There’ll be eggs-travagant fun at the Downpatrick & County Down Railway with eggs galore on this year’s Easter Eggspress, running over the Easter weekend.

The bunnies are already hopping the rails at the local heritage railway, and the Easter Eggspress is a unique and special treat for kids and a great way to say ‘Happy Easter!’ for all the family. The train will be used for excursions from the town centre from 1.30pm till 4.30pm on Saturday 16th April, Easter Sunday 17th April, & Easter Monday 18th April. Railway Chairman Robert Gardiner says that young passengers receive a treat from a special guest, “The Easter Bunny has bounced into the station for this weekend who’ll be hopping with joy to give them their Easter Eggs.”

Steam train driver Bob enjoying the Easter Eggs

Steam train driver Bob enjoying the Easter Eggs

And this year, the Easter Bunny wants to play a game and is creating an Egg Trail Hunt for wannabe eggsperts, as DCDR tour guide Frank Dick explains, “The Easter Bunny has brought down some of her friends, small teddies and bunnies, but they’re very shy and it’s the job of visitors to track them down. Families will receive a guide to their hunt with their tickets to help ‘eggsplore’ the railway and gather up the info on the card.  Each bunny has a large letter which together make up a two word message.”

He continues, “They then have to reveal this secret phrase to the Easter Bunny who, if they get it right, will reward them of an Easter Egg of their choice.”

And as well as fun for the children, mums and dads also get the chance to experience rail travel at its most traditional, as passengers will be able to taste the elegance of by-gone railway travel on fifty to one hundred year old carriages through the picturesque County Down countryside along nearly two miles of restored track. Teas and coffees, as well as lots of buns, at highly competitive rates, will be served all day on board a vintage buffet carriage parked at Inch Abbey station; if travelling in to the town from Inch Abbey the return journey can be made on any of the services.

The Easter Bunny’s little friends taking part in the word hunt

Mr. Gardiner also commented, “A trip to the station museum and the Carriage Gallery visitor centre brings the golden age of the railway vividly to life and looks at the impact that the railways had on people’s lives, through artefacts from the smallest, such as a ticket in the upstairs exhibition, or the largest, such as lovingly restored railway carriages in the Carriage Gallery and the stark contrast of the wrecks these vehicles once were when rescued.

“For the younger train fans, children can enjoy their own Kids’ Station in the Gallery, and dress up as a train driver or guard for a family selfie using some of the Victorian props and costumes provided in the dressing up area, in a carriage or beside the 1875 steam engine.

“On the station they can get to drive Thomas the Tank Engine on a model railway – or will they let the big kids get a go too?”

“For those a little more adventurous, and perhaps to fulfil a childhood dream, you can buy a Footplate Pass for just £20 and get to travel up in the locomotive cab with the driver.”  A reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required to take part in a footplate experience.”

Tickets cost £7 for all ages, and can be booked on the DCDR’s website.