HERITAGE LINES CLOSE AS UK SHUTS DOWN
Published at 09:00 on Wednesday 18th March 2020
Tags: Coronavirus, Heritage Lines, Galas
Class 31/1 No. 31203 climbs towards Furness Sidings with a service from Blaenavon Low Level on 15th October 2011. The Pontypool & Blaenavon is one of the railways that has closed in the crisis. Brian Garrett
While still very early days for the Covid-19 virus in the United Kingdom, its effects are starting to be felt across the railway community.
A number of model railway shows have been cancelled or postponed across the country, and the numerous heritage lines have been affected. In addition to the North Norfolk Railway changing its late March Spring Steam Gala to a home based affair, a number of other railways are taking measures to reduce the financial effects of events and protect staff, volunteers and passengers.
Today's changes are shown in bold.
- Bressingham Steam & Gardens has cancelled its May Steam Gala, and the site remains closed until 27th March at present.
- The North Norfolk Railway has now postponed its home fleet gala on 27th-29th March.
- The Chasewater Railway has cancelled all events until June.
- The Great Central Railway has cancelled its forthcoming 'Goods Galore' gala on 28th/29th March, and its model railway event on 19th-21st June.
- On the Severn Valley Railway, the decision has been taken to cancel its Spring Steam Gala, Open House Weekend, Spring Diesel Festival and the 50th Anniversary Event.
- The 'Victorian Easter' event at the Tanfield Railway has been postponed.
- The West Somerset Railway has cancelled its Spring Steam Gala event that was planned for 23rd-26th April.
- On the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, its ‘Wartime in the Cotswolds’ on 27th/28th April has been cancelled while the popular ‘Cotswold Festival of Steam’ on 23rd-25th May has been postponed.
- The April Diesel Gala and Beer Festival on the Swanage Railway has been postponed until the autumn.
- The Ribble Steam Railway will operate its gala as planned on 28th/29th March, with its resident fleet, although its visiting locomotive, Waleswood is no longer visiting.
- The East Lancashire Railway has postponed its 'Scotsman on Stage' event on 21st/22nd March.
- The Mid-Norfolk Railway has postponed its planned major diesel gala event that was due to take place from 3rd-5th April. The event will now be held between 3rd and 5th July.
- Darlington Locomotive Works has also closed, with the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust postponing its normal twice-monthly Open Days
- The North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Society (NELPG) has also ceased its open days at Darlington Hopetown Works (normally the third Saturday of each month) until further notice.
- The Aln Valley Railway has cancelled its Greenrigg Halt Opening Day on 3rd April, and its Music Festival on 25th/26th May.
- All special events on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway are cancelled until mid-July.
- The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway has postponed its diesel gala that was due to take place over 27th-29th March
- The North of England Open Air Museum at Beamish has confirmed that it will close its doors on Friday 20th March, until further notice.
- All heritage operations and tours on Blackpool Trams have been suspended until further notice, although the timetabled service using modern light rail vehicles is still in full operation.
- Due to the latest recommendations around avoiding unnecessary travel and a reduction in available volunteers, several railways have closed. These include the Aln Valley Railway (until end of April), Barrow Hill Roundhouse (UFN), Battlefield (UFN), Bodmin & Wenford (until further notice (UFN)), Chasewater (until June), Chinnor & Princes Risborough (until 26th April), Churnet Valley (until 8th May), Crich Tramway Village (until late March), Dean Forest (until end of April), Didcot Railway Centre (until 3rd April), Downpatrick & County Down (UFN), East Anglian Railway Museum (UFN), Ecclesbourne Valley (until 5th April), Embsay & Bolton Abbey (until April), Foxfield (UFN), Gloucestershire-Warwickshire (UFN), Great Central Railway (Nottingham) (until 1st May), Gwili (UFN), Lincolnshire Wolds (UFN), Keighley & Worth Valley (UFN), Keith & Dufftown (UFN), Mangapps Farm (UFN), Mid-Norfolk (until 2nd May), Mid-Hants (until end of May), Midland Railway-Butterley (UFN), Nene Valley (short-term), Northampton & Lamport (UFN), North Norfolk (until 3rd April at present), North Yorkshire Moors (UFN), Peak Rail (UFN), Pontypool & Blaenavon (until 3rd May), Royal Deeside (UFN), Rushden Transport Museum (UFN), Severn Valley (until early April), South Devon (until 16th May), Stainmore (UFN), Strathspay (until May), Swanage (suspended until 1st May at present), Swindon & Cricklade (until late April), Wensleydale (UFN), and the West Somerset (UFN) railways.
- On the Narrow Gauge lines, Amerton (UFN), Bala Lake (until 10th April), Brecon Mountain (UFN), Bristol Harbour (UFN), Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways (UFN), Leighton Buzzard (UFN), North Ings Farm Museum (UFN), Royal Gunpower Mills (UFN), Sittingbourne & Kemsley (until May), Statfold Barn (UFN), Steeple Grange Light Railway (UFN), Talyllyn (until 4th April), Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway (UFN), Vale of Rheidol (UFN), West Lancashire (UFN) railways have all ceased operations.
- As of 18th March, the Science Museum in London, National Railway Museum at York, Locomotion at Shildon and Museum of Science & Industry at Manchester are closed.
- A full list of how the main line railtour industry is being affected and is reacting can be found on our Railtour Listings page.
Last updated: 20:18 on 19th March 2020