2020 Season at Summerfields’ Miniature Railways

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By Tony Bullock

This has been a very strange year for our club as it has been for us all. Just as we were about to open we found ourselves locked down, not allowed to be at our site, no way of earning funds but still with bills to pay, A grim outlook – would we survive?

As we moved forward ways were found to visit the site within the rules and some maintenance tasks were undertaken. Long distance socialising whilst working helped us as well. Lock down was eased and our thoughts turned to the possibility of running trains. Arrangements to ensure social distancing, sanitising carriages and locos, card payments, web booking, all with safety in mind, had to be sorted out. Steam locomotives need constant attention, so to maintain service efficiency battery and internal combustion engines would only be used. Trains consisted of a loco, a 2 metre coupling bar and a coach for up to a 6 person bubble. 

After fixing all the requirements we were able to open to the public in late July running a strict timetable of 53 trains per day. Pre-booking timed trains was via our website and contactless payment on arrival on site.  Club members got behind the scheme and we operated in this new challenging way two days a week until the schools reopened.

Following this we remained open on Sundays only until late October. All very strange and the support received from the public was extremely encouraging. The club thanks all our visitors for their patience and generosity. Staff worked hard and gave a lot of time but it was very worthwhile.

Happily, we survive to fight another day, although we were not able to run our annual Santa Specials due to another lockdown. Now we look forward to 2021 and hope that some form of normality will return allowing us to run a full season of trains.

Many thanks to all our visitors and our club members who turned what seemed a bad year into one which we survived for the future.