Helen Smith has joined the Severn Valley Railway as its new general manager, taking over from Nick Ralls who has moved on to the post of chief executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust.
She brings with her a wealth of experience within the visitor attraction sector as her previous post was as deputy director at the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset – a £30 million Heritage Fund project with over 300 vehicles, a £4.6 million tank rebuild and restoration workshop and an active apprenticeship scheme.
Before that, Helen was general manager at The Fusilier Museum in Bury and operations director of the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham.
The first woman to hold the post of general manager of the SVR, Helen joins the railway in a landmark year as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its official opening on 23 May 1970. She says she intends to make it a memorable one for the railway and the thousands of visitors it attracts.
“The SVR is an incredibly important attraction for the region and I am thoroughly looking forward to building on the great work that has already been achieved by the team here,” she said. “Taking on the role in this very special year for the railway has even more resonance for me and I can’t wait to lead it into a very bright future, ensuring that it is a fabulous place to work, visit and volunteer.”