Step back to the 1940s on the Severn Valley Railway

182 Reviews

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Review type

Things to do

Date of travel

June, 2023

Product name

Step Back to the 1940s on the SVR

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Every year the Severn Valley Railway has a couple of weekends entitled “Step Back to the 1940s”. This popular event is great fun celebrating the end of World War II and the home-front experience.

There is entertainment with people jiving and singing along to the Big Band Show and Vintage Singers. Even a 1940s wedding takes place complete with a “cardboard” wedding cake! Black Market traders try to tempt you with stockings and other contraband goods – swiftly arrested by the Police in their helmets sporting truncheons. Of course, Winston Churchill is there making his usual rousing speech. There are unexploded bombs, firefighters, shops with ration books, lines of vintage vehicles and stalls seling genuine clothing.

Apart from the re-enactors, many people dress up in period clothes – some more authentic than others. We were privileged to meet Mr Jones the Butcher (of Dads Army fame) and Father Brown with his rolled up umbrella.

The 16-mile heritage railway line runs through the beautiful valley of the River Severn between Bridgnorth in Shropshire to Kidderminster in Worcestershire. Visitors can tour around the Engine House where there is plenty to interest the children with an outdoor play area too.

We stopped for tea and home-made cakes in the museum at Kidderminster. There were refreshments to be bought on all the stations or, if you prefer, one could partake of something alcoholic at the Railwaymen’s Arms at Bridgnorth or the King and Castle at Kidderminster.

The Severn Valley Railway opened in 1862 and was originally part of the GWR Shrewsbury to Hartlebury line. It had been laid as a single-track line, which limited its capacity. Passenger services stopped in 1963 but two years later a plan to save the SVR began in a pub. Work goes on in both the steam and diesel depots to preserve the locomotives and carriages. At Bridgnorth there is a replica of the very first passenger locomotive -“Catch Me Who Can”. The original locomotive was invented by Richard Trevithick and built at Hazledine Foundry in Bridgnorth. The replica machine has no braking mechanism so, for safety reasons, one is being specially built.

Throughout the year there are numerous special events on the SVR – steam galas, diesel galas, footplate experiences, vintage afternoon teas, Sunday lunches, Dance Days, Spice Train, Vintage Transport Extravaganza, Oriental Express, Food & Craft Fayre, Murder Mysteries , Halloween, Santa Specials as well as the 1940s events.

I think that the SVR is the best heritage railway – however I’m biased being a shareholder!


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