Make train travel magical this Christmas
For most of us, travelling’s a means to an end. But, travelling by train can be a magical experience and you’ve only got to look at this year’s Christmas adverts from the likes of Aldi and Debenhams to see why.
Debenhams’ 2017 Cinderella-inspired Christmas ad starts with two young lovebirds meeting by chance on a train – how romantic! Just think, next time you’re taking the train from London to Manchester you could look up and catch eyes with your future life partner, unless their eyes are glued to their phone checking for updates on a platform change on our app that is.
Aldi’s star-crossed carrots – Kevin and Katie – meanwhile, are united on board a train that looks sneakily like The Orient Express. Back in the 1930s, a journey on The Orient Express was probably one of the most magical ways to travel Europe – unless you were the poor unfortunate chap who was killed off in Agatha Christie’s who-dunnit novel, Murder on the Orient Express.
This luxurious train, sadly, did its last journey in 2009. Luckily though, our partnerships with a wide range of European train carriers, including SNCF, Renfe and Trenitalia, mean there’s still an easy way to travel by train across Europe. And, unlike in the 1930s, your trip information can be easily downloaded as a Mobile Ticket to your phone, so all your details can sit in one place, on our app.
It’s not just this year’s Christmas adverts that have got us feeling nostalgic about train travel, even a trip to the flicks gets us misty-eyed about all things train. The return of everyone’s favourite cuddly bear, Paddington, in the sequel Paddington 2, got us thinking about how his life with the Brown family began.
Being a newcomer to England, Paddington Bear got lost and confused at Paddington Station – he obviously didn’t have our handy app to give him real-time updates. Next time you’re taking a train from Paddington, look under the clock on platform 1 and you’ll see a bronze statue of this famous bear.
Turn on your TV at any point in December, and you’re bound to catch one of the Harry Potter films. Could it get more magical? Whether it’s the first or the last, each year of Harry’s school life begins with a ride on the Hogwarts Express. This magical red steam engine departs from the mysterious platform 9 ¾ at London King’s Cross station.
You can visit platform 9 ¾ yourself and take an iconic photo of you magically disappearing into the wall with your trolley. Our advice is to avoid visiting at peak times, as naturally everyone wants to take a photo. Head there in the wee hours of the morning though, and you can pretty much have your own private photoshoot…
Aside from Hogwarts, fewer places are cooler to visit by train than the North Pole. That’s exactly where one little boy sets off to in the Christmas film, The Polar Express. Did you know that you and your kids can take this magical journey yourselves?
Hop on the train to Telford Central and visit Telford Steam Railway for an immersive Polar Express experience. Families can dress up in their pyjamas, just like the boy in the film, and take a journey by train through Santa’s workshop! If you’re travelling as a group, get yourself a Family and Friends Railcard to save yourself some money.