New Hope Valley Railway has implemented a number of protocols and best practices throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of the visitors/guests to our rail yard and aboard our trains, as well as our volunteers who work here, are our top priorities. We continue to follow State of North Carolina and CDC guidance. Here are the many safety measures we are currently implementing:
- Our four passenger cars are “open-air”. Full capacity of each of these cars is 60 riders, with two people on each bench seat. Due to recent changes in State of North Carolina guidance, as well as the CDC stating that there is low likelihood of COVID-19 virus transmission in the open-air, we will no longer be limiting the seating capacity of our passenger cars. Our caboose on the train is enclosed and may be booked by a single family group (up to 10 people) at a price of $100 for private use to enable social distancing from other passengers.
- All guests over four years old are required to wear face coverings while aboard the New Hope Valley Railway and while in the rail yard, unless there are medical reasons which prevent them from doing so. Our volunteers are also required to wear face coverings. Although there have been recent changes in the North Carolina face covering requirements, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Transportation Security Administration TSA rules require passengers and volunteers riding on our trains and in our rail yard to wear face coverings.
- One person per reservation party should check-in at our ticket office upon arrival. We will have our ticket printer outside our ticket office so that you may pick up your tickets in a “touchless” manner.
- Social Distancing of six feet or more still should be practiced throughout the entire property. This includes in the Garden Railway area (which WILL be operating), Gift Shop, rail yard area and other high-traffic areas.
- Hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the property and at each boarding platform for guest and volunteer use.
- To further encourage personal hygiene and social distancing, we will be providing clear and frequent reminders via signage, announcements and volunteer instruction both onboard and while on New Hope Valley Railway property.
- To further implement the most effective touchless and low-touch solution, only cashless transactions will be available at our Gift Shop. Occupancy of this small area will be limited to one family group at a time.
- We will be frequently cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces throughout our property.
- Our volunteers will disinfect each train car prior to each ride.
- A face covering is required for participants in our Operate-a-Loco activity. The engineer wear a face covering. The participant/purchaser of our Operate-a-Loco activity and one guest will be allowed in the cab with the engineer.
- Our birthday party caboose is unavailable to rent until further notice.
Additional Information for Our Passengers
- Stay home if you are ill or exhibiting symptoms of flu or COVID-19. We will work with you to cancel or reschedule your reservations without penalty when done in advance. We will ask you several health screening questions when you check in.
- Please arrive 30 minutes before your ride time as our boarding process will be a little longer to allow proper social distancing.
- Follow proper hand-washing practices.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissue in trash.
- Be courteous in enclosed spaces and walkways and allow ample space for passing and social distancing.
- Follow directional signs and staff instructions.
- Remain seated in your assigned passenger coach during your round trip and follow the car host’s instruction during boarding and at the end of the train ride.
- All volunteers will receive daily health screenings with temperature and symptom checks and when signing in, must certify that they are symptom-free.
- Any volunteer exhibiting symptoms will be asked to return/stay home.
- All volunteers will be required to wear face coverings.