Severn Valley Railway

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Description

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.

Trains operate most weekends and daily from May to September. The Railway also operates during all local school holidays throughout the year.

Severn Valley Railway stations and stops:

Kidderminster – Terminus station at the southern end of the line. Most passengers join the Railway here with its easy road transport links and the adjacent connection with the national railway network. The station was built in the mid-1980’s by the SVR. Kidderminster Railway Museum, the Coalyard Miniature Railway (operates at weekends) are also located at this station.

Bewdley – Formerly a junction station this is one of the larger stations with it’s three platforms, a great place to just watch the trains go by.

Northwood Holt – a request stop

Arley –  Out in the heart of the Worcestershire countryside this station offers tranquility with easy access to the forest and river walks.  A footbridge over the River Severn leads you into Arley village where you will find a cafe, shop and an Arboretum.

Country Park Holt –  a request stop in Severn Valley Country Park

Highley – This is one of the smallest stations along the line, but it can be one of the busiest as it is the location of The Engine House, SVR’s Visitor & Education Centre which is just a short walk from the station. Unusually, the station only has one platform but its three tracks are a legacy from the days when Highley was a coal-mining area. Despite its industrial past, Highley is a pretty station in the middle of the Severn Valley Country Park

Hampton Loade – Hampton Loade is a little station in a sleepy hamlet whose peace is tranquility is replaced with snap shots of noise and bustle when the on most days trains pass each other here.

Bridgnorth – The terminus at the northern end of the line, Bridgnorth is a popular starting point for visitors from the north and west. The station building is largely original, dating from the opening of the line in 1862 although there have been many changes over the years. The locomotive works is also situated here with viewing of the locomotive yard possible from the station footbridge.

The Engine House: The Visitor Centre at Highley is well worth a visit. It houses the SVR’s reserve collection of steam locomotives in an exhibition setting. There is also a very attractive buffet/restaurant with superb views across the railway and the Severn Valley. There is also a gift-shop.

Special Events: The Railway arranges a series of special events throughout the year which have broad appeal to adult audiences and family groups. The 1940s Weekends and Family Fun weekends are incredibly popular and the ‘Santa’ services are always a winner with families. Railway enthusiasts are also well catered for with a total of three special weekends, two steam and one diesel, spread throughout the year.

For a brief overview of the history of the line please click here.

Geology and Landscape

Bewdley Station rock cutting

Bewdley Station rock cutting

A journey of the Severn Valley Railway between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth takes you through the wonderful Severn Valley. Travelling north from Kidderminster the underlying bedrock switches from Permo-Triassic in age to Carboniferous upon leaving Bewdley.  Upon reaching the Bridgnorth area once again the bedrock dates Permian in age.  This variety in rock ages and rock types together with the erosive powers of the River Severn and its tributary has created a stunning ‘heart of England’ countryside landscape.

The River Severn and later the precursor the Severn Valley Railway carried vast quantities of material along these transport routes, with many materials extracted from the landscape through which the trains now travel. Building Stone (both Carboniferous and Permo-Triassic rocks), millstones, coal, sand and gravel, clay, ironstone and limestone (limited) were all extracted locally.

At Bridgnorth station the sandstone cliffs on which ‘High Town’ sits are just a stone throw away. Here you can explore the historical caves and clearly see the dune bedding exhibited in the fossilised dunes of the Permian Bridgnorth Sandstone.  Further south, just behind the Engine House in Highley, is Stanley Quarry. This is one of a series of Carboniferous sandstone quarries along this stretch of the valley, where it is believed sandstone was extracted for use in the construction of Worcester Cathedral. Pick marks along with plug and feather marks  are still clearly visible on the rock faces in Stanley Quarry.  Acesss to the quarry is by permission of Severn Valley Railway only.  At Bewdley Station a group of local volunteers maintain the Permian sandstone rock face alongside the platform, making this exposure a great site at which to view the sedimentary features exhibited.

Pick marks on a dressed face in Stanley Quarry, Highley

Pick marks on a dressed face in Stanley Quarry, Highley

Explore the Geology and Landscape of the Severn Valley Railway

  • A Train Ride Geology Trail – Severn Valley Railway– leaflet available from  Kidderminster Station and as a download
  • Severn Valley Railway Geology and Landscape Explore trail guide – currently out of print
  • The railway cutting exposure at Bewdley station features on the ‘Bewdley Champions Geo trail. A booklet is available from Bewdley Tourist Information Centre and directly from the Community Conservation Champions
  • A geology interpretation panel is displayed at Bewdley Stationexplaining the rock face opposite the platform
  • A factsheet for Stanley Quarry at the Engine House is available for pre-arranged visits
  • The Severn Valley Railway is the perfect way to create circular trips along the northern section (Bridgnorth to Bewdley) of the Geopark Way long distance walking trail.  The trail guide is available from numerous outlets including Bridgnorth and Bewdley Tourist Information Centres, Severn Valley Country Park and Kidderminster Station
  • The Geopark Way is also available as a series of Apps. The apps have a map of the section overlain on an interactive geology map. Using GPS you get your position and a feed of data about the geology and other information as you walk. Other information’ includes photos of the walk with directional guidance, 3D cross-sections, and interpretations of past environments.Created by BrooksDesigns

