The first ever Santa train for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), is coming to Bury.

The East Lancashire Railway (ELR) has linked up with Bury2Gether, to roll out a specially designed and train with calm carriages, easier access and a more flexible arrival window.

Running from Saturday, November 25, the 80-minute round trip will offer a quieter experience with reduced music volume, no flashing lights and other SEND-friendly tweaks.

Bury Times:

Claire Harrison, community engagement volunteer at Bury2Gether, said: “We are very pleased to work in partnership with the ELR on this exciting initiative. 

“Many people with special needs often are unable to experience and enjoy events such as Santa Specials.

"The ELR is to be congratulated for tailoring this event to allow people with special needs to enjoy this annual and special event."

Bury Times:

Families can hop aboard the holiday fun, starting with a journey through a winter wonderland at Bury Bolton Street Station where they’ll meet whimsical winter characters including Mrs Claus, an ice princess and a talking Christmas tree. 

They can also stop for a quick sing along with the choir of carol singing polar bears. 

Families will then voyage through the picturesque Irwell Valley for an 80-minute round trip from Bury to Rawtenstall Station on a real heritage steam train.

Bury Times:

The chaperoned outdoor access and a wider arrival window will mean there’s no need to rush and one carer from each group can travel for free.

During the journey, Santa and his elves will visit carriages to hand out gifts to all the children.

ELR chairman Mike Kelly said: “We can't wait to welcome even more families to our magical Santa Specials with the launch of our first ever SEND Christmas service.

Bury Times:

“Last year, we upgraded and made the event bigger and better than ever and this summer we’ve made some improvements thanks to the support of Bury2Gether.

“The event is now more accessible and we hope to spread even more joy over the festive period to ensure a happy Christmas for everyone.” 

For more information on the SEND Family Santa Specials see here

Ticket prices start from £23 for adults.