Following Government advice on social distancing, the closure of pubs and with the wellbeing of employees and volunteers in mind, East Lancs Railway has made the difficult decision to stop running all services with immediate effect.
Bury Transport Museum and the railway’s two pubs, the Trackside and Buffer Stops, will also be closed to the public.
The East Lancashire Railway passenger services department will be in touch directly with customers who are booked onto Diner services and other pre-booked events.
Where a service has been withdrawn, all customers are entitled to a refund. The railway is calling for customers to take up the offer of a voucher or a rebooking to help with its cash flow challenges during this difficult time.
Mike Kelly, Chairman of East Lancashire Railway, said: “Our heritage railway plays an important role in the lives of volunteers, our paid employees and visitors of all ages – providing a place of work, for people to socialise, meet fellow train lovers, learn about the past and generally enjoy themselves.
“While everything is being done to help protect this experience for generations to come, we are facing a very uncertain time, as keeping our employees, volunteers and the public safe may require us to close our doors for an extended period.
“If this happens, the financial impact could threaten our continued existence. We have set up an East Lancashire Railway Support Fund so that friends of the railway can show their support for an organisation that has brought so much joy to people’s lives.”
The railway is keeping the situation under constant review and will continue to closely follow updates and guidance from the Government as the situation develops.
Mike added: “As a registered charity this is devastating for us. We rely heavily on our generated income and this is highly likely to have severe financial consequences for us, but it is important we do our part to protect our employees, the public, and particularly our older volunteers. Please support us the best you can during this time to ensure our survival.”