The Bluebell Railway has set out plans to reopen on Friday 7 August and mark its 60th birthday.
The heritage railway said the provisional date allowed time for some of its staff and volunteers to return to work in mid-July to carry out the necessary safety checks before running steam trains again.
Bluebell Railway chairman Chris Hunford said: “There will be a phased reopening starting on 7 August and what better way to celebrate the milestone of 60 years of operating than to reopen for business. The railway’s priority will be on providing everyone with a safe and enjoyable day out.”
The railway says it will initially run trains at weekends and then increase its weekday services if there is sufficient demand.
All tickets will be pre-booked and the line will be using its historic carriages comprising compartments rather than open carriages to ensure groups of people can travel together while maintaining social distancing. It will also have dedicated entry and exit lanes at its Sheffield Park headquarters and enhanced train cleaning measures.
Mr Hunford said: “As we take these small steps, our plans will remain under constant review. We would like to thank everyone for their support and patience during the lockdown and, in particular, all those who have given generously to our Emergency Appeal which has raised enough money for now to allow us to reopen.”
The Bluebell Railway has set out more details about its reopening plans on its website at https://www.bluebell-railway.com/news/provisional-reopening-date/
There are also answers to Frequently Asked Questions at https://www.bluebell-railway.com/news/provisional-reopening-date/reopening-faqs/
The first public trains on the reopened Bluebell Railway operating as a heritage line were on 7 August 1960. The railway closed on 20 March this year because of the global pandemic.
Uckfield FM will hopefully be there on the re-opening day to witness the return of eager supporters