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Severn Valley Railway reopens to signify that ‘Spring is on its way’ (7th February 2012)

IT’S the surest sign that Spring is on its way - the Severn Valley Railway is reopening for the new season this coming Saturday, February 11th, after a winter shutdown that has seen the Kidderminster-to-Bridgnorth steam heritage line invest more than a quarter of a million pounds on track renewals.

Launching into its 42nd season, the 16-mile SVR will run a nine-day spell of steam operations (from February 11th – 19th inclusive) to coincide with the local schools’ half-term holidays, promoting a daily colouring competition for children in two age groups – ‘Up to Seven’ and ‘Over Seven’, and giving away almost £500 worth of family tickets every day in prizes.

The first passenger trains of the 2012 season depart from Bridgnorth at 10.25am, 12.10pm, 2.00pm and 3.55pm, and from Kidderminster at 10.35am, 12.20pm, 2.05pm and 4pm,  with connections to and from the adjacent Network Rail main line station at Kidderminster which shares the same forecourt.

The relaying of some 140 feet of track inside Bewdley Tunnel this afternoon (Tuesday) signals the last instalment in a £250,000 six-week civil engineering project to excavate new drainage channels in the tunnel, and replace and reballast rail and sleepers over more than a third of a mile, to and through Bewdley Tunnel’s 480-yard long single bore.

Contracting engineers have been working on the project continuously since January 3rd, when the railway ran its last ‘Festive Season’ trains. Demonstrating its determination to keep on top of infrastructure renewals, the SVR has now spent more than £1.5 million on track and civil engineering projects in the last three-and-a-half years.

Following half-term week, SVR trains will continue to run every weekend,  and daily during the Easter holiday period, from Saturday March 31 until Sunday April 15th
- a period which also sees ‘A Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine’ return to the railway after an absence of three years.  Two ‘Thomas’ weekends are being staged – on March 31st/April 1st, and April 14/15th.