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Severn Valley Railway celebrates 40 years with steam special

 

Severn Valley Railway will be celebrating its 40th anniversary with a special steam train ride.

 
The Severn Valley Railway's train builds up a head of steam at Bewdley Station.

THE Severn Valley Railway will be celebrating 40 years and nearly two million miles of steam passenger trains with a special ride this weekend.

Back in May 1970, a team of voluntary train enthusiasts officially re-opened the first section of the Severn Valley line which British Rail had closed almost seven years before.

Visitors to the Bridgnorth station on Sunday can witness and take part in a similar journey at the same time, from the same platform used in the first trip. SVR marketing manager John Leach said: “To anyone discovering the Severn Valley Railway for the first time, it’s very hard to imagine that it all started with a derelict station choked by weeds, where British Rail had lifted much of the track, demolished the signal box and ripped out all the signalling equipment, or that we had no steam locomotives, no carriages, no money and no wealthy benefactors.

“What we did have though was a dream, and people of incredible resolve and fortitude to see the project through,” he added. “It has been an amazing success story.”

The railway line is now a 16-mile route from Bridgnorth, reconnected to the national network at Kidderminster, carrying more than a quarter of a million passengers, and bringing in more than £6 million a year in revenue.

Guests on board the official 40th anniversary train will include several of the pioneers who formed the Severn Valley Railway Society at a meeting in the Cooper’s Arms pub, in Kidderminster, in 1965.

And just as in 1970, the train will be waved away from the platform by the Mayor of Bridgnorth at 2pm.

To mark the 40th anniversary it will stop briefly at Erdington, the intermediate halt between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade, which has not been served by timetabled trains for many years.

The anniversary train is being run as part of day’s advertised service of ten trains in each direction and seats will be available to the public, subject to availability

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