Successful trial for steam trains to return at Kent & East Sussex Railway

A trial of the new Covid-protection measures at the Kent & East Sussex Railway was a steaming success. This means everything is finally in place for the summer season to start this weekend.

Dozens of railway volunteers and members went on Sunday’s test trips to make sure all the essential Covid-10 protections are working.

The railway’s general manager Shaun Dewey said “The season was due to start in April 2020, but the lockdown meant we had no choice but to stay closed until now.


“A great deal of planning and work has gone into the reopening of the Kent & East Sussex Railway ready to welcome the public from Saturday 18th July, as we want all our staff and customers to both feel safe as well as be safe when they travel with us.

“The trial was an ideal test of the revised procedures put in place; from online advance booking, one way systems, social distancing and cleaning regimes which will all continue for our services from this Saturday onwards.”

Among those taking part in Sunday’s trial was Kevin Boorman, manager of 1066 Country Marketing. He said:- “I was very impressed with all of the special precautions that had been taken to make the railway ‘Covid compliant’, a lot of work had clearly gone into this.


“It was great to see this important visitor attraction open again, supporting vital jobs both directly and in the wider area. I do hope that reopening the railway is the success it deserves to be.”

An initial slimmed-down weekends-only timetable begins on Saturday 18th July, with two steamhauled round-trips running passengers on a scenic journey through the Rother Valley from Tenterden Town to Bodiam. Passengers will enjoy a brief rest at Bodiam station before returning to Tenterden on their scheduled return journey.

Trains will leave Tenterden Town at 10:40 and 13:15 on Saturdays and Sundays. The return journey takes approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes. Bookings must be made online in advance.


Tables for a family of up to four in the open-plan carriages will be staggered to ensure social distancing. Face masks must be worn and these 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.

To book tickets to visit and for additional information about the railway visit


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Shannon Butcher
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