Severn Valley Railway defends criticism that it may attract people from Tier 3 areas

A leading heritage railway in Shropshire has moved to defend itself amid criticism it may attract passengers from Covid Tier 3 areas to the county.

Severn Valley Railway
Severn Valley Railway

Severn Valley Railway (SVR), which has its main Bridgnorth and Kidderminster stations under Tier 2 restrictions, opened today to resume its popular Christmas services.

But after it announced it would welcome back customers in line with government guidelines, residents raised concerns it may encourage people from counties with tighter restrictions to visit Shropshire.

In response, the railway's general manager said it was "not in a position" to police members of the public, who would instead be reminded of Government guidelines and their own responsibility to stay within their home county's Tier restrictions.

Helen Smith, general manager of SVR, said: "We are not in a position to advise any visitors on whether they can travel with us or not.

"Quite simply, that is not our role, and we do not have authority to give such advice.

"Instead, we are referring visitors to the government’s guidelines.

"If anyone has pre-booked tickets but decides it is not appropriate for them to travel, we are offering no-quibble refunds."

Initially, the railway announced online residents from Tier 3 areas with pre-booked tickets could attend its stations, but quickly amended the post following feedback.

Ms Smith added: "We are very pleased that we are able to reopen the railway on Thursday, under the government's post-lockdown arrangements.


"Under these guidelines we are permitted to operate our full programme of Christmas services, as planned.

"We have taken every care to ensure our visitors will stay safe.

"Groups travel in their own private compartment or at a table set at an appropriate distance from other people.

"We ask people to observe social distancing and wear masks when on our platforms, inside buildings and inside train corridors.

"We have fogged all our carriages using a special anti-viral treatment, and we are carrying out enhanced cleaning regimes."

It comes as other attractions face similar circumstances.

At Ludlow Racecourse, manager Simon Sherwood said people from Tier 3 would not be allowed in and that "it's up to the individuals' conscience as [much as] it is up to us to check them out."

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