Severn Valley Railway restarts passenger services
A heritage railway has reopened after more than four months of closure due to coronavirus.
The Severn Valley Railway [SVR] has been losing about £500,000 a month due to the closure.
SVR was fully booked up for Saturday's reopening, with passenger groups of up to six having their own compartment to enable social distancing.
The railway's general manager said resuming services would help "break even" rather than making a profit.
Helen Smith said the closure due to the pandemic had had a "devastating impact on our finances".
About £800,000 has been raised through an emergency appeal to support the railway during its closure.
"Once we get to September we are hoping to move back to more than a normal service," she said.
"This just gets us up and running and it gets the volunteers back to the railway."
SVR reopened with three trains taking passengers along the full 16 miles of the line, from Kidderminster in Worcestershire to Bridgnorth in Shropshire, and back.
It was running trains on Monday, ahead of reopening, in order to test its Covid-secure operation and cleaning regimes.
After so long away from the engines, driver Gary Townley said: "It feels really funny just feeling the beat of the engine and everything.
"You think 'Wow, this is great to be back'."
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