A NEW colourful and ‘coronavirus safe’ festive train is set to bring a touch of magic to Swanage this Christmas.

In a first for Swanage Railway, Steam and Lights will run on 10 selected days with two evening trains a day in the build-up to Christmas.

The Steam and Lights trains will operate on the first two weekends of December and then daily from Friday, December 18 to Wednesday, 23 December, with departures from Swanage station at 5.15pm and 7.15pm.

Swanage and Wareham Voice:

Picture: North Norfolk Railway 

The attraction replaces the popular Santa Specials which are unable to operate due to the coronavirus restrictions.

The trains, which are adorned with brightly coloured lights, will steam through the Isle of Purbeck passing special lighting displays at stations that line that five-and-a-half-mile heritage line as it makes its way from Swanage to Corfe and Norden during the one-hour return trip.

Visitors must pre-book for the service which has assigned socially distanced seats.

The steam-heated carriages will be festively decorated which will see on-board music synchronised to lineside lighting displays passing the carriage windows.

Swanage and Wareham Voice:

Picture: North Norfolk Railway 

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

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.

Swanage and Wareham Voice:

Picture: North Norfolk Railway 

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.”

Swanage and Wareham Voice:

Picture: North Norfolk Railway 

Steve added: “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.”

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 and do not occupy a seat. There is a maximum of six people per booking. To book, visit swanagerailway.co.uk/events/detail/steam-lights.