(Andrew P.M. Wright)

Covid-safe Steam Services scheduled to return in April

Covid-safe steam trains could be back in service as early as next month, as Swanage Railway announces plans to reopen in line with the Government’s easing of lockdown restrictions.

The government road map to the easing of lockdown has a had contagious and pro-active effect on the industry. Swanage Railway is planning to reopen with Covid-safe steam trains next month, with further plans to re-open the fund-raising shop on its Swanage station. Subject to the lifting of Government restrictions.

The railway has struggled through the pandemic, which caused its closure and loss of significant revenue. However, it has been undergoing essential track, bridge and locomotive maintenance following government instruction and advice.

Swanage Railway chairman Gavin Johns 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.

Awarded 'We're Good to Go' certification by the Visit England tourism body for demonstrating the heritage railway has met the required level of compliance with its Covid-19 preparations and precautions to keep the public safe.

Mr Johns, who is also a volunteer signalman on the heritage line, added: “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,”

“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.”

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 Monday, 12 April, 2021, re-opening which is subject to the Government lifting Covid-19 restrictions.

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