Bluebell Railway offers “magical and memorable” festive season

© Casey Photography/Clare Clark.

Illuminated train and Santa Specials form part of heritage line’s winter services

Bluebell Railway is promising passengers a “magical and memorable” experience when it starts running steam-hauled train services again after the end of the second lockdown.

The heritage line will resume operations from Thursday 3 December and has extended its festive running season to the end of January to make up for cancelled services during the closed period.

The railway runs between Sheffield Park in East Sussex and East Grinstead in West Sussex. Both counties have been placed in Tier 2 (high alert) which allows businesses to continue to operate in a Covid-secure manner.

Bluebell Railway chairman Chris Hunford said: “We look forward to welcoming our passengers back to the railway and can promise them a magical and memorable ride. We have our new illuminated train and lineside displays called SteamLights as well as our ever-popular Santa Specials to provide some cheer and welcome delight for families.”

The not-for-profit railway based at Sheffield Park in East Sussex has been closed since 5 November as part of the national lockdown in England. The closure meant the railway had to cancel all services and postpone the formal start of its festive trains which had been due to begin in November. Winter services are now planned to run from 3 December until 31 January and include festive afternoon teas and gala luncheon trains as well as SteamLights and Santa Specials.

The Bluebell Railway will also reopen its East Grinstead station for the first time since March for the Santa Specials services to take passengers to the festivities at Horsted Keynes station.

When the Railway reopens, its shop at Sheffield Park will be open and operating in a Covid-safe way while continuing to trade online. The Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park will reopen offering table service and serving alcohol with a substantial meal in line with the Tier 2 regulations.

Full details of the railway’s services for December and January as well as ticket availability are at www.bluebell-railway.com