The Severn Valley Railway is back in business after being closed since mid-March due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
Hauled by GWR 2857, the first service left Kidderminster town station at 10:15 on Saturday 1 August with hundreds of excited visitors on board.
Running this first public service this leading heritage railway was a huge achievement for the volunteers and paid staff. After four-and-a-half months in lockdown, the SVR was well and truly back in the game!
General manager Helen Smith was very relieved, and also proud of her team. “It has taken an incredible effort from everyone across the Railway to pull together and deliver this new excursion experience for our visitors, and it’s just what we needed to get back open again in a controlled manner to ensure visitor and staff safety.
“Today we’ve witnessed a sea of smiling faces, and this tells us we’ve got it right.
“This doesn’t mean all our problems are solved because we still have a mountain to climb. Not only do we have a large business interruption bank loan to pay back, but we also need to work hard to make sure everyone adheres to the social distancing regulations, so we can protect our staff and visitors, and start to make money again.”
The reopening services on Saturday and Sunday, 1 and 2 August were sold out. The SVR will be running three excursion services every day for the entire month of August – one from Bridgnorth at 10:45 and two from Kidderminster at 10:15 and 10:45. Travel is within a private compartment, seating up to six people and costing £75 per compartment. There are concessions for shareholders, loyalty pass holders and SVR members.