The Bala Lake Railway has become the first of the Welsh narrow gauge lines to reopen following the Covid-19 pandemic, announcing a resumption of services from Thursday 9th July.
The move, a major boost in the region that is home to most of the UK’s leading narrow gauge lines, comes after the Welsh Government relaxed a number of restrictions, including a five-mile travel rule. The Bala line has made a number of provisions to ensure it can safely operate, including mandatory pre-booking of tickets, social distancing and enhanced cleaning of its trains.>
In further good news for the sector, the Snowdon Mountain Railway announced an intended resumption of services from 10th July, and the Fairbourne Railway from 14th July.
Leading Welsh lines the Ffestiniog, Talyllyn and Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railways are known to be working towards reopening dates, but the Vale of Rheidol Railway is not currently expected to run at all in 2020.
The weekend of 4th-5th July saw a number of 15-inch gauge lines in England back in action, including the Evesham Vale, Heatherslaw, Perrygrove and Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railways, while the 2ft gauge Groudle Glen and Laxey Mines lines on the Isle of Man also resumed services.
For in-depth coverage on how railways are dealing with the effects of Covid-19 see the latest edition of Narrow Gauge World, available here.