Explore the bedrock and superficial geology of the route of the Severn Valley Railway on the British Geological Surveys ‘Geology of Britain Viewer’click here to be directed to their webpage

Facilities and attractions

On the train

  • Dining Trains
  • Buffet trolley and limited bar
  • Toilets
  • Group Travel
  • Weddings and other hospitality
  • Footplate Experience

At the stations

  • Toilets at Kidderminster, Bewdley, Arley, Highley, Hampton Loade, Bridgnorth
  • Refreshments (cafe or kiosk) at Kidderminster, Bewdley, Arley, Highley, Hampton Load (w/e), Bridgnorth
  • Parking at Kidderminster, Bewdley, Highley (limited), Bridgnorth
  • For infomation on disabled access please contact Severn Valley Railway

Education/schools

  • On the train
  • At Highley Visitor and Education Centre (the Engine House)
  • In association with Severn Valley Country Park/Bewdley Museum/Worcestershire County Museum/West Midlands Safari Park

Special Events

Held throughout the year including Santa Steam specials, Ladies Day, 40’s weekend, Steam Gala and the Ghost Train. Visit their website for details.

The Engine House, Highley

  • Home to the reserve collection of full-size steam locomotives, railway artefacts and other exhibition
  • Display of full-size steam locomotives
  • King George VI royal carriage
  • Travelling Post Office – try your hand at sorting the mail
  • Fascinating audio visual presentations
  • Flag & Whistle Restaurant with the best views in the Valley
  • Private meeting rooms
  • Well-stocked gift shop
  • Full access for the less able
  • Outside picnic area
  • Children’s railway-themed play area

Volunteering

There are numerous opportunities to support the Severn Valley Railway. Click here to find out more

Heritage Skills Training Academy

Severn Valley Railway offers Traineeships and Apprenticeships in heritage railway engineering. Several opportunities are available each year for school-leavers and others with a passion for engineering, and ideally a demonstrable interest in preserved railways or other heritage engineering.

 

Opening times & admission prices

Opening Times 2015

The Railway operates daily throughout the summer months, during all local school holidays and most weekends of the year. A detailed calendar showing operating days throughout the year that also indicates the timetable that will be operating on each day by colour – blue, yellow or green can be viewed by clicking here.  To download a 2015 calendar please click here.

The opening times of Engine House, station refreshments and other facilities vary with the timetable in operation. Please check the Severn Valley Railway website for the most up-to-date information.

Fares for 2015

Freedom of the Line – for a fully inclusive day out. They permit unlimited travel on the day of your visit and FREE admission to The Engine House at Highley:

  • Adult: £19.00
  • Child: £12.50
  • Senior (60+): £17.00

Station to Station fares  –

 Return  Single
Kidderminster to… Adult Senior Child Adult Senior Child
Bewdley £8.00 £8.00 £5.00 £5.00 £5.00 £3.50
Arley £13.00 £12.00 £8.50 £8.00 £7.00 £5.00
Highley £15.50 £14.00 £10.00 £9.50 £8.50 £6.00
Hampton Loade £19.00 £17.00 £12.50 £13.50 £12.00 £9.00
Bridgnorth £19.00 £17.00 £12.50 £13.50 £12.00 £9.00

 

Return Single
Bridgnorth to… Adult Senior Child
Adult
Senior Child
Hampton Loade £10.00 £9.00 £6.50 £6.00 £5.50 £4.00
Highley £13.00 £12.50 £9.00 £8.00 £7.50 £5.00
Arley £15.50 £14.00 £10.00 £9.50 £8.50 £6.00
Bewdley £19.00 £17.00 £12.50 £13.50 £12.00 £9.00
Kidderminster £19.00 £17.00 £12.50 £13.50 £12.00 £9.00

Other fares available – please visit the Severn Valley Railway website for cost details

  • Pre-book & save  – available by at Severn Valley Railways online Ticket Office, over the phone or at the Ticket Desk at the Head Office in Kidderminster
  • Family ‘Freedom of the Line’ tickets permit 2 adults and 2, 3 or 4 children (4 – 15 years) to travel at a reduced cost
  • First Class Travel
  • Flexi-Rovers – the ideal way to spend more than one day
  •  Annual Family Pass – for many happy returns
  •  Adult Group Travel – Pre-booked group discounts are available for bookings of 15 or more persons
  •  Education Services – discount fares are available for pre-booked School Groups
  •  Special Events – revised fares will be in operation for some of the Special Events
  • Less-able Visitors – no discounts for less-able passengers themselves, but a discount for carers who accompany and assist the less-able person during their visit is available
  • Dogs – for any journey, dog tickets need to be purchased for any journey, single or return during the day

Contact information