Swanage Railway Santa Specials

Swanage Railway Santa Specials

Swanage Railway Santa Specials


Dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers have started running the first of 36 fund-raising ‘Santa Special’ steam trains in the run-up to Christmas Day – with the popular services running a total distance of 430 miles through the beautiful Purbeck countryside.

With Father Christmas and his helpers on board, the ‘Santa Specials’ will be spreading festive cheer – for children and adults alike – every weekend in the run-up to Christmas Day and daily on 22, 23 and 24 December, 2012.

With trains departing Swanage at 10.30am, 12.05pm, 1.45pm and 3.15pm for the one-hour round trip, seats are still available for the second weekend of December but the ‘Santa Special’ trains running on 22, 23 and 24 December, 2012, are already fully booked.

Passengers can leave their vehicles in the attended Purbeck District Council car park next to Norden station, located off the main A351 road from Wareham, and board a heritage diesel train for the six mile 25 minute journey to Swanage and a guaranteed connection with their ‘Santa Special’.

Last year, more than 7,900 people travelled on the ‘Santa Special’ steam trains run by volunteers and assisted by a small team of paid staff – more than the combined populations of Wareham town and the village of Corfe Castle.

This year’s 36 festive trains spreading pre-Christmas cheer will be steaming a total distance of 430 miles which is the equivalent distance from the Isle of Purbeck to the Atlantic port city of Bordeaux in southern France.

Youngsters will receive a wrapped present relevant to their age from Father Christmas while passengers will receive festive refreshments on board the ‘Santa Specials’ – a glass of sherry and a mince pie for adults as well as a biscuit and soft drink for children.

Swanage Railway volunteers are also running extra ‘Wessex Belle’ Christmas Lunch trains during December with seats available for most weekends – the special dining trains departing Swanage for two rounds trips at 12.40pm.

Proceeds from the ‘Santa Special’ trains go towards the extension and development of the award-winning Swanage Railway which has been rebuilt from nothing since 1976 and last year carried more than 200,000 passengers.

Swanage Railway passenger services manager Martin Trott said: “We’ve been running our popular ‘Santa Special’ steam trains for more than 25 years and their magical on board atmosphere is the perfect way to enjoy the build up to Christmas Day. They are equally popular with children and adults alike.

“Passenger surveys carried out on last year’s 36 ‘Santa Special’ trains revealed a satisfaction rating of 94 per cent and a 97 per cent rating for the friendliness for the team of dedicated volunteers that makes the very special trains happen,” he explained.

‘Santa Special’ adult or child tickets are £14.50 and £13 for the first weekend of operation – Saturday and Sunday, 1 and 2 December, 2012. Group tickets covering any combination of four people are £53 and £47 for the first weekend of operation – Saturday and Sunday, 1 and 2 December, 2012.

Children under the age of two travel free if not occupying a seat but still receive an age relevant present from Father Christmas.

Tickets for the Norden Park & Ride to Swanage heritage diesel trains connecting with the ‘Santa Special’ steam trains are £3 for adults with children free. Child fares apply to youngsters aged from two to 15 years and all ticket prices include a booking fee.

Booking for the Swanage Railway’s ‘Santa Special’ and Christmas Lunch steam trains is simple – visit www.swanagerailway.co.uk, call 01929 475207 or visit Swanage station on operating days.