COVID UPDATE, end Nov 2020. Following today’s announcement that Kent and Medway are being placed in COVID Tier 3, we have carefully considered our ability to operate Santa Specials and Wealden Pullman services this December. Our overriding priority is always the safety of our customers, colleagues and local community. It is with great sadness that we confirm our entire Santa Special 2020 season and all Wealden Pullman services during December have now been cancelled - an extremely difficult and emotional decision.
All customers due to visit us during December will be contacted as soon as possible and options, including refunds and gift vouchers, offered. We are making plans to help convey a positive message to children who were looking forward to meeting Santa with us before Christmas. We will continue to monitor the government guidelines and will be reviewing what might be possible to offer post-Christmas.
We wish to thank everyone for the tremendous support they have shown. It has been an incredibly hard time adapting our beloved Santa Specials for these extraordinarily challenging times. Whilst ultimately it has proved impossible to continue, we remain proud of the efforts our dedicated volunteers have made to continue with, in our 46th season, the tradition of K&ESR Santa Specials Thank you to each and every person who is keeping our charity steaming on for the future.
Santa Specials 2020
Kent & East Sussex Railway
29 November & 5, 6,12,13, 19, 20, 22, 23 & 24 December CANCELLED
FATHER CHRISTMAS IS STEAMING INTO TOWN THIS DECEMBER, WITH SAFETY AT THE TOP OF HIS LIST
The Kent & East Sussex Railway’s Santa Specials are a highlight of the year, and enormous efforts by volunteers at the heritage line have meant the format of the event has been planned to keep visitors and staff safe in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Spokesman Helen Douglas, Sales & Marketing Manager said: “We’ve been running it for approaching 50 years and we were determined not to let down the thousands of passengers who eagerly await this unique Christmas treat.
“Inevitably, we have had to make some changes, but we’re confident it will be as jolly as ever and just speaking with customers who have made their bookings has highlighted how much the public want something that they can look forward to together.”
“We’ve introduced extra precautions to ensure our visitors and staff are kept safe, including reducing the number of passengers on each day so groups are socially distanced and contact with other people is minimised.”
Already, 70% of the reduced number of tickets have been sold, including all private compartments.
Santa Specials will be running on 5,6,12,13,19,20, 22nd, 23rd and 24th December. There will also be a ‘Quiet Day’ service on 29 November, for children on the autistic spectrum or who would benefit from a more relaxed environment. This has proved extremely popular since it was introduced three years ago and you can be assured that on this date the Railway will still be offering the full programme of events and activities for everyone to enjoy!
Trains depart from Tenterden at regular intervals from 10:30am for a 70-minute return trip through the beautiful Kent-Sussex countryside.
Father Christmas will be on-board, handing out presents for children aged 11 and under, and
chocolates for those aged 12-15.
There will be a complimentary refreshment pack for every family, an on-board magician, a Christmas model village to view and free rides on the vintage gallopers at Tenterden station plus a free family group photo.
Helen Douglas of the Railway said: ‘It’s a fantastic package and we’re delighted that we’ve managed to ensure as many people as possible can enjoy a Christmas treat. Tickets are selling very quickly but socially distanced tables in open plan carriages are still available to book.”
To promote this years Christmas trains, the Railway have launched an exciting new poster campaign inspired by the much-loved “Jolly Fisherman of Skegness” poster made famous by the LNER.
Tables of four are priced from £90 when purchased online. The Tenterden booking office will be open between 10am and 2pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays for queries, bookings via the office will be subject to a small administration fee.
The Railway is also planning to run steam train services over the New Year period. Details will be released shortly.