Ho, ho, ho! It’s that time of year again to deck the halls and work out who has been naughty and who has been nice.
What better way to welcome in the festive period by booking on the festive Santa Express Steam Trains? Hop on board and be transported out to their site in Whitehead, a journey of approximately 35 minutes during which a certain man in a red suit will meet everyone. On arrival at Whitehead, Santa’s elves will be there to distribute presents to all travelling children. At the platform, you will have about 40 minutes to get pictures with Santa and to post your letter to him in their very special postbox.
- On arrival at Belfast Lanyon, you will be greeted by volunteers who will give you your seat allocation. Please be at Lanyon at least half an hour before departure.
- Journey by train hauled by a steam locomotive* from Belfast Lanyon to Whitehead and return.
- Fully decorated carriages and compartments to get you into the festive mood
- Activity packs for all children when they board the train including a letter to post to Santa when you reach your destination, colouring-in sheets, and crayons
- Meet and greet with Santa at your table/compartment and again on the platform where there will be photo opportunities with Santa and his sleigh (no charge for this)
- Elves on the platform distributing presents
- Festive music on the platform
* As they operate heritage rolling stock, there may be exceptional circumstances which mean that they are unable to operate hauled by a steam engine. In these circumstances, they reserve the right to replace steam with diesel but all other aspects of the experience will remain the same.
At present, these are the only mainline trains that we are running but, on Sundays (except for 18th December), they will have a different event bookable separate to our mainline trains (but through our ticketing agent, Visit Belfast) on site in Whitehead.
- Depart Belfast Lanyon Place
- Arrival at Whitehead 11.15
- Departure Whitehead 12.00
- Return to Belfast Lanyon Place 12.45
- Depart Belfast Lanyon Place
- Arrival at Whitehead 14.15
- Departure Whitehead 15.00
- Return to Belfast Lanyon Place 15.45
Christmas Frequently Asked Questions
Are there toilets on the train?
They have a small number of operational toilets on the train. However, there are toilet facilities at the stations in Belfast and Whitehead and would encourage you to use these facilities. The toilets on the train cannot be used when the train is static at a platform.
Can I bring a buggy or pushchair onto the train?
As the carriages are historic/vintage they can carry only a limited number of prams and buggies on trains. Also, they must be folded and stowed in the luggage van of the train. The Train Manager and his Marshals will be on board to assist you with this.
Is there a dining car on the train where I can purchase drinks or snacks?
The dining car is currently undergoing maintenance and will not be available at Christmas. However, a small selection of drinks and snacks will be available to purchase whilst you are on site in Whitehead.
Can I bring my dog on the train?
Except for guide dogs and registered assistance animals, pets are not permitted on the train (nor inside our museum and cafe, although they are welcome on our platform).
I have no access to a printer to print my tickets. What should I do?
You don’t have to print off your ticket. They are happy to check your purchase when you arrive on your mobile device.
Can I travel on an excursion train if I have a disability?
The Society’s trains have limited facilities for disabled passengers. They can usually take a wheelchair provided the passenger can be transferred to a seat and the wheelchair folded for stowing in our luggage van. They are unable to cater for electric wheelchairs or buggies.
If I have bought tickets for the excursion but cannot travel, do I automatically get a refund?
No. The Society does not provide refunds if you are unable to travel but they would encourage you to give the tickets purchased to family or friends.
Where can I board the train?
For the Santa Express, you can only board the train at Belfast Lanyon station.
Do I have to pre book?
Yes. There are no facilities to buy tickets on the day of travel.
When I arrive at Whitehead and may wish to purchase refreshments or items from the shop, do you accept card payments?
Yes. There are card readers on site and can also take card payments.
Will we all be allocated seats together?
They will endeavour to seat your party together but there may be occasions where this is not possible. They may also, to maximise seating capacity, seat your party with at a table other passengers.
All seats on the Santa Express are £25. For this excursion there are no concessionary fares. Limited numbers of compartments are available per trip, each accommodating up to six people. These are £160 per compartment.
Please ask all parties to indicate ages of children in group when booking.
- Admission £25