Santa catches train

CHRISTMAS COAL: Santa will hop aboard the volunteer-run Bellarine Railway next weekend.

Mr and Mrs Claus will hop aboard nine special Christmas trains on the Bellarine Peninsula next weekend to celebrate the festive season.

The 45-minute ride along Swan Bay features Christmas stories from Mrs Claus, carols with Santa’s elves and the jolly man himself handing out early presents.

The steam engine leaves Queenscliff at 10am, 11am, 12pm and 1pm on 15 and 16 December, plus another service at 2pm on the Sunday.

The train ride features Christmas-themed face-painting and a colour-in competition.

Families will also have a chance to win a pass to a Day Out With Thomas, the next big event on The Bellarine Railway’s calendar.

Thomas the Tank Engine will chug up and down the railway on 19 and 20 January, with Sir Topham Hatt and Henry joining in the fun.

The day features stories, a jumping castle, a children’s maze, Thomas the Tank merchandise and more to keep the kids entertained.

Youngsters will also get a free activity bag complete with a ’junior engineer certificate’, a Thomas tattoo and more.

Heritage trains depart from Queenscliff and Drysdale stations on most Sundays throughout the year and on extra days during school holidays.

The Bellarine Railway’s 11 steam engines and fleet of diesel trains, running between the two towns, date back as early as 1909.

Since 1970 Geelong Steam Preservation Society has kept the trains running to give locals and visitors a glimpse into yesteryear.

The railway pays tribute to the Queenscliff line, which opened on 21 May, 1879 and closed on 6 November, 1976.

The volunteers of this vintage railway drive trains, maintain tracks, garden and more.

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