Epping Ongar Lights Express - The Fairy Light-Covered Christmas Steam Train Ride Is Back!

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 6 months ago

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Epping Ongar Lights Express - The Fairy Light-Covered Christmas Steam Train Ride Is Back!
A train, pulled by a steam engine, with each carriage covered in different coloured fairy lights, travelling through woodland in the dark
The closest you'll get to riding the Polar Express in London. Image: Epping Ongar Railway

London's not short of light festivals and illumination shows at this time of year, but there's one that always gets our attention — a steam train covered in twinkling fairy lights.

Epping Ongar Lights Express (previously called Light Fantastic) is just that — an illuminated train ride through woodland on the London-Essex border.

A steam engine and carriages covered in fairy lights alongside the platform at North Weald station
Commentary is provided by "Voiceover Man". Image: Epping Ongar Railway

Watch the the illuminated carriages — hauled by a steam locomotive — pull into Ongar station and snap a few pictures before climbing on board and taking your seat. Passengers will receive individual LED wristbands to ensure they become a part of the festivities. As the train pulls out of the station and wends through the countryside, peer out of the window for illuminated line-side displays designed specially for Lights Express passengers, and visible only from the train.

Train carriages covered in fairy lights alongside the platform at North Weald station
Magic, innit. Image: Epping Ongar Railway

Music and an onboard commentary (from none other than "Voiceover Man", as heard on Britain's Got Talent and X-Factor) accompany the sights, and the whole experience takes about an hour, returning you back to Ongar station where food and drinks are available to buy.

Basically, it's the closest you'll ever get to riding the Polar Express. Look:

Epping Ongar Lights Express takes place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 17 November 2023-7 January 2024. Tickets are £20 per person (private compartments are also available for groups) and must be booked in advance.

Last Updated 26 October 2023

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