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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.
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.
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:
Kidderminster - National Rail station, Coalyard Miniature Railway, Kidderminster
Railway Museum, licensed restaurant, gift shop , ‘King and Castle’ pub, pay and display
Bewdley - Georgian town, museum and Jubilee gardens, river walks, car park.
Northwood Halt (request stop)
Arley - Arley Arboretum, no car park at station.
Highley - Severn Valley Country Park and Visitor Centre, Engine House visitor and
Education Centre, limited parking.
Country Park Halt (request stop)
Hampton Loade - Current powered passenger foot ferry (the last in England), Dudmanston
Hall and Estate, no car park at station.
Bridgnorth - Once a busy inland port, the town with it’s ruined castle is a short
walk from the station. The High Town and Low Town are joined by the Bridgnorth Cliff
Railway, England's only remaining inland electric funicular railway! ‘The Railwayman’s
Arms’ pub, gift shop and light refreshment facilities, pay and display car park.
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.
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).
LMS black 5 4-6-0 no. 45110 RAF Biggin Hill
GWR Manor class 4-6-0 no. 7812 Erlestoke Manor
SR West Country class 4-6-2 no. 34027 Taw Valley
BR Class 42 Warship B-B no. D821 Greyhound
Some of the locomotives that are not currently in service may be found at the Engine
House Visitor and Education Centre at Highley.
BR Mk 1 coaches are outnumbered by ex GWR, LMS & LNER coaches.
The Coalyard Miniature Railway at Kidderminster station operates at weekends.
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
1948 - Britain’s railways were nationalised, the GWR became the Western Region of
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.
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
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’
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
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