The Severn Valley Railway (SVR) will welcome back ‘hop on, hop off’ passengers to all regular services from September 7.
Passengers at the SVR’s forthcoming Autumn Steam and Diesel Galas will also now be able to choose their itineraries, rather than travelling on designated trains as previously planned.
Since the SVR reopened in August 2020 after the first lockdown, the railway has been running fixed excursion services. Passengers have previously had exclusive use of a private compartment for the whole of their visit.
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This proved popular with visitors, and gave many the confidence to return to the railway, whilst it was permitted to operate in accordance with government restrictions.
‘Delicate balancing act’ – SVR
Helen Smith, SVR’s general manager, said: “We’ve thought long and hard about making this latest change.”
“It’s been a delicate balancing act between operating safely and returning to our traditional way of operating. With the progressive easing of government restrictions and the success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, we think now is the right time to go back to a more traditional service at the SVR.
“We know that many people will be thrilled to see a return to local services, giving them the freedom to plan their own journeys. Our freedom-of-the-line tickets, available online or at booking offices, give visitors the flexibility to board any train at any station throughout the day. For those who just want to travel between stations, on-the-day tickets will be available at booking offices.
“We will continue to offer a small number of private pre-bookable compartments, where passengers are guaranteed exclusive use of a compartment on a single train, throughout the day. We know there’s still a demand for these, and the high numbers of 5* reviews we’ve received on TripAdvisor in recent months show how much people have appreciated the way we’ve done things during the pandemic.
The railway will contact passengers with private compartment bookings for September, including those for the Autumn Steam Gala in September, offering the choice of keeping these, or swopping for flexible tickets.
The Autumn Steam Gala takes place September 16-19. Tickets are on sale now.
The Autumn Diesel Gala takes place on September 30 to October 3. Tickets go on sale at 10am on August 19, when the VIP guest locomotives will also be announced.
For more information and to book tickets, visit www.svr.co.ukEnjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.