Santa Specials on the Swanage Railway

Swanage Railway

Swanage Railway by Andrew P.M. Wright

Dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers start running their festive fund-raising ‘Santa Special’ steam trains – on the award-winning relaid Purbeck Line to Corfe Castle and Norden ‘park and ride’ – this Saturday, 4 December 2010.

By the end of Christmas Eve, the 36 Yuletide trains will have run a total of 432 miles – the equivalent distance from the Isle of Purbeck to the city of Bordeaux in south west France.

Enjoyed by excited children and adults alike, profits from the festive steam trains go towards extending and developing the six mile relaid Purbeck Line from Norden ‘park and ride’ to Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross, Herston and Swanage which has been rebuilt from nothing since 1976.

Starting from Swanage station – and offering an evocative journey through the beautiful Purbeck countryside with Father Christmas – the ‘Santa Special’ steam trains run on Saturdays and Sundays until 19 December, 2010, inclusive and also on 22, 23 and 24 December, 2010.

Swanage Railway volunteers are also operating their popular ‘Wessex Belle’ steam-hauled Christmas lunch trains on Saturdays and Sundays until 19 December, 2010, inclusive, and also on 22 December, 2010 – each of the festive lunch trains making two return trips between Swanage, Corfe Castle and Norden.

Swanage Railway commercial manager Martin Payne said: “For many children and adults, meeting Santa on the steam train has become an important part of Christmas while our festive dining services are ideal for groups such as workplace Christmas lunches.”

There are four ‘Santa Special’ steam trains on each operating day – departing a festively decorated Swanage station at 10.30am, 12 noon, 1.30pm and 3pm for the one-hour round trip during which children receive their wrapped present from Father Christmas accompanied by elves and his other helpers.

‘Santa Special’ passengers can leave their vehicles in the no hassle attended car park next to Norden station, off the main A351 road from Wareham north of Corfe Castle.

Swanage Railway commercial manager Marin Payne said: “’Santa Special’ passengers can leave their vehicles at the attended Norden ‘park and ride’ car park and take a special heritage diesel rail bus down to Swanage from where the exciting and magical journey behind steam with Father Christmas begins.

“There is always a lovely and very unique atmosphere on the ‘Santa Specials’ where the excitement, novelty and atmosphere of travelling on a steam train through the beautiful Purbeck countryside is matched with the never to be forgotten experience of meeting Father Christmas himself during the journey.

“Our volunteers love working on the Santa Specials because it is so rewarding to see the children’s faces light up as they see a real steam train, often for the first time, before meeting Father Christmas and receiving their present.

“Once on board the festively decorated train, the children get to meet Father Christmas, receive their present and chat to him while the steam train travels from Swanage to Norden ‘park and ride’ and back.

“The excitement of seeing the ruins of Corfe Castle pass by the train window only gives added excitement as the children open their presents from Father Christmas and the adults tuck into mince pies and a festive drink. It really is lovely,” added Mr Payne.

‘Santa Special’ service details are available from the Swanage Railway on 01929 475207 – or by visiting ‘www‘.

More details about Swanage Railway services and special events are available from www – where any weather condition service changes will be posted – or by calling 01929 425800.