VOLUNTEERS at Blaenavon Heritage Railway have been reflecting on a tough year, but are pleased to announce they will be reopening on May 1, subject to easing of restrictions.

Overall, whilst the railway took in £119,237 through ticket sales in 2019, provisional figures suggest last year was closer to £20,000.

Secretary Jamie Warner says the pandemic hit the volunteer-run initiative hard, but says he is proud that they’ve come out the other side.

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He thanked the public, whose donations have helped to keep the railway going.

“We’ve focused our spending on only essential maintenance. Our volunteers have understood the situation, and stepped up to every challenge,” he said.

“When the railway reopens, we’ll initially continue operating to the social distancing and cleaning arrangements introduced last year.

“All passengers will need to pre-book tickets in advance, with each individual households occupying their own private compartment.

“Our tearoom will be open for takeaway service, with the station gift shop welcoming visitors in controlled numbers.

“We initially plan to operate a simple service between our base at Furnace Sidings in Garn-yr-Erw and the Whistle Inn and Blaenavon High Level.

“As restrictions ease further we will then look to operate an enhanced service and explore options to run special events.”