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A Prominent Line in British Railway Preservation

The 16 mile Severn Valley Railway in Worcestershire and Shropshire is one of the longest preserved railways in Britain and at peak times provides a service which requires five trains in operation.

Getting there

By train - Kidderminster main line station on the Worcester to Stourbridge and Birmingham Snow Hill line is adjacent to the SVR station and is frequently served by London Midland and Chiltern Railways trains. Through tickets to Bridgnorth are available form other national rail stations.

By car - There is ample pay and display parking at Kidderminster, the SVR car park is to the right of the station building, there is another pay and display car park between the SVR and main line stations operated by Network Rail. refer to the map above for directions and look for the brown tourist signs. There is also ample pay and display parking at Bridgnorth station.

Map

The map below shows the location of all the stations on the Severn Valley Railway, click on any of the markers to see the station name and postcode (where known). Use the zoom and pan tools to explore the map.

Attractions and Facilities

There is plenty to see and do along the railway, there are toilets at all stations, excluding the halts. Toilets with full disabled access are available at Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. The following attractions and facilities can be found at or near the stations en route:

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Operation

Service

A steam service (diesel on special events) is operated daily from May to September plus weekends throughout the year, Christmas and school holidays with ten trains each way at peak times. Download the timetable by clicking on the image under links below for details.

Locomotives

The Severn Valley Railway has a varied collection of steam and diesel locomotives, too many to list here (search the locomotive database on UK heritage railways for full list, see link below).

Examples include:

Some of the locomotives that are not currently in service may be found at the Engine House Visitor and Education Centre at Highley.

Stock

BR Mk 1 coaches are outnumbered by ex GWR, LMS & LNER coaches.

The Coalyard Miniature Railway at Kidderminster station operates at weekends.

Links

Severn Valley Railway at a Glance

Type: Preserved Railway

Gauge: Standard, 4’ 8½” (1435mm)

Length: 16 miles

Stations: 6 + 2 halts

First opened: 1862

Closed: 1963 (Passenger) 1969 (Freight)

Re-opened in preservation: 1970

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Kidderminster
Town
Bewdley
Northwood
Halt
Arley
Highley
Country
Park Halt
Hampton
Loade
Bridgnorth

Headquarters Address:





Telephone:

email:

Severn Valley Railway Co Ltd,
Railway Station,
Bewdley,
Worcs.
DY12 1BG

01299 403816

none given

Map | Getting there | Attractions & Facilities | Operation | Brief History | Review | Links

Brief History

1862 - Following four years of construction, the 40 mile Severn Valley Railway opened between Hartlebury, near Droitwich, and Shrewsbury.

1870 - The line was absorbed into the Great Western Railway.

1878 - A further line was built from Bewdley to Kidderminster thus creating a triangle between Hartlebury, Kidderminster and Bewdley and enabling trains to run directly to the West Midlands.

Although the Severn Valley line provided an essential service to the area, particularly during the Second World War, it was never financially successful. However, despite traffic being affected by the increasing use of road transportation, the line remained open.

1948 - Britain’s railways were nationalised, the GWR became the Western Region of British Railways.

British Railways made economies by introducing diesel railcars and multiple units on certain services but some remained steam operated.

1963 - The BR regions were reorganised and the Severn Valley line fell within the London Midland Region borders. The line was closed to through passenger and freight services. However, coal traffic from Alveley Colliery continued.

1965 - A group of enthusiasts held a series of meetings in the Coopers Arms pub in Kidderminster, as a result the Severn Valley Railway Society was formed. The five mile stretch from Bridgnorth to Alveley was earmarked for preservation, the track north of Bridgnorth had been lifted and the line south from Aveley was still in use.

1967 - A locomotive and four coaches had been acquired and over the next three years work was carried out on restoring the track to operating condition and obtaining a Light Railway Order.

1969 - Alveley Colliery closed. a few passenger services remained linking Bewdley with Hartlebury and Kidderminster until 1970.

1970 - The Severn Valley Railway was opened to passenger services between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade, efforts were then concentrated on purchasing the line from Alveley to Foley Park near Kidderminster where a connection to the main line could be made.

1974 - The line was opened to Highley, then to Bewdley.

1984 - New station complex on the former goods yard in Kidderminster opened.

2006 - Kidderminster station completed with the addition of a glazed concourse canopy and a purpose built refreshment room and hospitality facility.

Along with the restoration of the Severn Valley railway, a boiler repair facility was built at Bridgnorth and a carriage restoration and maintenance facility at Kidderminster.

2009 - The Engine House Visitor and Education Centre at Highley was completed.

 

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Review

The Severn Valley Railway has grown from relative obscurity to become one of Britain’s premier heritage railways.

I visited the SVR via Kidderminster station in 2009, at that time I didn’t know that the SVR had built a new station at kidderminster and was a little confused at seeing the small modern main line station 50 metres from the majestic GWR structure before me.

I soon found out that the SVR had developed the former goods yard and built the station in the 1980s, the station is based on the design of the GWR station at Ross on Wye and was opened in 1984. It really is a magnificent building and has a terrific atmosphere, you would not guess that it is new.

I had plenty of time to look around the whole site soaking up the period atmosphere, it was quite a walk in itself! The museum is interesting and incorporates a tea room, there is also a licensed restaurant and the appropriately named ‘King and Castle’ pub.

The 16 mile journey from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth takes about 70 minutes but there’s no way you would want to do this in both directions without stopping off at Highley to visit the Engine House Visitor and Education Centre. The return fare includes admission to the Engine House and although I have not been there myself yet, from what I have seen on the website a visit is a must as part of your journey on the Severn Valley Railway.

The first part of the line is unremarkable but once through the 480 yard Foley Park Tunnel, the landscape becomes altogether different with heathland bordering the railway.

The engineering highlight of the line is located between Bewdley and Arley, the 200ft (61m) span Victoria Bridge designed by John Fowler, who later designed the Forth Bridge. When completed in 1861 it was the longest cast iron clear span in the world.

Like all the other preserved lines, the SVR relies on volunteers yet there is an air of professionalism about the operation with plenty of smartly uniformed station staff present.

I have not had the chance to visit the Engine House at Highly yet but one of these days I must make a special journey. I look forward to that day but I will have to leave the dog behind as they are not allowed in the Engine House for some strange reason.