The Severn Valley Railway has announced it will reopen for daily passenger services from Saturday 1 August with a range of excursions aimed at bringing families together.
Tickets must be booked in advance and will go on sale at 11am on Monday 6 July.
Helen Smith, General Manager at Severn Valley Railway, said: “We are hugely excited to be making this announcement after three and a half months of enforced closure because of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve put a great deal of thought and planning into our offering and have been careful to balance the need for social distancing and other safety measures, with making sure our visitors enjoy a long-awaited and exciting day out.”
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The railway will use compartment carriages to allow each group to travel separately. An all-in price of £75 per compartment will cover travel for up to six people.
Two trains will depart from Kidderminster and one from Bridgnorth each morning, taking passengers the full 16 miles length of the line and back. There will be a stop-off at The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley, and those who start their journey from Bridgnorth will also have the option of stop-offs at the Georgian town of Bewdley, and at Kidderminster with its Railway Museum. Pre-booked wheelchair accommodation is available on all services.
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Visitors will be able to purchase food and drinks at both refreshment rooms at Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, and there’ll be a wide selection of heritage railway-related souvenirs on sale in the gift shops. The Severn Valley Railway’s pubs at both these locations will also be open.
At The Engine House Visitor Centre travellers can get up close to impressive exhibition locomotives and carriages, and immerse themselves in the early history of the railway. There’s also a brand-new exhibition telling the story of how the Victorians constructed the viaduct at Falling Sands. The Engine House café has balcony views across the Severn Valley and there’s a gift shop.
It’s planned that each of the three daily services will be steam-hauled, and over the coming weeks the railway’s engineers will prepare the locomotives and carriages that will be needed for service.
SVR loyalty pass holders and shareholders will receive a full discount on the £75 compartment charge, by using their pass number, and SVR members will receive a discount of £7.50.
Helen Smith added: “At this early stage of reopening, things won’t be exactly the same as before, it’s true. However, we can promise our visitors the chance to get away from it all. They’ll enjoy a full day out, experiencing the thrill of heritage steam travel and they’ll have the opportunity to explore some of the other attractions of the beautiful Severn Valley. We recently carried out a survey of more than 4,500 visitors and many of them can’t wait to come back, so we’re expecting a large demand for tickets.
“It’s very important that the railway starts to generate some passenger income. These months of closure have had a devastating impact on our finances, and we want to make sure we have a sustainable future. Thanks to generous donations we’ve raised more than £750,000 for our Fight Back Fund, and this, together with that fact that we’re getting the railway back in steam, will help to see us through. We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone back at the SVR!”
For full details of travel times and itineraries, and to book tickets from 11am on Monday 6 July visit svr.co.uk or phone 01562 757900.
Pre-booking is essential and no on-the-day tickets will be available. To donate to the SVR’s Fight Back Fund, please visit svrtrust.org.ukEnjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.