The traditional New Year Diesel Trains are running on Saturday, 7th January 2017. A heritage diesel locomotive from the Irish Traction Group will be hauling the trains, as our steam locomotive will be out of service for its annual inspection and servicing.
Trains will be running to and from Inch Abbey on our North Line. This is your last chance to visit us until St Patrick’s Day, because this is the time of year when we do maintenance on our trains and tracks.
Online ticket sales are now closed. Buy your tickets when you arrive at the station.
See our Timetable & Fares webpage for further information.
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie and MLA Colin McGrath called down to the Downpatrick & County Down Railway for the last day of the Lapland Express, meeting volunteers as well as the jolly big man himself – Santa Claus.
As well as welcoming this festive VIP to the town, Margaret Ritchie and Colin McGrath saw for themselves the work to rehabilitate the DCDR’s ‘South Line’, which runs out to the Loop Platform.
This line was originally laid in the 1980s using second-hand wooden sleepers and in the last year has been completely renewed with concrete ones, extending the life of this part of the line as well as making a smoother ride for passengers.
Railway chairman, Robert Gardiner, who showed the guests around, said “We were delighted to welcome Margaret and Colin down to the DCDR and seeing the crowds travelling on the Lapland Express to see Santa.”
He continues, “They also took a great interest in seeing the improvements and works that we’ve been undertaking, and hearing about our plans for the future.”
Mr Gardiner adds, “The Lapland Express is one of our most popular events, and this year we’ve moved to online prebooking for the first time in our history.”
This has been a record year for the DCDR, with over 3,500 passengers pre-booking and travelling.
“This move has been a tremendous success and has made the whole event much more welcoming for our passengers,” said Mr Gardiner, “It’s eliminated the long queues at the ticket office, allowing people a more leisurely visit with more time to explore the station and museum.”
The elected representatives also got the chance to talk to volunteers and members of the public on what is one of the most popular events in the railway’s calendar, as well as getting up close to the locomotive itself, a 1935 vintage engine that used to haul sugar beet wagons in factories in the Republic of Ireland.
Mr Gardiner reveals that one of the guests must’ve said something to Santa Claus, and got an early Christmas present, “The locomotive crew offered Colin McGrath a complementary Footplate Pass back from Santa’s Workshop to Downpatrick Station, an offer he readily accepted!”
That’s all folks… we have no seats available for booking now. We’re sorry if anyone missed out on their visit to Santa, but we hope you understand we have an upper limit on how many people we can bring to this event.
If anyone has any queries about a current booking, then please contact us for help.
Our next public trains are the diesel-hauled Mince Pie trains on 7th January, then we close for the winter for maintenance, until St Patrick’s Day.
The Lapland Express is very, very nearly sold out with just a few seats remaining for Saturday 10th December. Book those tickets now!
Once the tickets are all sold, we’re very sorry to say that there’s no more seats available on any of our trains. If you’ve missed out, please accept our apologies, but we can only take so many people through Santa in the given time.
Our next trains are the diesel-hauled mince pie/New Year specials on Saturday 7th January 2017.