The railway has been awarded ‘We’re Good to Go’ certification by the Visit England tourism body. This demonstrates that it has met the required level of Covid-secure operations.
Only essential work has been taking place during the current lockdown – track and bridge maintenance along with signalling and locomotive maintenance – with the Swanage Railway following Government instruction and advice.
Gavin Johns, Swanage Railway chairman, said, “We are pleased that the Government’s plans, and guidance, to bring the country out of the Covid-19 restrictions enable us to plan for the resumption of our train services on Monday, 12 April, 2021.
“The safety of our passengers and staff is our prime concern as we look forward to resuming our train services and open our on-line booking service at swanagerailway.co.uk on Thursday, 1 April, 2021.
“While on the day walk-up bookings will be able to be made at our Norden, Corfe Castle and Swanage ticket offices – subject to seats being available – we would encourage passengers to book in advance, via our website, to avoid disappointment as seat numbers are reduced to ensure the prescribed social distancing.
“The Swanage Railway has a great part to play in giving people a wonderful day out in the Isle of Purbeck – whether it’s to visit Swanage and the beach, Corfe Castle and its magnificent ruins or simply to walk and enjoy the fresh air in the beautiful countryside.
“Our train services and stations are fully Covid-19 compliant with regular cleaning taking place.
“Passengers will still have to wear face coverings on our platforms and trains – unless they are exempt – with hand sanitiser points available on our stations. Children under the age of 11 do not need to wear a face covering.
“We are taking all reasonable steps to ensure that our passengers are safe while travelling with us and passengers can travel with us in the knowledge that all fares go towards supporting the re-built Swanage Railway and ensuring its survival for future generations,” added Mr Johns.
It is hoped the fund-raising shop on Swanage station will also reopen on 12 April, subject to the lifting of Government restrictions and the availability of volunteers to staff the shop. The Corfe Castle station museum, return catering facilities to Swanage and Norden stations and dining trains will resume from 17 May, if restrictions at the time allow.
Harman’s Cross station and Herston Halt will remain closed and are set to re-open when the Government lifts the Covid-19 restrictions regarding social distancing.
Gavin Johns said, “We recognise the Government’s dates for the reduction and final lifting of restrictions are dependent on progress in reducing cases of Covid-19 and we will be looking for confirmation of these dates by the Government nearer the time.
“The dates published by the Government give us time to complete essential maintenance work and ensure that everything is prepared for us to complete staff refresher training so that the Swanage Railway is ready to resume its train services when we receive the green light from the Government,” added Mr Johns who is also a volunteer signalman on the heritage line.
In preparation for the resumption of steam trains, test and staff training trains – not carrying the public – will be operating on the Swanage Railway ahead of the planned re-opening.
Details of how the Swanage Railway keeps its passengers safe can be found at www.swanagerailway.co.uk/covid-19-passenger-information.
Up to date train service information is available from the Swanage Railway website at swanagerailway.co.uk where train tickets can be booked from Thursday 1 April 2021.
Please share post:
Follow us on