Essential maintenance has been needed to the railway after several months of disuse, while a host of coronavirus protective measures have been set up.
Initially the railway will operate daily services over half its route, from Llanfair Caereinion to Castle Caereinion. “Because social distancing measures will greatly reduce the capacity of each train, we are running more trains over a shorter distance initially to ensure we can offer rides to as many visitors as possible,” said railway spokesman Andrew Charman.
“We are determined to return to running services over the full line as soon as we can. In the meantime, the Llanfair-Castle section has lovely views along the Banwy River and a steady climb through fields and woodlands, which visitors can enjoy from the large windows in our carriages and on the open-air balconies.”
The initial timetable will consist of four trains per day at 10.30am, 12.10pm, 1.50pm and 3.30pm. Passenger must pre-book tickets through the railway’s website at www.wllr.org.uk .
Train capacity is severely limited and tightly controlled to maintain social distancing, and pre-booking online will be the only way to guarantee being able to travel.
A one-way system is in operation at Llanfair station and all services will be return trips – passengers will not be able to board or alight at Castle Caereinion. On return to Llanfair, the railway’s shop will be open and hot and cold takeaway refreshments available.
All people attending the railway, visitors and staff, will be required to wear face coverings, as on mainline railways, and trains will be cleaned between trips. A host of further cleaning measures have been carried out and there will be hand sanitisers widely available.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of revenue that has resulted from it has proved very challenging,” added Mr Charman. “But in that time we have been most grateful to the donations to our fundraising appeal and the grant aid afforded to us, but equally to the many positive comments, phone messages and emails, telling us how much our trains are missed and hoping we would be opening again soon.”
Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s steam trains are back in service following lockdown.
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