The Severn Valley Railway is a heritage railway in Shropshire and Worcestershire, England. The 16-mile (26 km) line runs along the Severn Valley from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster, following the course of the River Severn for much of its route. Train services are hauled predominantly by steam locomotives; however diesel traction is also sometimes used.
The railway is one of the most popular heritage railways in the country. It hosts numerous special events throughout the year, including both steam and diesel galas. The Severn Valley line was built between 1858 and 1862, and linked Hartlebury, near Droitwich Spa, with Shrewsbury, a distance of 40 miles (64 km). Important stations on the line were Stourport-on-Severn, Bewdley, Arley, Highley, Hampton Loade, Bridgnorth, Coalport, Ironbridge and Broseley, Buildwas, Cressage and Berrington. The original Severn Valley Railway was absorbed into the Great Western Railway in the 1870s, and in 1878 a link line was constructed from Bewdley to Kidderminster. This meant trains could run direct from the Black Country to areas of Shropshire. Most Kidderminster to Bewdley trains continued through the Wyre Forest line (dismantled in the 1960s and now a popular walking route) to Tenbury Wells or Woofferton. At Buildwas Junction (now the site of Ironbridge Power Station near what is now Telford) Severn Valley trains connected with services from Wellington to Much Wenlock and Craven Arms. Prior to preservation, the Severn Valley line was never financially successful. Freight traffic, mostly agricultural, and coal traffic from the collieries of Alveley and Highley were the principal sources of revenue. The line was strategically useful in the Second World War as a by-pass around the West Midlands. After nationalisation in 1948, passenger traffic started to dwindle. The line was closed to through passenger and freight services in 1963 and the track north of Bridgnorth was dismantled. Whilst it is generally believed that the line was closed under the “Beeching Axe” of the 1960s, the Severn Valley Line was, in fact, already scheduled for closure prior to the release of Beeching’s 1962 report. After 1963, coal traffic survived south of Alveley until 1969, while a sparse passenger service continued to link Bewdley with Kidderminster and Hartlebury, until this too ceased in January 1970. Today, a very small section of the original Severn Valley line continues to carry coal traffic to Ironbridge Power Station. For much of its working life it was operated by the Great Western Railway and subsequently the Western Region of British Railways. Today the Severn Valley Railway operates as a heritage railway. Services began in 1970 from Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade, extending to Bewdley in 1974 and Kidderminster in 1984. 2010 marked the Severn Valley railway’s 40th anniversary and the 175th anniversary of the formation of the Great Western Railway. Special events were staged during the year to commemorate these events.
Official Website : www.svr.co.uk
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