17 July 2020
The UK’s two leading narrow gauge lines have both announced their return to operation following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ffestiniog Railway will begin running trains again on 20th July, and the Talyllyn Railway will follow suit on 1st August.
Both lines have undertaken a number of measures to protect visitors and staff. All tickets are pre-booked only, to both allow the control of numbers and provide traceability in case of a Covid-19 infection.
Both lines will also be using older heritage rolling stock with separate compartments accessed by their own doors, as this makes it easier to socially distance passengers.
The Ffestiniog will only run between Porthmadog and Tan y Bwlch and its sister Welsh Highland Railway, which has no separate compartment stock, will remain closed for the present.
The third of what many regard as the ‘premier lines’, the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, is also expected to reopen in August, though dates have yet to be confirmed. However the Vale of Rheidol Railway has confirmed that it will stay closed for the whole of 2020.
Visitors to the Ffestiniog Railway will no doubt be looking out for newly restored England 0-4-0ST ‘Welsh Pony’ (pictured). Steamed for the first time in preservation on 27th June, the loco is expected to be taking test trains in the coming weeks.
For the latest on the railway revivals, check out the Narrow Gauge World Facebook page.
Photo: Chris Parry/FF&WHR