Just the ticket! Bodmin & Wenford Railway has scooped up an award recognising its work in recent years to improve the experience, which happens to be Cornwall’s only full-size railway still operated by steam locomotives.
The award comes after the railway team had to look at different ways of running the business post-Covid, including the introduction of an online booking system for tickets which has helped manage the flow of customers more efficiently, and a pre-ordering food system which has reduced waste in the coffee shop.
The railway was, like many other attractions and businesses, closed for the majority of 2020 due to the pandemic, so when the team made the decision to reopen in 2021, they wanted to look at running the business with a fresh perspective, which was made possible with the addition of a new commercial team in March 2021.
With the online booking system ensuring the railway could manage social distancing between visitors, an innovative ploy to address the less popular time slots was introduced - offering a cream tea special for the last train, which saw an income of £20,000 generated from the sale of 2,281 cream tea tickets sold online.
While people booked their tickets, they were also given the opportunity to choose their food options to minimise food waste in the cafe. The onsite cafe was part of the overall refurbishment of the business and was renamed The Cornish Rail Coffee Co.
Along with these changes to the railway, the business also looked at marketing opportunities, with new leaflets and regular use of social media to promote railway events, such as their popular Murder Mystery events.
The railway’s marketing and commercial coordinator Jenna Kirkpatrick, business manager Julie Burley and Michelle Moses from accounts attended the Heritage Railway Association’s recent awards ceremony, where they received the award for large groups.
Jenna said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. It is a testament to all the hard work that the staff and volunteers have put in over the past 12 months.”
For more information about Bodmin & Wenford Railway, go to https://bodminrailway.co.uk/