The Kent & East Sussex Railway is reopening this month. Initially, there will be a slimmed-down timetable with two steam-hauled round-trips from Tenterden to Bodiam on Saturdays and Sundays, starting on 18 July.
André Freeman, Commercial Manager said: “We’re delighted to be back. The safety of our visitors and colleagues continues to be our top priority and we’ve worked hard to make sure that it’s a fun experience too! In this first step of our phased reopening, we’re reducing the number of people we welcome each day and to help us to achieve that, we’re asking everyone to book online in advance.
We’ll initially be operating two departures each day between Tenterden and Bodiam only. Tickets must be pre-booked online at least 24 hours in advance and entry to Tenterden Town and Bodiam stations will be available only to pre-booked ticket-holders.
Our steam-hauled trains will run on Saturdays and Sundays only, but we’ll keep this under review and adjust our services according to demand. Trains won’t be stopping at Rolvenden, Wittersham Rd. or Northiam stations and Bodiam station will remain closed other than to allow pre-booked customers to alight and rejoin their train.
“We’re expecting a high demand and recommend early booking.”
Trains will leave Tenterden Town station at 10:40 and 13:15 and the return journey takes one hour and 50 minutes.
Tables for a family of up to four in the open-plan carriages will be staggered to ensure social distancing. Face coverings must be worn and masks can be bought at the station.
Exclusive compartments for family groups of up to eight people are available in one of the railway’s vintage carriages.
Family Return Journey tickets for groups of up to four people travelling in an open-plan carriage are £45. Tickets for up to eight people travelling together in an exclusive compartment are £75.
Tickets are valid for one return journey, by the same train, between Tenterden and Bodiam.
There are a limited number of wheelchair spaces suitable for a user and up to three accompanying family members.
Dogs go free but must remain under control within their designated area.
There is free parking at Tenterden station, where entry to the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum is also free when trains are operating. A social distancing one-way system is in place.
Light snacks for takeaway will be available to purchase by card payment at Tenterden station and some outdoor tables are available for customer use.
The Gift Shop will be open when trains operate, with a one way system in place. There is an online shop where customers can purchase K&ESR Gift Cards.
André Freeman said: “We are proud to have been granted the Visit England ‘We’re Good to Go’ Industry Standard mark, demonstrating that we have followed Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, have Risk Assessments in place and a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.”
For customers requiring wheelchair access, a specially designed open-plan railway carriage “Petros” offers ramped wheelchair access, wide aisles, moveable seating and an accessible toilet and can be booked online.
To book tickets to visit and for additional information about the railway visit www.kesr.org.uk