Over a number of weeks our Operations Team have been working flat out to understand the full impact of COVID-19 and plan accordingly to how best to return the KWVR back to the Railway we all know and love, whilst balancing the impact that such a return would have on the railway.
Monday 29th June was a major milestone for the KWVR as the re-introduction of passenger services plan was passed by the Operating Company Board. What does this mean? With immediate effect we can now move forward to prepare the Railway re-opening.
Our volunteers have not been idle over the last few weeks since restrictions were eased and the result of this decision is that more work can now be undertaken across the railway to prepare for re-opening.
With all the preparatory work completed, we will see the railway open to passengers on the Saturday 15th August, with the first public trains on Wednesday 19th August.This is an exciting development, however it will not be business as usual. The number of passengers will be restricted and we will have to adapt to a new way of working that is driven by guidance given to us by the railway regulator, the HSE and the Government. We are also now part of a Visit Britain scheme called ‘Good to Go’ [Link} which is a supporting mark we can use to show we are following industry standards.
As we strive to provide an enjoyable but safe experience for our passengers, our new service will be different from that which our visitors have experienced before. Intending travellers will need to pre-book on board a steam hauled service using coaches from our collection of compartment carriages, giving passengers, not only a trip down memory lane to a time when compartment coaches were found across the network, but also an environment reserved solely for your “social bubble” with no contact during your journey with fellow passengers and no need for face masks within your compartment. However, in order to give passengers a worry free visit to the KWVR we have changed the way that we run our trains with departure from Oxenhope only. What can our passengers expect:
- Arrive at Oxenhope station by car and park in the car park.
- A warm welcome awaits in the exhibition shed to “check in”.
- Whilst your train is being cleaned and prepared, after its previous journey along the Worth Valley, there will be refreshments to purchase from our pop-up Exhibition Hall café.
- When the train is ready for boarding Passengers will be called carriage by carriage to make their way out of the Exhibition shed, across the car park and onto the platform, where they will be greeted and shown to their compartment.
- The journey will be a non-stop return trip with opportunity to alight at Keighley, view the locomotive run round and use the facilities. During the journey the train will slow as it passes each station.
- On arrival back at Oxenhope there will be an opportunity for photographs in front of the locomotive.
We are planning that tickets will go on sales on 13th July so keep a look out on our website and Social Media. The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, together with all our committed volunteers and staff, are looking forward to welcoming the public back to our wonderful Railway.