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Nearly 200 classic cars line-up for SVR’s big transport event (5th October 2011)

THE CARS which stopped the Earls Court Motor Show in their hey-day - almost 200 of them – will take the Severn Valley Railway by siege this Sunday, October 9th, as the Kidderminster - Bridgnorth steam heritage line puts on its big transport event of the year - Classic Car & Bike Day.

Some of the most stylish and treasured vehicles built by the British motor industry between the 1920s and the 1980s – and one or two ‘uglies’ which never quite caught the public’s imagination  – will be lined up for visitors at no fewer than seven different display sites over the 16-mile length of the railway, as the event celebrates its tenth anniversary.

The SVR’s Kidderminster Town station – less than 15 miles from the site of Birimingham’s Longbridge car plant where millions of Austin, Morris, MG, Wolseley and MG cars were built – will become the portal to a grand past, welcoming visitors  with a random ‘sample’ of some two dozen classic cars – mostly Austin and Morris models dating from the 1930s through to the 1970s – on its cobbled forecourt.

On the concourse, under the station’s huge glass canopy, more classic vehicles from the 1930s, ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s – including one of several Rolls Royce limousines on show -  will greet visitors on their way to the platforms, where a succession of trains will take them to the main exhibition sites at Bewdley, Arley, Highley, Hampton Loade  and Bridgnorth stations, where a further 150 classic vehicles will be preened and polished and ready for inspection.

The railway’s ‘Engine House’ Visitor Centre at Highley - admission to which is included in the cost of a ‘Freedom of the Line’ ticket, (£16 adults, £8 children, or £43 family ticket) - will also host its own small motor show - an amazingly diverse collection of cars, the oldest of which will be a 1936 Wolseley and the newest a 1964 Riley 1.5.

The full Classic Car & Bike Day entry includes examples of many of the British motor industry’s ‘poshest’ marques – names like Rolls Royce, Bentley, Daimler, Jaguar, Lotus, Morgan, Alvis, Rover  and Jensen will all be represented, alongside the family and go-to-work cars of yesteryear such as Fords, Hillmans, Vauxhalls, Standards, Triumphs and Singers - as well as a number of ‘foreign’ interlopers such as Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and Fiat. 

As the SVR says each year in its publicity for the event: ‘We’ve got your old car – or one just like it!’, and with such a variety of marques and models to be seen, it’s entirely probable that many visitors will find an example of their old family car amongst the collections.

Hampton Loade station is once again the focus of a display of classic motorcycles - around 50 are expected. Elsewhere, Bewdley station will host the biggest single collection of vehicles - 40 in all, with a further 35 at Highley, 34 at Kidderminster, 30 at Bridgnorth, 26 at Arley and 15 at Highley’s ‘Engine House’ visitor centre.

Classic Car & Bike Day is ‘free’ to visitors who buy a standard SVR rail ticket . An enhanced timetable of nine trains in each direction - both steam and historic diesel-hauled trains running at approximately 45-minute intervals -  starts from Kidderminster at 09.55, or for passengers arriving at the Shropshire end of the line, from Bridgnorth at 11.10.

Both the Coalyard Miniature Railway at Kidderminster and Kidderminster Railway Museum will be open for business throughout the day.