A POPULAR railway has set the wheels in motion for a return on August 7.

The Bluebell Railway has chosen the date to coincide with its 60th anniversary.

The 11-mile stretch of heritage railway, which takes passengers through glorious Sussex countryside between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, started running train services in August 1960.

But, in March this year, the attraction was forced to temporarily close due to the coronavirus crisis and resulting lockdown.

Now, owners are eyeing up an early August return to celebrate the line’s 60th year of operations.

Bluebell Railway chairman Chris Hunford said: “There will be a phased reopening starting on August 7,and what better way to celebrate the milestone of 60 years of operating than to reopen for business.

“The railway’s priority will be on providing everyone with a safe and enjoyable day out.”

Trains will initially run at weekends, with a gradual introduction in weekday services if there is sufficient demand.

All tickets will have to be pre-booked and services will use historic carriages which contain compartments, rather than open carriages, so groups from the same household can travel together in a contained environment.

Mr Hunford said: “As we take these small steps, our plans will remain under constant review.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support and patience during the lockdown and, in particular, all those who have given generously to our emergency appeal which has raised enough money for now to allow us to reopen.”