Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

On Tour - Rail in the UK Tour 29 June 2023


What a day we had today!! Due to the continuing problem of the railways changing the days they run or not run, each evening a new plan to support our itinerary must be put in place. Today we had to retrace our steps over ground we did a day or so ago! This meant a very long day starting at 0720 as we headed south to the Severn Valley Railway due to them dropping off 3 days in the week from their scheduled long-term programmes.

Arrived at the railway at 0925 and joined the line to the ticket office. After some time, our tickets were purchased, and we gathered and headed off quickly to try for a seat on the 1030 Steam Train. However, we could not find a seat as the train was full, all except a carriage that had been reserved. Graham B was luckily standing next to one of the officials when, as the train was due to depart and the group reserving the train had not turned up, they said we could board that carriage. We did so quickly and secured good seats together as we normally do. We found out later, that this day had more people turning up than any day since 1991. That was not the end of the issues for some people as there were people roaming through the train trying to find seats as the train moved off. When we arrived at the first station on the line, Bewdley, there were another group trying to board the train and they had standing positions only available to them. However, as we stopped at the next station, Arley, where the attraction is the Arley Arboretum, around 60 or so passengers left the train there. This relieved the pressure on the poor staff.

We continued our way right through to the end of the line, then stayed aboard the train for the return journey to Kidderminster but alighted at Highley to see the Railway Museum there and to have a spot of lunch. Our intention was then to board the Diesel train as it came by later that day for the return to Kidderminster, which we did. The museum was excellent with many Locomotives there to view and photograph.

The idea of building a railway along the Severn valley was fist mooted in 1846. But several proposals were considered before Royal Assent, parliamentary authority, was given to the Severn Valley Bill of 1853. An interesting history followed:
1858 - 1861 Railway constructed, 1862 opened to passengers, 1872 Fully absorbed into the Great Western Railway, 1878 GWR opened a Loop to take in Kidderminster, 1940 - 1945 line at its busiest during the War, 1948 saw Nationalisation and GWR became British Railways, 1963 Severn Valley Railway partly closed, 1965 preservation scheme launched at Kidderminster. Severn Valley Railway Society Formed. 2015 SVR celebrated 50 years of the Preservation Scheme. A wonderful journey and the Railway is enjoyed by enthusiasts and those just wanting a peaceful ride.

After such an interesting day we boarded our coach and headed off to York, where we will spend the next 4 nights. A relaxation day tomorrow, as we have a free day in York.

Graham Fleeton.


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