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Trains Return To The Churnet Valley Railway

06/07/2020 (1 month ago)  General News

Train & Dining Services running from the 1st August 2020 …

We are delighted to be operating services again from the 1st August 2020, in line with Government guidance. 

After the embers of our steam locomotives’ last fires had died down on the 15th March 2020, the Railway went into an enforced closure from the 24th March 2020, with our offices and workshops being closed for three weeks. During this time the Railway has not sought to raise funds by means of an emergency appeal to the public, acknowledging our supporters’ own challenges, and instead has relied upon our Bank, the support of our ever-loyal staff, our supporting Charity and exceptionally supportive suppliers.

The pandemic has severely affected the Railway however, with lost income from not operating our 2020 season as planned. Whilst the goodwill may continue, nevertheless the current situation is not sustainable, and so we are now looking for support from the public, by people buying a ticket and travelling on our trains. Your support makes a tremendous difference and will help to secure the future of the Railway.

Gradually, we have awoken from this slumber and look forward to welcoming passengers again from the 1st August 2020. This will be a phased reopening with a reduced timetable and the suspension of all our special events, until our re-arranged Borders Explorer weekend in November. This will be followed by our Santa Specials in late November and throughout all of December - again all subject to Government guidance.

As is the case now in many walks of life, the new ‘normal’ of how we operate the Railway has changed. To help maximize the segregation of our passengers, please read the following FAQ’s on how the railway will be operating until further notice.

When is the Railway reopening, and what services are running?

We aim to reopen on the 1st August 2020. This gives us sufficient time to prepare the Railway and our staff for recommencing the service, and also gives us more time to understand how the changes in the rules, issued on the 4th July 2020 will actually work in practice.

We will operate a steam train service (subject to availability and/or failure) on a reduced timetable. Our first train will depart from Froghall at 10:30, and the second train will depart from Froghall at 13:30
Tickets will only be valid for 1 x complete round trip on your day of travel.

All our trains will operate as a Froghall to Ipstones return service.

What safety steps will be taken before reopening?
We will inspect our tracks, coaches and locomotives thoroughly before embarking on staff training runs. Whilst a lot of our staff have been involved in maintenance and security trains during the closure, we are coming back with new rules and procedures. As is common with other industries, the best way to prove these changes, is to actually run services without passengers.

When will Tickets go on sale, and how can we buy them?
Ticket sales will go live on the 14th July 2020.
All tickets must be purchased in advance of travel. You will be issued with an e-ticket or a booking reference number. We will not issue paper tickets. Bookings can be made online or via our office. We cannot process bookings on the day.
Please have your e-ticket or booking reference number ready when you arrive at the Froghall check in point.

If you are visiting in your social bubble, please advise us at the time of booking. Depending on availability, we can seat up to eight people together, either in a private compartment, on a first come, first served basis or in two groups of four, in an open coach.
All tickets will have an allocated seat number. You must sit in your allocated seat and follow our staff’s instruction for boarding and alighting from the train.

Stations & Workshops
Cheddleton Station will remain closed until further notice. Our trains will not be stopping at Cheddleton.

Consall station will remain closed until further notice.

Our workshops also remain closed to the public until further notice.

What changes will there be at Froghall Station and what do we do when we arrive at Froghall ?
We aim to try and preserve the traditional railway atmosphere as best as we can during these times. However, we will be operating a queuing and boarding system, much like when travelling by plane. We ask that our passengers arrive at the indicated time; this is to minimise the interaction between passengers on our different departure times.

If you are early, please remain within your car, bring an umbrella with you, as you may have to queue whilst waiting to check in. Despite Wimbledon fortnight being cancelled, it is summer in Britain, so it’s likely to rain!

We will have a limited selection of souvenirs available from a pop-up shop and we will also have restricted catering facilities. Signals Tearoom will be offering a take-out service only, with a one-way system, however you will be able to take food and drink on to the train (including your own). Please help us by removing your rubbish when you leave the train and place it into the bins provided on the station.

You will only be able to buy souvenirs and / or items from our tearoom on your way in, as when you alight from the train, you will only be able to access the toilets or go back directly to your car.

Dining Trains

We will operate all our dining trains from the 1st August 2020. To accommodate the extra spacing required for social distancing, our usual dining coaches will not be used.
Passengers will be spread across two or three recently refurbished coaches, depending on loadings. It is imperative you sit in your allocated seat and follow instructions given to you by our staff for boarding and alighting from the train.

Passengers with Reduced Mobility
Unfortunately for the time being, we will not be able to accommodate people in wheelchairs. Where a person with reduced mobility can be assisted from the platform by a Carer and sit in a regular seat, then we will happily accommodate this.

Please advise at the time of booking, so we can make arrangements for you to be shown to your seats before other passengers are allowed to board. Special arrangements will also be made when you come to a light from the train.

Face Coverings
In line with all other public transport entities, you must wear a face covering whilst travelling on our train. This is mandatory.

Dining train customers must wear coverings onto the train and only remove them when the meal service begins.

Passengers must bring their own face covering. We will have a small quantity of coverings available to buy.

Please bring your own hand sanitizer and wipes with you. Our train will be cleaned daily, however all high contact points will not necessarily be cleaned between trips.

Our train toilets will be available for use during the journey, observing normal procedures of not flushing the toilet when in the station. Please make use of the wipes provided to clean down the toilet after use. 

We hope that despite these changes, you still enjoy your visit with us.

Gregory Wilson
Managing Director
6th July 2020