Covid Santa Announcement 2
Following on from our announcement yesterday the first tranche of emails were sent out overnight, a technical fault has delayed some emails- these delayed emails will be going out later today. Following the first emails being sent out we have had several questions arise, and we wish to clarify them here:
- We will commence refunds from the 18th January 2021 onwards, with the oldest bookings being processed first. We buy a lot of services and goods in for our Santa Express and other train services. We require a period to deal with all our suppliers to make the necessary arrangements to terminate our respective contracts.
- Some heritage railways who are also in Tier 3 have chosen to continue to operate their Santa services and other festive trains.
The Board of Directors believe that our decision is the correct one based on the information that was available to us at the time we made the decision. Stoke on Trent as of the 25th November 2020 was registering 453.6 infections per 100,000 residents. This figure puts Stoke on Trent and by implication the surrounding area in the top 5 UK Covid hotspots.
We are devasted that this is the first time in the history of our Railway that we have cancelled the Santa service. It is a much-loved event with a record number of families travelling with us year after year.
Most of our staff are volunteers and give up their time for free to operate our trains, from the drivers and firemen, guards, crossing keepers, station staff and Santa’s helpers. We have consulted with our staff over this situation and we do not believe that stretching the definition of train travel is sufficient justification to continue to run our service. We do not want to expose our staff and customers to any additional risks whilst we are in Tier 3 restrictions.
Our Santa service provides a substantial amount of our annual income, and all of this was greatly needed this year. It is with a very heavy heart that we have chosen to cancel the event this year.
We will return in 2021, with a range of new and traditional events. These will be published on our website in the coming weeks, and bookings will open as soon as possible. Please support us by booking when tickets become available.
The continued future of the Railway is very much at risk unless we can get through the next few months.