East Lancashire Railway Santa Special

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Family including children under 16

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The line runs from Heywood to Rawtenstall with the special running bewteen Bury and Rawtenstall. At around £50 for 3 of us it was fairly priced, car parking was £1 and to the side of the station in Bury, this was limited but we got in, the access road is steep up to the front of the station but staff were on hand to assist if needed. On arrival at the foyer, we went through the station, all lit with fairy lights which set the scene, then down onto the platform which had assorted Elves, Pixies and Fairies out and about. There is a lift down onto the platform too for those who cannot manage the steps. After refreshments in the platform cafe we headed out tor the train, steam hauled with a diesel at the other end to provide heating in the coaches. The coaches were not decorated but the atmosphere was good. Leaving Bury, the first tunnel was again lit with fairy lights, we then sat back and enjoyed the journey. The East Lancs Railway goes through mainly industrial landscapes, so whilst it's not as photogenic as other railways, it is different. Carol sheets were provided on the tables and the pixies promptly delivered small bottles of sherry and mince pies for the adults, drinks for the children. Santa then arrived, accompanied by a toy soldier, fairies and pixies, this was excellent and very interactive and the gifts were not bad too. This was followed by a small brass band and Christmas carols shortly afterwards which was fun. The trip lasted a hour or so and was busy so make sure you book! The attendant stated they had 30,000 people booked over the 5 Santa special weekends. At the end we headed over to the Transport Museum opposite which was also included in the price. The downside? these were minimal, the toilets on the platform need redoing and the presents were not wrapped, delivered in a plastic bag for expediency no doubt. Having been on the Worth valley and Embsay railways for the special, it was the better one. There appear to be some good themed nights over the year so no doubt we will be back some time soon, a night out and 4 course meal for £44 each seems reasonable.

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