Published 19th November 2012
There are many Christmas markets to visit in early December and the larger ones are served by special steam trains. The major markets are at Bath, and Lincoln and both have special services running to them.
Friday December 7 sees two diesel charters going to the Lincoln Christmas market, the Orient Express from London and the ‘Deltic’ hauled service run by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society from Linlithgow, Edinburgh, Morpeth, Newcastle and Durham.
The Railway Touring Company (RTC) serves Lincoln and Bath markets with steam trains running on December 8 to both. The train to the Bath market runs from Three Bridges, Preston Park, Hove and Worthing using Streamlined Pacific No. 34067 Tangmere. The other train runs from Kings Cross, Potters Bar, Stevenage and Peterborough to Lincoln using another streamlined Pacific, No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley. Both trains will be decorated and have Santa’s helpers on board dispensing festive offerings to all!
UK Railtours is also serving the Lincoln Market on December 8 with a High Speed Train charter from St. Pancras, Luton Airport Parkway and Bedford.
This traditional Christmas Market offers cultural entertainment and an interesting stroll around over 250 stalls nestled within the medieval square and surrounding area. It is visited by tens of thousands of people so driving is not really a good option! Go by train.
Vintage Trains also serve the Lincoln Market with a steam train from Tyseley Warwick Rd, Coleshill Parkway, Nuneaton and Leicester on December 8. Vintage are also running a steam hauled Christmas lunch train on December 15 from Tyseley and Coleshill Parkway and on a circular route.
For London based steam fans, the Orient Express also runs a steam hauled lunch service on December 8 from Victoria.
The same company and Northern Belle are running many other Christmas lunch trains across England, Wales and Scotland in December so visit their websites or our listings on this website for full details.
Steam Dreams is offering a couple of White Cliffs steam trains using steam haulage on December 21 from Shalford, Woking, Clapham Junction and Maidstone East running along the English Channel via Dover. Two days later the White Cliffs theme is repeated but from, Rainham, Rochester, Bromley South, Clapham Junction, Redhill and Tonbridge.
York hosts some Christmas activities on December 22 and steam trains travel there from Tyseley, Coleshill Parkway, Tamworth and Derby (Vintage Trains) and by the RTC from London Victoria, St Albans, Bedford and Melton Mowbray but this train returns by diesel.
Diesel hauled Edinburgh Christmas shopping trains are being run by Railtourer from stations between St Neots, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Grantham, Retford and Doncaster on December 8. The same day also sees Statesman Rail offering a train from North Wales to Edinburgh calling at stations from Bangor via Llandudno Junction, Rhyl, Chester, Wigan and Preston.
Statesman offer a high quality Pullman service as well as a few standard class carriages. They are also serving Edinburgh on December 15 with a train from Hull, Selby, Leeds and over the Skipton, Hellifield and Appleby route via Carlisle to Scotland.
Several charter companies are running trains to Carol Services. UK Railtours run to Beverly Minster on December 22 from London, Stevenage and Peterborough. Salisbury and Canterbury Cathedrals are being served by Orient Express from London for their Carol services on December 11, 14 and 18respectively.
Many of these trains will be fully booked soon so if you are unable to use them, why not travel on scheduled services and buy your ticket in advance from www.redspottedhanky.com which will also plan your timetable for you. Bargains can be had!
The main line Christmas trains mean a whole day out and can be expensive but there are many other options to see Santa on a special train. The many preserved railways around the UK are operating Santa Specials, many of them with steam.
These range from the scenic Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway near Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales, The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway in the Chilterns and The Mid Hants Railway in the hills of Hampshire at Medstead and Four Marks, the highest station in southern England.
The Severn Valley Railway between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth along the scenic River Severn has a huge Santa operation as well.
Smaller railways such as the Northampton Ironstone Railway also offer Santa trains. All these railways can be reached by the main line railway system.
These railways will operate at weekends in December and some also on weekdays near Christmas. Check their websites for details and again, seats must be booked well in advance.
Vintage Trains is also offering a range of presents by mail order for rail enthusiasts, especially for all fans or followers of the Tyseley Locomotives.
These range from the 2013 Vintage Trains Calendar with a different high quality image of a Vintage Trains excursions for each month featuring 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, 4965 Rood Ashton Hall, dual Panniers 9600 & L94 and 6201 Princess Elizabeth on the Chelsea Rail Bridge starting the Queen's Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
The format is A3 "Portrait" (300mm × 420mm) with a top spiral wire binding. Each month includes the 2013 Public Holidays, along with Vintage Trains’ important dates; 2013 Open Days and the 2013 Shakespeare Express season. Cost per Calendar: ₤7.50 plus ₤2.50 p&p.
This comprehensive book traces the history of GWR Castles, the working life of 5043 with the GWR & BR, it's withdrawal and subsequent purchase as a source of spare, the comprehensive rebuild to prime condition and its subsequent outstanding mainline performance with Vintage Trains.
Written by the team of Bob Meanley, Michael Reyner and Mike Notley, their in depth association with the locomotive over a long period gives added authority to this volume. Softback book - 200mm x 270mm. Cost: ₤10.00 plus ₤2.50 p&p.
is the third volume of photographs showing Vintage Trains excursions in operation around the UK. The previous two compilations have been a complete sell out. This edition continues the theme with a stunning selection of high quality photographs of some of the spectacular tours which Vintage Trains has operated over the last 2 years. Each photograph is full page and carries informative captions. Softback book - 270mm x 200mm. Cost: ₤5.00 plus ₤2.00 p&p.
Posted on Wednesday 26th December 2012 | 7:14 PM
The Santa Trains sold out again at Rudyard despite doubling the number of operating days. The santa express story is at http://www.rlsr.org