(SOME OF) YOUR QUERIES ANSWERED
Whereabouts are you?
We're in Station Road, Hesketh Bank, between Southport and Preston and right next to Booths supermarket.
When are you open?
We run every Sunday and Bank Holiday between April and the end of October.
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. See our access statement for more details.
Do we need to book?
Only for Santa Specials, via the link on the Santa page, when shown. Otherwise just turn up. For some other special events we may offer booking, but it will be optional.
How can I contact you?
You can contact us by email, phone or old-fashioned letter.
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.
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.
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.
Can we get something to eat and drink?
We have our own cafe, selling cream teas and hot and cold drinks, with table service.
Do you have toilets?
Yes we have a shiny new toilet block, with facilities for the disabled.
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.
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.
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 does the Santa page go up on the website?
It's usually late August or early September. It will be announced on the front page of the website.
What else is there to do?
We have our famous burger bar as well as the mince pies and mulled wine.
How do the Santa Specials work with social distancing?
You buy advance tickets online for the date and time of your choice. The tickets are for a whole compartment (up to 7 adults and children).
Is advance booking essential?
If you want to be sure of seats, yes. Almost all our Santa trains are fully booked, so if you just turn up you will probably be disappointed, particularly as in 2020 we are selling whole compartments rather than tickets for individuals.
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.
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.
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 prvious 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.
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 activites. 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.
What plans are there for future development of the Railway?
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.
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.
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?
Can we pay with cash?
We prefer contactless payment, but you can still pay with cash.
How are you using the 'family bubble' system?
We restrict access to the shop to one family bubble at a time. Also each bubble has their own compartment on the train, separated from other passengers by perspex screens.
Do we need to wear masks?
While Tier 3 rules are in place, you will need masks. Hopefully as the rules relax we can restrict mask wearing to the shop - we can provide them if necessary. And if you just want to buy tickets you can do that through a window hatch.
Do you have hand sanitiser available?
Yes, we have sanitiser stations at various points which you can use.
Are you still selling food and drink?
Yes, our new cafe is open, with table service, for cream teas and hot drinks.
How often do trains run?
Trains run about every 30 minutes from 11.30 to 4.30. The reduced frequency is to allow time for thorough cleaning of the coaches.
Can we get down from the train at the far end of the ride?
To ensure social distancing, we ask passengers to stay on the train at Delph while the engine runs round the train. Then if you want to get off to take photos with the engine, the guard can arrange this, one group at a time.
Can we still have as many rides as we like?
Yes, we are happy for you to have repeat rides on your day ticket. However if the train is very full, we may ask you to allow others to have a ride, and then get back on the train when it is less busy.
Will you ask us for any personal details?
We will give you the opportunity to give your name and phone number, or check-in with the NHS app on arrival. This will help in virus tracking if required, and is optional. Your details will be kept secure on paper only, and destroyed after 21 days.