Iowsr wizard week

Skeleton Crews to man Halloween spookysteam specials as preserved railways run scary steam specials

Published: 28th October 2015

Walk the Harry Potter footbridge in Hampshire as Wizard Specials take to the rails and Owls soar

Extreme steam services to entertain you around the UK this Halloween season

In recent years, many of the UK’s preserved railways have latched on to a new money-making event prompted by the Harry Potter films. These are well known for their steam train, owl and wizards so this theme is now widespread across the preserved railway movement.

Ghosts in the Alps

One of the biggest takes place on October 30th & 31st at the Watercress Line running between Alton and Alresford in Hampshire. The Watercress Line will be transformed to a magical and mischief-making 20 mile round trip railway on Halloween. The railway is known as the Alps because of the steep gradients on the line which includes the highest station in Southern England at Medstead and Four Marks.

The Wizard Express steam train will be running under the very footbridge used by Harry Potter and passengers can also use the bridge to cross the line. The famous bridge is based on the line having been moved from Kings Cross a few years ago when that station was modernised. It was on this bridge that Harry Potter received his Hogwarts Express ticket in the film.

The railway is requesting visitors to come dressed as a witch, wizard or Halloween spook but to watch out for magical goings on. As with Harry Potter, Owls will be flying by on display with the chance to meet one. Other more scary ‘things’ will be around the railway and a haunting magic show will be taking place. Other entertainment is the making and then fly on a witches broomstick and face painting activities.

How to get there

Travel to the railway via Southwest Trains to Alton which is shared with steam services or if driving to the event, use the car park at Alton station or the one at Alresford station

Ghosts in the hills

The noise of ghost trains will be echoing around the haunting Chiltern Hills when steam services crewed by a bunch of spooks and ghouls running from Chinnor station. On Sunday November 1st, these ghostly specials will be operating on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway from Chinnor station where there is a large car park.

Younger passengers may wish to travel in Halloween fancy dress and be rewarded with a small treat bag and a frightfully good time is on the cards. Please book ASAP to avoid disappointment. Its best to book in advance as seating is limited.

Ghosts by the sea

The Solent is well known for sunken ships and spooks. But hidden away in in ancient woodland at Havenstreet is the HQ of the award winning Isle of Wight Steam Railway (IOWSR) This major tourist attraction has arranged magic shows, a relaxing steam train ride and visitors are invited to sample a Woodland Walk.

The railway promises a bunch of ‘friendly witches of Havenstreet’ will be in attendance who may need assistance in weaving spells and making potions. There is also a resident Owl and Falconry at Havenstreet so all the ingredients are there for a great Halloween experience on the Isle of Wight.

The IOWSR invites guests to dress-up as wizards, witches and other spooky characters with a daily prize on offer for the best costumes. There is also a Halloween Treasure Hunt, Halloween crafts, a shop and crucially plenty of FREE parking and refreshments available. Otherwise travel on the UK’s oldest trains (made in 1938!) in regular daily service to Smallbrook Junction served by Island Liner trains running between Ryde and Shanklin.

Steamy, spooky and scary, but after all it’s Halloween and fun for all the family.

Trains generally start running on preserved railways from 1030am and carry on until after dark for the Halloween.

Ghost Trains through the river mist.

The Severn Valley Railway is operating evening 'Ghost Trains' alongside the River Severn which often brings a mist Trains run out into the countryside from Kidderminster at 6.00pm, 7.10pm & Arley and return but advance booking is essential as many services have already sold out. Trains run on October 29th, 30th and 31st.

Whitby Abbey Ghost services

And don’t forget the North Yorkshire Moors Railway running between Pickering and Grosmont, just a few miles from Whitby with its haunted Dracula Abbey.

The railway is running three fangtastic Halloween Story Trains on Friday 30th & Saturday 31st October from Pickering Station with real characters travelling bringing these Story Trains to life. On arrival at Grosmont, family entertainment is on offer before returning to Pickering. Prizes will be awarded to the Family adorned in the best Fancy Dress. Each Halloween Story Train lasts around four hours from departure time at 11am and 1pm and thebtrain ride is an hour in each direction through the spectacular North Yorkshire Moors.

Be warned though, that a seasonal Halloween chill may descend on the train as the carriages may not be heated so passengers are advised to dress accordingly.

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