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Spring Steam Gala launches 50th Anniversary Celebrations (3rd March 2015)

Spring Steam Gala launches 50th Anniversary Celebrations

The Severn Valley Railway intends to kick off its 50th anniversary celebrations in sensational style with its first special event of the year, celebrating everything that is great and good from the golden age of steam.

Widely considered the SVR’s season opener, this year’s Spring Steam Gala, from March 20th – 22nd, will welcome no less than four visiting locomotives to star alongside the Railway’s own eclectic mix of historical engines and will also mark the launch of a brand new Golden Jubilee exhibition.

In line with the SVR’s anniversary- themed events, this year’s highly-anticipated festival of steam will see locomotives with a link to the Severn Valley Railway steaming up and down the line, rekindling memories from the last 50 years.

Headlining the visiting engine line-up and making its SVR debut, No. 90733 ‘Dub Dee’ will journey down from the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire. Its appearance may rekindle memories among rail enthusiasts of the SVR’s own locomotive No. 600 Gordon, now living in the Railway’s Engine House Visitor Centre awaiting an overhaul.

The only locomotive of its type preserved, ‘Dub Dee’ was built in 1945 for the war effort and was shipped to Europe to aid troop and supply movements on the continent. After the war, it found work in the Netherlands and Sweden, before being repatriated back to the UK in 1973.

Adding a splash of colour to proceedings, former Great Western Railway resident No. L92 returns to join the celebrations from the South Devon Railway. A locomotive that used to work in the London Underground tunnels until 1969, the Pannier Tank will be returning in its striking London Transport maroon livery, which it carried when based at Bridgnorth in the early days.

Another Great Western tank locomotive, 1919 built No. 4270 also makes its debut. Visiting from the neighbouring Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway, the engine is the first member of its class to visit the SVR in ten years and will provide an interesting contrast to its larger cousin No. 2857, based on the line.

Completing the ‘stars of the show’ line-up, No. 1054, built in 1888, will be the oldest engine in service at the Gala. Often described as a ‘sewing machine’, the ‘Coal tank’ is owned by the National Trust and is making its third visit to the SVR in 50 years.

Starring alongside the visitors, the SVR’s iconic home fleet of locomotives, including No. 34053 Sir Keith Park and ‘Auto tank’ No. 1450, will be running an intensive timetable with plenty of opportunities for visitors to hop on and off at any of the line’s six beautifully-restored stations.

The Friday of this year’s Gala will also feature the official opening of a brand new anniversary exhibition at The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley. ‘Severn Valley Railway - Our first 50 years’ celebrates in words and pictures the first 50 years of the Railway, taking visitors on a journey from 1965 when the preservation scheme was first mooted, to the present-day, booming tourist attraction which welcomes more than 200,000 visitors a year.

The event will also mark the official beginning of a year of Golden Jubilee celebrations, including new events like Sounds of the 60s in August, and a special Golden Ticket visitor competition.

One, two and three day rover tickets for the Spring Steam Gala are available. Visitors can pre-book and save at or by phone on 01562 757900 (Option 1) Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.

For more information on up-coming events, activities and bookings, visit, call 01562 757900 or visit the Severn Valley Railway Families Facebook page.