It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it!
We know that what Bluebell Railway does best is provide an enjoyable and rewarding steam experience. This page covers some of the new measures that are in place to ensure your visit remains safe and enjoyable.
‘We’re Good to Go’
We have carried out risk assessments for all areas and activities on our railway in accordance with Government regulations and advice, which can be found here.
By putting new measures in place, training staff and ensuring we have thought through how best to look after our visitors and staff we have been awarded the Visit England accreditation – We’re Good To Go.
Find out more about all our new safety measures below:
Find out how Bluebell Railway copes with the challenge of social distancing.
With a special thanks to actor and television presenter MARTIN CLUNES for his contribution.
Here is a photo of Martin at Bluebell Railway, taken in 2014.
Keep your distance
Social distancing should be observed at all times to keep you and our staff safe with a minimum distance of 2 metres.
Be prepared! Bring a face covering
Face coverings must be worn in public places such as on the platforms, in the museum and SteamWorks! and when boarding or alighting from the trains in accordance to Government guidance.
Booking your own compartment on The Pioneer service train means that you are only ever in your own family or group bubble. Compartments must not contain more than six people unless you are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than six.
Extra space in open dining carriages
We have allowed space on the dining carriages to enable social distancing. This means that once all are boarded and under way, you can remove face coverings to enjoy your meal, replacing them before you alight.
To complement our usual high standards of food hygiene, we are producing covered food boxes with breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea for our dining trains. This cuts down on the contact time between visitors and serving staff. These can also be pre-ordered and awaiting you in your compartment on The Pioneer service train.
A new regime of enhanced cleaning across the railway means that compartment and dining carriages will be cleaned between every return trip. Toilets will be cleaned more regularly and special attention paid to hard surfaces like door handles. Where possible, doors will be open to reduce that risk.
To help with social distancing, one-way systems are in place on station platforms and around our museum and SteamWorks! exhibition. Please obey the instructions, except in the case of an emergency evacuation.
Where social distancing is possible, we will open interactive exhibits, but we ask that you use hand sanitiser before and after use and that you wait your turn at a safe distance. These exhibits will be cleaned regularly by our stewards.
Unlike modern trains, we have the luxury of being able to open all our train windows to help with a healthy flow of fresh air. However, please do not lean out of windows as indicated by signage, as this can be dangerous.
Be Prepared! Hand sanitiser
We recommend that you bring your own supply of hand sanitiser and wipes. However, we do have a number of hand sanitising stations around the railway that you can use, for example, before you enter the shop. Our shop has a limited number of face coverings and sanitiser for sale, but we cannot guarantee they will be in stock on the day of your arrival.
BUY YOUR TICKETS
Covid-19 Safety FAQs
What is the latest advice about visiting?
The Government has announced that changes came into force in England on Monday 14 September limiting the number of people who can meet socially. It is against the law to meet people you do not live with in a group larger than six unless you are meeting as a household or support bubble. This means visitors to the Bluebell Railway have to be in groups of six people or fewer unless you are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than six. For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy
What will happen when we arrive at Bluebell Railway?
We will be asking all visitors to confirm who they are, how many people are in their group and confirm that they comply with the new law on group sizes. This will apply to anyone who has pre-booked online and people who turn up on the day for tickets.
Will I have to queue?
There will be a queue upon arrival. Ticket holders are asked to join the queue for their train no more than 10 mins before boarding. Don’t arrive too early, we don’t want you standing around if the weather is either too sunny or too wet. Wait in your car if you are very early or in our riverside picnic area. If starting from Sheffield Park, you cannot access the platform facilities, shop, kiosk, museum or SteamWorks! until after your journey. This helps us manage the number of people on the platforms at any one time. At Horsted Keynes, you will also need to wait in a queue for a short time before boarding. This allows time for the enhanced cleaning of the train between trips. There will also be a short queue on the platform for the shop, as we must limit the number of people inside at any one time. All queues will be clearly marked to aid with social distancing.
But what if I need the toilet or something to drink?
The station toilets at Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes will be open to those waiting to board. Just show your ticket to one of our helpful volunteer guides or station staff if you need access and they will let you in. Our catering staff will also be selling light refreshments from a temporary kiosk at the top of the drive at Sheffield Park. Giving people an opportunity to pick something up on their way in or out, to avoid crowded areas and make use of the picnic area.
How can I help to make sure Bluebell Railway remains safe for all?
Please follow the Government’s general guidance: • HANDS - Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds. • FACE - Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. • SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors). Please wear a face covering while at the Bluebell Railway unless you are exempt. In addition, face coverings can be removed when seated in compartments on trains and for dining services. Our train compartments have carriage windows which will be open at the start of the journey to increase the flow of air. Please follow the signs for queuing and moving about the stations. Our friendly volunteer guides will also help you. For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing
If my compartment is on The Pioneer, then can I fill it with as many people as I like?
The new law applies to compartments on The Pioneer so compartments must not contain more than six people unless you are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than six.
Will there be platform only tickets?
Yes, we are now issuing on-the-day tickets subject to availability and allowing people to visit without having to book for one of our train services.
What if I have symptoms of Covid-19? Can I get a refund?
Please do not travel or come to the railway. Unfortunately we are unable to offer refunds
Will I be able to use the toilets on the train?
No, these will be locked. However, toilets on the station platforms will be open and will be cleaned more regularly.
Have staff been trained in the new measures?
All staff have been fully briefed to ensure standards are met to keep you safe and to look after their well-being too. Measures are in place to ensure they are fit and healthy to work.
How are you monitoring the health and welfare of your volunteers and employees?
All staff have a Covid-19 handbook packed full of relevant advice, information and legislation. They have undergone training in their areas to ensure they are kept safe and know how to help you keep safe too. They have been asked not to attend the railway if they are showing any signs or symptoms of the virus and temperatures are taken when they sign in.