- Andrew P.M. Wright
Steam and Lights trains to bring festive cheer to young and old thanks to dedicated volunteers
Ten days of evocative Christmas Steam and Lights trains – featuring refreshed lineside and station lighting displays – will be bringing festive cheer to passengers young and old during December thanks to the work of dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers.
Also operating during the festive period are Christmas luncheon steam trains and the Swanage Railway’s popular Christmas Belle using its luxurious 1940s Pullman observation carriage featuring large glass windows on three sides.
Operating on ten selected days, with two evening trains a day from Swanage at 5.15pm and 7.15pm, the pre-booked Steam and Lights trains start and end at Swanage station and do not feature Father Christmas.
Steam and Lights trains run on selected days between Saturday, 3 December, and Friday, 23 December, 2022, inclusive – with the steam locomotive and carriages covered in brightly coloured lights as they run through the Isle of Purbeck in the dark of the evening.
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 one-hour return trip.
The interiors of the cosy steam-heated carriages will also be festively decorated for the 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 magical journey, there will be a dramatic 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. Robert Patterson - the volunteer chairman of the Swanage Railway Company which runs the trains for the Swanage Railway Trust – said: “We are very excited to be running the third year of our popular festive ‘Steam and Lights’ trains in the run-up to Christmas.
“The service is very special and out of this world – it’s colourful, evocative and dramatic.
“Last year’s ‘Steam and Lights’ train services were very popular and we are looking forward to this year’s festive and colourful trains tremendously because they have a lovely atmosphere all of their own.
“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.
“It takes a lot of detailed planning and commitment to organise and run our popular steam and lights trains. I would like to thank the many dedicated volunteers whose work enables those trains to happen – bringing festive cheer to both children and adults alike at this special time of year,” added Robert who is also a volunteer station porter on the Swanage Railway.
The special Steam and Lights trains operate on the first three weekends of December as well as on 21, 22 and 23 December, 2022.
Seats on 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.
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,
The Steam and Lights trains are not open to pets because of the flashing lights and music.
The Swanage Railway welcomes new volunteers and anyone interested in finding out more should contact the Swanage Railway volunteer recruitment and retention office on 01929 408466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To book on the Swanage Railway’s steam and lights trains – as well as the heritage line’s festive Christmas lunch and Christmas Belle Pullman observation carriage services – visit swanagerailway.co.uk/events/christmas.
Story and photograph by Andrew P.M. Wright, Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer.