The Severn Valley Railway is celebrating 150 years in the business. The first train ran between Worcester and Shrewsbury on 1st February 1862.
Says David Postle of the SVR, ‘A lot of the railways have disappeared – there was a big cull in the 1960s – so it is important because not many that were closed have reopened.’
Over 250,000 passengers still use the SVR each year. The line was built between 1858 and 1862, and originally ran for 40 miles between Hartlebury, near Droitwich in Worcestershire and Shrewsbury in Shropshire. The railway now runs between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth.
However, the anniversary was marked by more hard work. Contractors were out in force, just as their Victorian forerunners were 150 years ago, laying and connecting up new 60ft lengths of track.
The race is on to complete the work in the 480-yard long Bewdley Tunnel before the February half term. A major £250,000 civil engineering project will see new drainage channels cut in the tunnel. Track will be replaced and the bed reballasted.
‘We are officially celebrating the 150th anniversary on May 19th and 20th with a brand new event – our first ever Victorian Weekend – which, with the help of ‘Queen Victoria’ herself, and some amazing Victorian steam locomotives from the 1860s and 1870s period which we are bringing in specially.
‘We will create the mood of the Severn Valley Railway just as it was when it first opened in 1862,’ says SVR General Manager Nick Ralls.