THERE is one more weekend to catch Santa on the Lapland Express at the Downpatrick and County Down Railway before he has to return to the North Pole to get ready for Christmas Eve.
Railway Chairman John Wilson said: “If you haven’t been down yet, you’re really missing a Christmas treat as Santa really gets everyone into the festive mood on board his Workshop Train teaching the children how to go ‘Ho Ho Ho’.
“Unfortunately, while we’ve asked Santa to climb down a chimney so the children can see how he does it, he thinks using the steam engine’s chimney just isn’t on!”
The steam train will be leaving the railway station on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 December at 2pm and then approximately every 40-45 minutes till 5pm, but if you want to beat the queues Mr Wilson advises people to come at 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock.
Santa will also be providing his guests refreshments on the buffet coach at the Loop Platform. Fares are £6 for adults, £9 for children over three, and a reduced fare of £5.50 for children under three and senior citizens. Tickets cannot be booked in advance.
Admission to see Santa in his workshop is also dependent on children having been good throughout the whole year.
Mr Wilson also advises that it will not be possible to board the train at Inch Abbey Station, due to the route the train will be taking. He added: “Don’t forget, this is an outdoor event so please wear appropriate clothing.”
And after Christmas Day is over, you can steam into the New Year with the railway’s popular Mince Pie Specials on New Year’s Day.
“The Downpatrick and County Down Railway is your guaranteed sanctuary from turkey sandwiches,” joked Mr. Wilson.
“Mince or apple pies are available from our buffet car on New Year’s Day, after relaxing on board a heritage train coasting through the County Down countryside,” he says, “as well as a wee glass of something to refresh you.”
For further information on events – or if you are thinking about joining as a volunteer contact the Downpatrick Tourist Information Centre on028 4461 2233 log on to the railway’s website at www.downrail.co.uk or find them on facebook at www.facebook.com/downrail follow on twitter @downrail