Full steam ahead for railway as it prepares to welcome passengers back this weekend
- Credit: Bure Valley Railway
A popular miniature railway in its 30th anniversary year will reopen again this weekend following lockdown closure.
Bure Valley Railway, which runs from Aylsham to Wroxham saw its last pre-lockdown train leave the station on March 17, leaving the railway in uncertainty with a business interruption insurance claim rejected and all of its staff on the furlough scheme.
When the railway was told it could reopen on July 4, the Friends of Bure Railway raised £10,000 to aid with the reopening and a small group of volunteers set about installing partition walls in the carriages along with floor markings and hand sanitiser on the station platform in order to comply with social distancing rules.
Katie Melton, who works on the railway said: “We’ve had a few volunteers keeping the site clean while we’ve been off on furlough and keeping the engines oiled by moving them back and forth and we’re now at the point where everyone is coming back this weekend and we’re going to run five days a week. It used to be seven but because of the extra measures we need to take we’re now going to be working for just five days on a new intensive timetable to keep people spread out.
“At the moment we’re not seeing that many bookings come in, we’ve done a few July weekends with volunteers and they went well but we’re not anywhere near capacity. We’re sort of seeing how it goes for the next three months and hoping we can make enough money to survive the winter.
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“People know we’re here and hopefully they’ll support us.”
Volunteers had been running a reduced service on weekends since the beginning of July, but from August 1 the railway will run hourly services from Tuesday to Sunday and its full-time staff will be welcomed back.
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Managing director, Andrew Barnes added: “It has been a very difficult period for the railway where our future was uncertain, thanks to a lot of hard work, we are now back up and running and hope that visitors and residents alike will visit and help ensure our survival for years to come.”