Push Gathers Steam to Restore a Historic Loco
J515 Updates from the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
Rare Arnott's biscuit van restored
The Severn Valley Railway has set its sights on reopening to the public during August 2020 following an extended coronavirus closure.
The railway, which runs from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, closed its doors in March as the coronavirus crisis escalated. Over the next few weeks, 1,800 volunteers along with paid staff, which have been on furlough, will be gradually brought back to the railway.
However, the railway faces a huge challenge to prepare for reopening as general manager Helen Smith explained:
“Effectively we had to mothball the railway three months ago, and our heritage rolling stock has been standing around getting rusty and dusty since then. We’ve got to get our locomotives and carriages back into top condition by overhauling and checking everything. Our stations and garden areas need some TLC too, and we’ll be checking every single inch of the track and lineside to make sure we’re ready to roll when the time comes.”
There is also uncertainty surrounding how trains will be managed once the railway reopens.
Helen continued “We’re working closely with the Heritage Railway Association to make sure we get it right when it comes to safety for both visitors and our volunteers and staff. We have to wait and see whether the Government will reduce its social distancing advice to one metre from the current two metres. Such a change would make it easier to run services and allow us to make a profit rather than a loss. Although it’s going to be compulsory to wear face coverings on public transport, we don’t believe this will apply to us as a heritage attraction, provided we can maintain the recommended social distancing guidelines.
Credit: Dan Sutcliffe
It is likely that the Severn Valley Railway will run a reduced timetable when it reopens, and will be encouraging visitors to pre-book.
Although specific dates are not available, updates will be made on social media and the Severn Valley Railway website.
Before the railway is back in action, the SVR will reopen its pubs next month. The King and Castle, and the Railwayman’s Arms will be serving customers from the 4th July 2020.
45110 at the Engine House // Credit: RailAdvent
The SVR could lose up to £6m this year as a result of months of closure and lower passenger numbers due to social distancing.
The Emergency Appeal has now raised more than £745,000, with the railway also applying for a loan under the CBILS Scheme, and to the National Lottery for an emergency grant.
This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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