top of page
  • Whereabouts are you?
    We're on Thornton Drive, off Station Road, Hesketh Bank, between Southport and Preston and right next to Booths supermarket. Set your satnav to PR4 6SP. Turn into Thornton Drive and drive a short distance between the new houses until you see our car park on the left. Here's a map:
  • When are you open?
    We run every Sunday and Bank Holiday between April and the end of October. We are also operating steam trains on Wednesdays during May and October half-terms, and on Wednesdays during August. The first train is 11.30 and the last 4.30. Trains currently run about every 30 minutes. See our Timetable page.
  • Do we need to book?
    Only for Santa Specials and Halloween trains. Otherwise just turn up. For some other special events we may offer booking, but it will be optional. ALSO... you can now pre-book our ADVANCE ANYDAY tickets, at a discount from our standard fares. These are valid for any train, including on gala days, except for Santa Specials and Halloween trains. They have no expiry date. Click here to buy.
  • How long is the ride?
    It's fairly short, about a quarter of a mile, but you can ride as many times as you like on your ticket.
  • Is the site suitable for the disabled?
    The site is generally level, with a variety of hard surfaces and grassed areas There is a sloping tarmac path up from the car park. See our access statement for more details. The toilets include facilities for the disabled. At present we cannot take wheelchairs on our trains. However, we are building a brand-new access coach, which will have openings wide enough to take passengers in wheelchairs. Here's a picture:
  • Can we get something to eat and drink?
    We have our own tea-room, selling cream teas, locally-made cakes and hot and cold drinks, with table service. On special event days and Santa Specials we also run a burger bar using a custom-built railway wagon.
  • Do you have toilets?
    Yes, we have a toilet block next to the platform, with facilities for the disabled.
  • How can I contact you?
    You can contact us by email, phone or old-fashioned letter. Our contact details are at the bottom of each page.
  • Can visitors drive one of your steam engines?
    Yes, we run Drive-an-Engine days when you can learn all about driving an engine, and try it yourself. More details are here.
  • Can we hold a birthday party, and ride a train?
    Yes, you can have a birthday party (or any other type of celebration) at the Railway, and we will run a train for your exclusive use. More details are here.
  • Can groups visit the railway?
    Yes, we are very happy to host groups at the Railway, either on normal running days or as a special event. In the latter case we can organise site tours and special steamings, with a variety of heritage rolling stock. More details are here.
  • How can we be sure all necessary precautions are being taken at the Railway?
    We hold the 'We're Good To Go' mark issued by the VisitBritain Tourist Authority, confirming that we comply with all relevant Government and Public Health guidelines and standards.
  • Can we buy tickets online or at the Railway?
    Apart from Santa Specials and Halloween trains, you can just turn up and buy tickets at our standard fares from the Station Shop. ALSO... you can now pre-book our ADVANCE ANYDAY tickets, at a discount from our standard fares. These are valid for any train, including on gala days, except for Santa Specials and Halloween trains. They have no expiry date. Click here to buy.
  • Can we pay with cash?
    We prefer contactless payment, but you can still pay with cash.
  • Are you using the 'family bubble' system?
    Each compartment on the train is separated from the others by perspex screens. So you can be segregated from other passengers if you wish to.
  • Do we need to wear masks?
    In line with current guidance, masks are not essential. In general, it should be possible to maintain social distancing at the Railway, particularly by limiting numbers in the shop to 3, and ensuring all passengers in a compartment are from the same family group. We can provide masks for those who wish to use them. For the shop, if you just want to buy tickets you can do that through the window hatch.
  • Are you still selling food and drink?
    Yes, our tearoom is open, with table service, for cream teas and hot drinks. For some events our burger van 'The Fireman's Shovel' will also be operating.
  • How do the Santa Specials work with social distancing?
    You buy advance tickets online for the date and time of your choice. If you buy tickets for a whole compartment (typically 4 adults and 4 children) you then its only occupiers, separated from pther passengers. On the day, station staff check your tickets and show you to your compartment. The train takes you the short distance from Becconsall (the main station) to Toyland. You stay on the train while Santa visits each compartment. While you're waiting, our Magical Magician entertains! The children who have been good throughout the year (that's all of them) receive a present from the Bearded One, whilst a tame Elf or Snowman borrows your phone to take photos for you. Then it's back on the train to Becconsall, where mince pies and mulled wine await. Our famous burger van will be in operation, and tea and coffee will be available.
  • When do Santa Specials run?
    We normally run on five days in the weekends before Christmas. The Santa page will give the exact dates.
  • When do Santa tickets go on sale?
    It's usually early October. It will be announced on the front page of the website and on our Facebook page:
  • Is advance booking essential?
    Yes! Our Santa trains are usually fully booked, so if you just turn up you will probably be disappointed. That said, we have sometimes managed to squeeze people on who have missed their train, got the date wrong, couldn't find us, etc., but that's an exception.
  • What does it cost?
    The prices for the current year will be on the Santa page. The price for children is higher because they get a present from Santa appropriate to their age. Children under 3 under go free if they do not require a present and can sit on an adult's lap.
  • What do adults receive?
    As well as the train ride, adults receive a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine (alcoholic or non-alcoholic). Our mobile burger van is also open for business.
  • Do we need paper tickets?
    You will receive tickets by email, which you can print off and bring with you. Or you can just use your phone to show the guard the email with your tickets.
  • What happens if we have to cancel a booking, or change to a different date or time?"
    Contact us without delay using the email facility here. We'll do our best to sort something out. If you need to contact us on the day for which you have tickets, phone the Railway direct on 01772 815 881.
  • What else is there to do?
    We have our famous burger bar as well as the mince pies and mulled wine. There is a play area for the children, with wooden trains. Depending on availability, we usually have Johnson's mechanical pipe organ (dancing optional but a good way to keep warm), a merry-go-round and a hammer'n bell strength tester ('a prize every time'). We've even had a steam roller drift in to add yet more of the white fluffy stuff.
  • Do you run a steam engine for Santa Specials, or is it diesel?"
    Not one but two steam engines! Having two makes the shunting easier and helps to keep the trains on time. Also two locomotives means double the volume of steam clouds!
  • Why do you need to raise a large sum of money?
    For 50 years we had a short-term recurring lease with the landowners, Henry Alty Ltd. When they sold the brickworks land for housing we needed to buy our part of the land to safeguard the Railway's activities. We paid the market price, £250,000. Much of the money was loaned to us by members and supporters - we need to pay them back.
  • Next door is a building site. What's happening there?
    Persimmon Homes are building a housing estate, on land formerly owned by Henry Alty Ltd.
  • Is your site layout changing?
    Our previous entrance will be part of the housing development. The new access road has a spur to our new Railway car park and pedestrian entrance towards the rear of our site.
  • Will the Railway still be open as usual?
    We will maintain our programme of regular running of steam trains on Sundays and Bank Holidays, also our special events, such as Friendly Engines, Teddy Bears Picnic and Santa Specials.
  • What plans are there for future development of the Railway?
    We hope to redevelop some of the buildings, as resources allow. The carriage shed is showing its age, and it would be good to have a museum/education facility. We intend to produce a Development Plan describing our future plans in more detail.
  • How can I help?
    There are several ways - become a member of the Railway, sign up as a volunteer, and/or make a regular or one-off donation. The 'Support Us' pages on this website give more details. Any help you can give is much appreciated, and will make a real difference to keeping this unique Railway operating in Hesketh Bank.
bottom of page