Welcome to the Severn Valley Railway Volunteer Liaison Office

 

About the Severn Valley Railway

In just over three decades, the Severn Valley Railway has graduated from relative obscurity to great prominence in British railway preservation. Nowadays, the initials SVR are not solely part of the specialist jargon of keen railway enthusiasts - although the line is still happily invaded during the popular Enthusiast Weekends. Increasingly, the general public has visited the line, thanks partly to extensive TV coverage, which has ensured that very few weeks pass without Severn Valley steam trains appearing on TV screens across the nation.

Services run every weekend of the year and daily at peak times (see the timetable for details). Our Santa special trains on weekends in December with a daily service operating from Boxing Day through to the New Year.

What constitutes the Severn Valley Railway?

It is a full-size standard-gauge line running regular passenger trains for the benefit of tourists and enthusiasts alike between Kidderminster in Worcestershire and Bridgnorth in Shropshire, a distance of 16 miles. The journey is full of interest, for the route follows closely the meandering course of the River Severn for most of the way; one highlight of the trip is the crossing of the river by means of the Victoria Bridge - a massive 200-foot single span, high above the water. There being few roads in the valley, some of the views are only visible from the Railway; the scenery is varied and largely unspoiled, punctuated by the quaint old world charm of country stations, each one giving ready access to local villages and riverside walks.

The Preservation Scheme

Severn Valley line preservation dates from 1965, when a group of railway enthusiasts formed the Severn Valley Railway Society at Kidderminster. Initial efforts succeeded in raising 10 per cent of £25,000 purchase price for the closed 5-mile section of the Severn Valley line from Bridgnorth to Alveley. By 1967 the first rolling stock, an engine and four coaches, had been received. The next three years were spent in restoring the line to operating condition, and obtaining the legal authority, a Light Railway Order, from the Ministry of Transport, gained only after experiencing considerable difficulties. The section from Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade was opened for public passenger services in May 1970 and the remainder of the purchase price was paid shortly afterwards.

Following the closure of Alveley Colliery in 1969 and cessation of Bewdley passenger services in 1970, a campaign was mounted to raise a further £110,000 of which £74,000 was spent on purchasing the railway from Alveley through Bewdley to Foley Park, near Kidderminster, where an end-on connection was made with British Railways. Spearheaded by the late Sir Gerald Nabarro, the fund raising was successful, and after a huge effort by Severn Valley engineering volunteers, the line was reopened, at first to Highley in April 1974, and one month later to Bewdley.

The 2-mile section from Bewdley to Foley Park though bought by the Severn Valley Railway in 1974, was for a decade only used on special occasions, mainly by Severn Valley Railway steam trains at Enthusiasts Weekends, by BR diesel units at peak Saturdays and Bank Holidays, and by BR diesel locomotive-hauled long-distance excursions. The British Sugar Corporation sidings at Foley Park became disused in 1982, and in 1983-4 over £370,000 was raised by share issue, £80,000 of which was used to fund the purchase of the stretch of line between Foley Park and Kidderminster Junction. The balance of the money raised was used to develop the former BR goods yard site in Comberton Hill, Kidderminster, to form a new SVR passenger station designated 'Kidderminster Town'. The new section from Bewdley to Kidderminster Town was opened to passenger services on 30 July 1984. The SVR now has a collection of approximately 26 steam and 12 Diesel locomotives and a collection of over 100 historic mainline carriages all of which have their own fascinating histories, so why not come and be part of our living museum.

 

Victoria Bridge in High Summer

Stainer 8F at Bewdley

Stanier 8F 48773 at Bewdley, the 8F's were once common on coal trains to Alveley and Highley.

The Second Loco to arrive on the SVR, 46443 has spent more years on the Severn Valley (1967 - Present) than it ever did with BR (1951-1967).

 

 

Websites

Severn Valley Railway

Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust