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Families enjoy festive train trips to Essex and Suffolk Christmas fayres

Families in Essex and Suffolk enjoyed festive days out by train thanks to community rail partnership events in December.

The Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership (CRP) teamed up with the North Essex Support Team (N.E.S.T) to take families for a day out by rail from Harwich to Manningtree on Sunday 17 December.

N.E.S.T is a registered charity taking direct action to help struggling and vulnerable people in north Essex by offering a wide range of support including providing household items, home adaptations, winter warmer events, and help with food provision.

Over 80 families enjoyed the trip on a Christmas-themed decorated train with music and refreshments on board. Children received goody bags and a gift from Santa, and on arriving back at Harwich, they were helped to choose a present for their parents.

Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Officer for the Essex and South Suffolk CRP, said: “We were delighted to partner with N.E.S.T to offer families a fun day out by train. N.E.S.T is a fantastic charity doing so much to enrich the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of the community and we were delighted to be able to help them in this aim.”

Alan Neville, Customer and Community Engagement Manager at Greater Anglia, said: “We were pleased to support this event which has delivered benefits to disadvantaged families on our network.

“We are very grateful to the Essex and South Suffolk CRP for the great work they are doing to promote social inclusion and sustainable travel – it is fantastic that the railway in East Anglia can deliver social value back to the communities that we serve.”

Families also enjoyed a magical trip on the Santa Express to visit the Saxmundham Christmas Fayre on Friday 1 December thanks to the East Suffolk Lines CRP.

Families boarded the train from Beccles and Halesworth to Saxmundham with every child receiving a goody bag on the train. They were met at Saxmundham by Santa, before going on to visit his grotto.

Thalia Rushmore, Community Rail Officer for the East Suffolk Lines CRP, said: “We were delighted to partner with the Saxmundham Christmas Fayre to help reduce traffic coming into the town and add an extra element of Christmas cheer to the event.”

Alan Neville, Customer and Community Engagement Manager at Greater Anglia, said: “I would like to thank the East Suffolk Lines CRP for putting on this lovely festive event which offered families a great value and fun way to travel to the fayre.”