A HAMPSHIRE heritage railway is preparing for festival sparkle as Steam Illuminations returns to the Watercress Line.

Running from November 24 to January 6, the magical steam train will be lit up, both inside and out, by thousands of constantly changing LED lights to create a kaleidoscope of different colours and flashing patterns.

Brand new for this year is the Festive Canopy of Lights, which the Watercress Line hopes will enchant visitors and add to the Christmas atmosphere.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Steam IlluminationsSteam Illuminations (Image: Steve Morley)All visitors to the light show train rides will be given an LED wristband which interacts with the on-board music and lights. The journey will be filled with the seasonal sounds of the Watercress Line’s Christmas Chart Crackers DJ mix-up until Christmas Day, followed by the Pop Anthems Journey, featuring favourite tunes from the 1960s to the present day, until January 6.

The trains depart from either Alresford or Alton and the trip lasts approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.

Festive treat boxes and drinks boxes can also be pre-ordered and collected on arrival.

Rebecca Dalley, the CEO of the Watercress Line, said: “We can’t wait to see Steam Illuminations back on track at the Watercress Line during the festive period. Simon Horn, our lighting designer, has designed for some of the UK’s great pop gigs, as well as being a volunteer train driver. He has married his knowledge of the Watercress Line with his hi-tech expertise to create a GPS-enabled internal and external display. 

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“It uses the unique terrain of cuttings and stations, as well as the internal carriages and 'smart' wristband lights, to create a journey that is as spectacular from the inside as it is on the outside.

“This fun event is very popular, so book your tickets as soon as possible online.”

More information can be found by visiting the Watercress Line website.