Every journey ends with a memory.

History of our Railway.

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary year as a tourist attraction, the railway line was completed in 1862. Find out more...

What is the Severn Valley Railway?

The Severn Valley Railway is a full-size standard-gauge railway line, running regular, mainly steam-hauled, passenger trains between Kidderminster in Worcestershire and Bridgnorth in Shropshire, a distance of approximately sixteen miles.

A remarkable feature of the Railway is that it is very largely run by unpaid volunteers, with a paid staff of around 70 people responsible for administration and commercial activities, plus regular track and rolling stock maintenance.

Through the year, volunteers appear on the Railway to perform many tasks, including repairing and repainting stations, reconstruction of viaducts and bridges, and rebuilding locomotives and rolling stock, not to mention operating the trains!

1862: Line Completed

After being started in 1858, the Severn Valley line is completed.The line linked Hartlebury with Shrewsbury, 40 miles away via Stourport-on-Severn, Bewdley, Arley, Highley, Hampton Loade, Bridgnorth, Coalport, Ironbridge, Buildwas, Cressage and Berrington.

1963: The end of the line.....

As part of a national rail rationalisation programme, the line is closed to passengers.

1965 - A snip at the price

On July 6th 1965 a group of about fifty local enthusiasts met at the Coopers Arms public house in Kidderminster.

The result was the formation of the Severn Valley Railway Society.

The intention was to purchase from British Railways a 5 ½ mile section of line from Bridgnorth, south through Hampton Loade, to Alveley Colliery sidings near Highley.

1973-74 - Severn Valley Railway heads south to Highley, Arley and Bewdley . . .

Spearheaded by the flamboyant Sir Gerald Nabarro MP, the then Chairman of the Company, a share issue was launched. The aim was to raise £110,000.

The cost of purchasing the nine miles of line from Alveley Colliery sidings, through Highley, Arley and Bewdley as far as Foley Park, near Kidderminster, was set by British Railways at £74,000.

In the event the share issue was so successful that, with additional financial help from local engineering company Rubery Owen Group, the line to Bewdley was purchased and progressively opened during 1974.

Love him or hate him, the charismatic Sir Gerald had a way of getting things done! This did not always go down well with the volunteers, with the result that at one point in 1973 a strike was seriously threatened.

The press loved the story with headlines such as ‘Tyrant’ Nab must go say train fans in the Daily Mail and "I’ll steam on" says Nab in the Daily Express. In the Birmingham Evening Mail the headline read "Ultimatum to Nabarro: Go – or trains don’t".
It is pleasing to report that the only strike ever to be mooted on the Severn Valley Railway never took place.

After this incident Sir Gerald’s interest in the SVR quickly waned. He died suddenly in November 1973 at his home in Broadway, Worcestershire.

1983 - Imagine the Railway without Bridgnorth station . . .

At a point in the line’s history, the construction of a bypass road for Bridgnorth threatened to cut off the station from the rest of the line.

The need for a bypass road for the lovely town of Bridgnorth was not in doubt.

The problem was that the road, which had been mooted for many years, was planned to cut across the Railway just south of the station.

The local authority did not want to foot the bill for the construction of a bridge which would carry the line over the road.

1984 - Kidderminster Town Station - a sweet treat!

Establishing a station, at what was to become the Railway’s southern terminus, was considered to be essential. Also, the opportunity to maintain a connection with the national railway network at Kidderminster was felt to be very important.

The two-mile section of line from Bewdley to Foley Park, just short of Kidderminster, had been purchased in 1973 but not used, except on special occasions. When the British Sugar Corporation sidings at Foley Park fell into disuse in 1982, the 1 ½ mile section of line through to Kidderminster Junction was purchased. The remaining three acres of land, which formed the old Kidderminster Goods Yard, was then leased from British Railways.

Our new station at Kidderminster opened for business on July 30th 1984.

Thirty or so years on, many visitors think that the station at Kidderminster is contemporary with the rest of the line. In fact, its design is a replica of the station that once stood at Ross-on-Wye and is of recent construction.

2007 - Storm and Tempest . . .

On June 19th 2007 at about 8.00pm, a torrential storm swept along the Severn Valley. Lasting barely 30 minutes, it produced rainfall equivalent to that for a typical month.

The Railway was damaged in 45 separate locations.

In 10 of these places, major engineering work, involving outside contractors, was needed to carry out effective repairs.

The Future

Since its inception and millions of passengers later, the Severn Valley Railway continues to work hard to provide a great day out for all its passengers.

Perhaps originally the almost exclusive haunt of the ‘steam buff’, the line is now a very well-known and respected tourist attraction.

We are often asked – Will the line ever be extended? or Why don’t you spend money on this project or that? The truth of the matter is that much of the investment in our Railway goes into projects that the passengers will never see; repairing our ageing sandstone viaducts, renewing bridges, replacing life-expired track, mending station roofs and pointing and painting continually.

It’s just like the Forth Railway Bridge, the work never ends! All of this costs massive sums of money and does not include ongoing work on our locomotives and carriages.