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“kids didnt want to leave” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tanfield Railway

Tanfield Railway
Old Marley Hill, Gateshead NE16 5ET, England
+44 845 463 4938
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Ranked #6 of 40 things to do in Gateshead
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: Working steam railway museum with extensive engineering shops open to the public. Recreates defunct colliery lines of NE England. Steam train rides every Sunday.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“kids didnt want to leave”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

what an great thing to do kids had a ball they loved the train ride to the north pole and they loved seeing santa, we carnt wait to book again for next year. And they hire out the train for parties ect what a great idea for children and adults who want somthing diffrent.

Visited December 2012
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126 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sunderland, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“Wonderful day out for the whole family”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012 via mobile

We booked the north pole express, we have always wanted to ride the steam train at tanfied but had never had the chance before. I had heard good reviews about the polar express and decided to take our two grandsons aged 3 and 5 and they absolutely loved it from start to finish. Santa was great and really made the effort with the youngest who was a bit nervous, gift were of good quality. The kids got crisps and juice to top it off and we had a nice cuppa and a mince pie. All in all a great day can't wait to do it again next Xmas but we will be along for a ride again in the warmer weather as well.

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Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great day out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012 via mobile

We went on the Santa train today with my family and I must say the whole experience was brilliant ! The volunteer staff from entering the carpark to meeting Santa were all very helpful and very friendly. I. Would highly recommend this for children and adults alike.

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Durham, United Kingdom
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Hopeless organisation”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2012

In total contrast to last year's pleasant experience, I feel the need to warn potential visitors of the diabolical organisation on Tanfield Railway's "North Pole Express". Visitors with toddlers in particular should take note, as long waits and low temperatures do not mix well with small children.

Due to board the second-last train of the day, all started relatively well with the train arriving only slighty late. Our son was already becoming impatient, however, as the train didn't leave for a further 20 minutes and it was getting dark with temperatures already below zero.

Just before departing, we were greeted by a pleasant young chap who advised us to proceed straight to Santa's Grotto upon arrival, since we were near the front of the train. We had already chosen to sit near the front from previous experience.

Upon arrival, there was already a significant queue to see Santa. After waiting for at least 15 minutes, another apparently more senior member of staff advised us to get refreshments first since we would have a long wait to see Santa. I advised him that we had already waited quite some time, and if we were to leave the queue now we'd have an even longer wait in the freezing cold with a very young child. He walked off without engaging in further conversation.

After a wait of 50 minutes mostly outdoors, in the dark and freezing cold we finally saw Santa for less than 60 seconds. Now, this is to be expected, but after such a disorganised and lengthy wait, disappointment was inevitable.

Staff advised that there were trains every 40 minutes for the return journey, so we managed to find a seat in the warmer but far too crowded refreshment area. After warming up slightly, we decided to wait on the platform ready for the next train as the platform was already very busy and we didn't want to wait even longer in the cold.

The time between the last train leaving and the next arriving was at least double the quoted 40 minutes. During this time, platform staff did not appear to have any idea why there was a delay. As we'd waited so long on the platform, we managed to get a seat relatively easily, however there were people turned away as the train was so full.

The sheer lack of organisation for an event tailored to young children meant it was very difficult to enjoy, and I feel the railway organisers need to put some serious thought into how this event is operated in future years. Perhaps a more structured system is needed, where everyone arriving on a train visits Santa before the next train arrives. Or perhaps the number of visitors should be reduced to ensure less waiting for small children.

It is all well and good advising that it is an outdoor event, but even with hats, coats and gloves, expecting people to wait outside for close to an hour to see Santa, and the same again to board a return train is nothing short of crazy.

Have a rethink please, Tanfield Railway!

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Santa Express”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

Wonderful family trip on North Pole Express. Greeted at "North Pole" by friendly staff, polar bear, Santa and the elves. Cost includes (was £10/person) sherry for adults, soft drinks for children, crisps, mince pies and hot drinks. Plus children get to speak to Santa and receive a gift included in price.

Visited December 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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