The Swanage Railway has confirmed that steam trains are resuming this weekend for the first time since mid-March, as well as Norden station re-opening to passenger use.
Whilst Norden will re-open, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross and Herston will remain closed.
The move comes as the Swanage Railway continues to promote it’s ‘Save Our Service’ Appeal to raise £360,000.
Steam trains will operate non-stop between Swanage and Norden stations from Saturday, 18 July 2020. Trains WILL NOT stop at Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross and Herston Halt.
Monday, 20 July 2020, will see Norden re-open to the public for passengers starting their journey from there.
The steam locomotive that will be hauling the trains will be Southern Railway U Class No. 31806.
Trains will depart Swanage station at 10.30 am 12.00 noon, 1.30 pm and 3 pm.
When trains run, the catering outlets at Swanage and Norden will remain closed.
Swanage Railway chairman Gavin Johns said: “I am delighted to see the return of steam locomotives on our trains and the re-opening of Norden station so that visitors can book a day out at the seaside confident in the knowledge that they will be safe.
“We are gaining confidence in operating and helping our customers to remain safe, so we are bringing back steam locomotives to haul our trains and re-opening Norden station for the first time since mid-March, 2020.
“Everyone intending to travel must have a ticket and seat reservation to ensure social distancing can be maintained. Customers are expected to have face coverings unless there are health grounds not to do so. Full details can be found on our website.
“We are pleased with the progress we are making with re-starting train services after the enforced closure due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Our risk assessment has proven its worth, ensuring that customers and staff can confidently travel with us to enjoy the Swanage Railway and the magnificent Purbeck countryside.
“We are continuing to look at the practicality of re-opening Corfe Castle station and hope to be able to make announcements concerning this station in due course,” added Mr Johns who is a volunteer signalman on the Swanage Railway.
As of Tuesday, 14 July 2020, the ‘Save Our Service’ Appeal had raised £238,937.
Gavin Johns explained: “The Swanage Railway still has considerable work to do to ensure that the impact that the Coronavirus lockdown has had on our finances can be managed to ensure survival to 2021.
“The summer train service – first hauled by heritage diesel locomotives and now steam – is but one part of our survival plan. Continuing to raise awareness and funds through our ‘Save Our Service (S.O.S.) Appeal campaign, we are very grateful and humbled by the support that we are receiving from the public,” he added.
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