Demand soars for seats on board the Norfolk Lights Express
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Demand for seats on the Norfolk Lights Express has been soaring with more than 15,000 tickets already sold and weekends fully booked up to the new year.
On most evenings throughout the winter, North Norfolk Railway's special service, which is now in its third year, winds its way after dark through the forests and fields from Sheringham to Holt and back.
During the day the award-winning heritage railway transports customers back in time on steam and diesel trains through some of the area's most picturesque countryside.
Later, as the light fades, the railway is transformed as The Norfolk Lights Express steams into town.
Driven by locomotive 76084, the train is covered in a rainbow of coloured lights which are connected by 2.5 miles of electrical cable.
Graham Hukins, commercial manager, said that the service, which began this year on November 15, has "been going very well indeed".
"So far, we have sold 15,000 tickets for up to January 3 next year, and all the weekends are fully booked out but we have space most Mondays to Thursdays.
"We're very pleased with ticket sales," he said.
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In 2020, the train's run was truncated due to the November lockdown and December's tiered restrictions - but this year the number of visitors is up on the same stage in 2019.
Mr Hukins said: "I think people are looking to enjoy days out and outings again, those having been curtailed for much of the last two years."
The 11-mile return journey takes around an hour and twenty minutes.
As the train steams by, spotlights under the carriages shine out on the nocturnal scenery, while illuminations and colourful dioramas controlled by computers and GPS transform and enchant the countryside.
Last week, Norfolk-born Hollywood star Olivia Colman was spotted taking the train.
The experience runs until January 3, 2022, with the exception of December 6, 24, 25 and 26.
Tickets cost £18 per person and trains will depart at 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
For those hoping to meet Santa, there will also be the Santa Special experience running from November 27 to December 24.
For more information, visit www.nnrailway.co.uk.