East Lancashire Railway has made it to the final of the prestigious Lancashire Tourism Awards for its annual Santa Specials event.
The heritage railway, located in the heart of Bury has been named as a finalist in the awards ‘Large Event of the Year’ category for its annual Santa Specials event that sees tens of thousands of visitors flock to the railway for some festive family fun.
The Santa Specials encapsulates the magic of Christmas at the railway with a walk through a winter wonderland at its Bury Bolton Street Station where families meet a variety of festive characters. This is followed by an 80 minute round trip on a real heritage steam train where there’s food and drinks for everyone with a visit from Santa who has gifts for all travelling children and a tipple of Bailey’s for the adults. Last year’s Santa Specials, which is the largest in the UK, saw 42,000 people travel from all over the country for the event that’s become a traditional staple for many families.
The Lancashire Tourism awards is the biggest and only county-wide celebration of tourism excellence in Lancashire, this year the awards are celebrating the resilience of the tourism sector in Lancashire following the pandemic.
Mike Kelly, Chairman of East Lancashire Railway, comments: “We are incredibly honoured to be named as finalists in these prestigious awards.
“Our Santa Specials have been running for 35 years and are a vital source of revenue in preserving and sustaining the ELR and has enabled the railway not just to survive but to thrive, even during times of uncertainty brought about by lockdown.
“This year our improved Santa Specials are bigger and better than ever before with more to see, do and enjoy, but none of this would be possible without our team of dedicated staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to bring the Christmas magic and experience to the railway every year. And finally, a great big xmas thanks to the many thousands of families
who come year after year to enjoy this unique family extravaganza.”