Trains are set to continue steaming through the Banwy Valley in October and more of them will be heading for Welshpool.
The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway returned to operating selected trains over its full length in September, having successfully run over part of the line through August in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Since reopening, railway staff have been closely monitoring visitor numbers and the coronavirus environment. Consistent with Welsh Government guidance, they now feel confident to continue services through the next month.
Trains will run every weekend until November 1, as well as on Wednesday, September 30 and October 28.
On each day, two services will operate over the hour-long return trip between Llanfair Caereinion and Castle Caereinion, and one will run over the full eight-mile line from Llanfair to Welshpool and back.
Additionally, on Tuesday, October 27 and Thursday, October 29 in school half-term week, a service of four trains between Llanfair and Castle Caereinion will operate.
All trains continue to depart from Llanfair Caereinion for return journeys only and there remains no vehicle access to Raven Square or Castle Caereinion stations. Full details and online booking for Castle trains remain on the website at www.wllr.org.uk while Welshpool trains should be booked by calling the railway’s office on 01938 810441, open seven days a week from 9am to 4.30pm.
The Welshpool trains will continue to be subject to a modest minimum fare to ensure costs of the longer journey are covered, but a discounted family rate is available and the child fare is unchanged.
All services will also be subject to no further Covid-19 restrictions being imposed by Government. The railway’s the website will carry the latest service information.
The railway is certified by Visit Wales as “Barod Amdani/Good to go”. Covid-19 measures will continue to be applied to protect visitors and the Llanfair line’s staff.
Everyone attending the railway will be required to wear face coverings and all trains will be cleaned between trips. A host of further cleaning measures have been carried out and there will be hand sanitisers widely available.
On all operating days, hot and cold refreshments will be available to enjoy in a marquee at Llanfair Caereinion, to take on the train or take away, and the railway’s souvenir shop will also be open.
“In a year that has been very challenging for the railway, we continue to be gratified by the number of visitors that have come to ride our trains, and their kind comments,” said W&LLR general manager Charles Spencer. “We are very pleased to be offering more trains to Welshpool in October.”
Meanwhile, the railway is receiving many enquiries about the likelihood of its highly popular Santa Special services running in 2020. The Llanfair line team is working hard to enable Santa’s visits and will make an announcement on the website when possible.
Original locomotive ‘The Countess’ returned to Welshpool Raven Square for the first time since February on September 9 and will be returning several times in October.
Photo: Steve Clews, W&LLR
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