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SVR’s Halloween ‘Ghost Trains’ doing scarily well! (18th October 2011)

THE SEVERN Valley Railway’s first-ever dabble into the world of ghouls and ghosts appears to be heading towards monster success.

Night-time Halloween ‘Ghost Trains’ this coming Saturday (October 22nd) and on both Friday and Saturday of next week (October 28th & 29th) - fiendishly well-timed to coincide with the schools half-term holidays - were this week well on the way to selling-out.

And even ticket sales for the SVR’s daytime Halloween trains right through the school holiday period (October 22 – 30), aided by discounts for advance booking, are doing scarily well too.

Delivering on a pre-season promise to introduce more ‘family-friendly’ special events into its calendar, the Kidderminster-to-Bridgnorth steam heritage railway is embracing Halloween for the first time, and with children very much in mind, has been at pains to pitch its ‘Ghost Trains’ sensitively, somewhere mid-way between ‘absorbing’ and ‘scary’.

“We’ve devised a programme which should have children on the edge of their seats, but not scared out of their wits” said Visitor Services manager David Mee today. “At the end of the day, it’s a fun event, and enjoyment is the main object.”

Families are being encouraged to come in Halloween fancy dress, for a parade and competition on the platform to judge the most persuasive witches, warlocks and ghouls, before the scheduled 7pm steam train departure in the dark from Kidderminster Town station on October 22nd, 28th and 29th.

Before the ‘Ghost Train’ pulls out, visitors will be able to get up close and personal with several live owls - up to nine of them – which are being displayed by Chelmarsh Owl Rescue, but also risk being entranced by the sleight of hand of a live magician.

Children will each receive a ‘Spooky Surprise’ goody-bag (we can’t tell you what’s in it – it’s a surprise!), and en route to Highley, the turn-round point of the journey, they will be coaxed into looking out for illuminated ‘ghostly apparition’ set pieces in the vicinity of Bewdley and Arley stations, and around the Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley. 

A flat fare of just £5.95 for both adults and children (aged 4 – 15 years) for the ‘Ghost Trains’ to Highley is being seen as one of the key reasons for their pre-event popularity.

On the daytime trains (for which normal SVR fares apply), children will be encouraged to keep their eyes sharply peeled for a series of 10 Halloween-themed pictures strategically located around stations down the line (all of them visible without the need to get off the train), each containing a letter. When the ten letters are assembled, they will spell out a word, also related to the event’s ‘hairum-scarum’ theme.

Says David Mee: “Halloween is a first-time experiment for us, but already it’s looking as though it may become a regular fixture in the calendar. We have 900 seats to sell on the Ghost Trains – 300 seats on each, and its looking like they will all be gone by the end of the week.”

Daytime trains throughout half-term week (October 22 – 30th) run at approximately 75-minute intervals,  starting from Kidderminster Town at  10.25, and from Bridgnorth at 10.55.