Christmas service is resumed on Weardale Railway Friday, 11 November 2022

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Festive trains are back on track at Weardale Railway this year with a Christmas timetable set to delight families across County Durham and beyond.

Tickets have been flying out the door for a schedule of special Christmas services, which will run throughout December, complete with Santa and his elves, festive food and drink, all the decoration trimmings and sacks full of yuletide cheer.

Christmas services have not operated on the much-loved heritage line since 2019, but following the partial reopening of the line earlier this year – and the success of the summer timetable which ran between Stanhope and Wolsingham – staff were more than delighted to bring services back for the season of goodwill.

Wayne Dixon, General Manager at Weardale Railway, said: “When we reopened between Stanhope and Wolsingham in the spring, people immediately started asking about our plans for Christmas.

“A visit to Weardale Railway became part of so many people’s routine in the run up to Christmas and we’re delighted to be able to run these special services during December.”

The Christmas services will depart the magical ‘Santahope’ station for a 60-minute roundtrip, giving Santa time to meet and greet all the children onboard the ‘Bauble’ car train, which will be decorated in suitably festive fashion.

As well as the on-board fun, a festive edition of the Weardale Makers Market will also be at Santahope station, allowing passengers to meet local craftspeople and tick some presents off their Christmas list before taking a souvenir photo inside the giant Christmas card frame.

Three Christmas services a day will operate on Saturdays and Sundays in the run up to Christmas, as well as on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd.

Tickets are on sale now at www.weardale-railway.digitickets.co.uk/tickets

The Weardale Railway is operated by The Auckland Project, which is offering a full programme of Christmas activity in Bishop Auckland.

Tickets for the Winter Experience are now on sale, offering visitors the chance to explore and enjoy series of festive spectacles across the charity’s attractions from November 18th to December 31st.

A stunning Christmas Garland and a monumental Neapolitan Nativity scene from the 18th century, together with 100 Christmas trees and a top-secret treat sure to delight one and all, will ensure a visit to The Auckland Project should be top of everyone’s Christmas list.

As well as welcoming people into Auckland Castle and Auckland Tower, the Winter Experience will offer visitors the chance to be among the first to see inside the much-anticipated Faith Museum, scheduled to open in autumn 2023.

Also on the Christmas menu will be festive afternoon teas and dining experiences in the Old Library as well as a busy programme of garland-making workshops and wider family and community drop-in activities.

Jon O’Donoghue, Commercial Director at The Auckland Project, said: “Christmas is a time when faith, family and fun come together more than ever, and this has been at the centre of our ambitions for the Winter Experience.

“We want to put The Auckland Project at the heart of Christmas in Bishop Auckland, creating new traditions people will look forward to and enjoy with their loved-ones year on year.”

The Auckland Project Winter Experience ticket is now available and includes access to Auckland Castle, the Faith Gallery and Auckland Tower. Tickets cost £7 for children (under 5s free), £14 for adults, £21 for families with 1 adult and £35 for families with 2 adults.

Individual time-slotted tickets for the mystery Christmas event inside Auckland Tower will be available to purchase separately for £4 per person from 18th November.

Tickets can also be pre-booked online for the Spanish Gallery and Mining Art Gallery, with Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross on display in the Spanish Gallery until December 4th.

All Winter Experience bookings can be made at www.aucklandproject.org