No. 7903 Foremarke Hall heads over Stanway Viaduct towards Broadway with the first post-lockdown round trip on 15 August 2020 (Picture: Mikal Ludlow)
First GWSR post-lockdown trains on 15th August were sold-out!
First public train for five months departs on time
Social distancing and masks for the ‘new normal’ service
‘Everyone smiling’ despite face coverings!
Winchcombe, 15 August 2020: The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) ran its first post-lockdown public train service today (15 August) – five months to the day since services were brought to an abrupt halt after the last train of the 2020 season, on 15 March.
It was a triumphant occasion for the railway’s volunteers, who the previous weekend (8-9 August) had rehearsed the new, socially-distanced arrangements and timetable.
The first train of the ‘new-normal’ season departed from Toddington promptly at 10am, and was sold out.
Graham Radband, the railway’s commercial director commented: “You could tell that every one of our volunteers and visitors was smiling, despite the required face covering.
“We’ve had so many positive comments. Like ‘So good to be back and seeing steam again!’ or ‘I hadn’t realised how much I’ve missed the railway!’
“Everyone entered into the spirit of the occasion. And although it was strange seeing everyone masked up, it’s vital that do our utmost to ensure that our railway is safe, whether coming to enjoy a ride through the Cotswolds or as a volunteer welcoming our visitors or working behind the scenes.”
The railway has marshalled its compartment coaches which are reached through sliding doors from a side corridor, which means a family group of up to six people is effectively isolated on the train in their own social ‘bubble’.
Adds Graham Radband: “These old-fashioned coaches have really come into their own and meet the need for social distancing admirably!”
The GWSR is running trains on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the time being. Tickets can only be booked online through www.gwsr.com and may be printed at home or downloaded onto a smartphone. The journey is a 28-mile round trip from Toddington, via Cheltenham Racecourse, then back through Toddington to Broadway, and return.
A one-way system on to and off the trains is in operation, as well as on to and off the platforms.
“It has all worked so well today,” Graham Radband says. “It is such a joy to see the railway back in business after so long!”
Full information and booking details can be found on the railway’s website, www.gwsr.com
Ends / more
Media Contact: Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs of the day can be found and downloaded from this Dropbox link:
The file name is also the image caption
Notes about the train service:
- Tickets can only be booked online at www.gwsr.com and may be printed at home or downloaded on to a smartphone. If travellers cannot do that, they can telephone 01242 621405 and tickets will be mailed (book at least a week ahead). Online tickets can be booked up to midday before the day of travel. Tickets can’t be bought at the railway’s ticket offices.
- The journey is a round trip from Toddington station (GL54 5DT / What3Words trials.composers.turntable). The trip covers 28 miles of steam train travel through glorious Cotswold countryside. The route is via Winchcombe to Cheltenham Racecourse, where there is a half-hour break. The train then proceeds back via Winchcombe and Toddington to Broadway where there is again a break, while the locomotive ‘runs round’ its train. The train then returns to Toddington.
- Strict social distancing is in place and masks must be worn on the station platforms and when boarding or leaving the train.In compartments they may be removed.
- A deep cleaning regime is in place including daily anti-bacterial fogging of trains
- There is plenty of free car parking at Toddington station