to lineside lighting displays passing the carriage windows. 

Before passengers board the Steam and Lights train at Swanage station for their journey, there will be a dramatic switch-on of the train lights at the platform. 

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Swanage station will only be open to Steam and Lights train passengers while Herston Halt, Harman’s Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden stations will be closed to the public.  

The Swanage Railway’s volunteer passenger services director Trevor Parsons said: “We are very excited to be running a second year of festive ‘Steam and Lights’ trains in the run-up to Christmas because the service is very special and out of this world – colourful, evocative and dramatic. We are looking forward to it tremendously. 

“Last year’s festive Steam and Lights train services, in the run up to Christmas, were a sold out success with extra trains having to be operated to cope with public demand. 

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“The need to keep our passengers and staff safe against the threat of COVID-19 means that we are asking our passengers to wear face coverings when on the station platform and on the festive trains. 

“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.”

The special service will operate on the last weekend of December, on the first two weekends of December and then daily between Saturday, 18 December and Thursday, 23 December, 2021, inclusive, as well as daily between Monday, 27 December and Friday, 31 December, 2021, inclusive. 

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Passengers must book in advance and can only be joined at Swanage station where the brightly lit festive trains start and end their journeys. 

Swanage station shop will be open when the Steam and Lights trains are running – as well as a kiosk at Swanage station serving hot drinks and light snacks – subject to volunteer availability,  

For more information, including ticket prices and refreshments, visit the Swanage Railway website here.

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Sam Hewitt

Let off some steam...