First GWSR post-lockdown trains sold out
By David Wood | 17th August 2020
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) ran its first post-lockdown public train service on Saturday.
This was five months to the day since services were brought to an abrupt halt after the last train of the 2020 season, on March 15.
It was a triumphant occasion for the railway's volunteers, who the previous weekend 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, said: "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 we 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'.
Graham Radband added: "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 said. "It is such a joy to see the railway back in business after so long."
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