SVR kick-starts busiest time of year in true festive style

Full of Santa hats and smiling faces, the very first steam train of the much-anticipated 2017 Santa Steam Special services set-off on Saturday, launching the Severn Valley Railway’s busiest time of year.

Samantha Kingsworth with Jack Bayliss, aged 3 – enjoying the festive atmosphere at Arley
Samantha Kingsworth with Jack Bayliss, aged 3 – enjoying the festive atmosphere at Arley

Hundreds of families flocked to the Railway to enjoy the first two days of the SVR’s much-loved Santa Steam Specials, which run every weekend in December until Christmas Eve.

As passengers disembarked after an exciting steam train journey through the Severn Valley, Santa’s elves were on hand to guide them into Santa’s special grotto at Arley, where, after a chat with the big man himself, each child received a present.

Visitors were then able to soak up the festive atmosphere at Arley, enjoying live, seasonal music and tempting treats including hot roasted chestnuts, before boarding their steam train for the journey back to Kidderminster.

The weekend marked the start of the SVR’s busiest time of year, with more than 30,000 people expected to visit during this month to enjoy more than 100 festive services, including Santa Steam Specials, Santa Heralds, Christmas Cracker Expresses and Carol Trains as well as the brand new, premium Santa Sleigh Express service.

Its launch was the culmination of months of tireless effort from the SVR’s volunteers, who have recently worked around the clock to ensure stations are decorated with more than 23km of fairy lights, the half a tonne of chestnuts are ordered and logistics are fully-planned.

Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “It is such a wonderful feeling when the first passengers start to arrive, and to see all the smiling faces filling the platforms and on the trains.

“It is such a magical start to Christmas for everybody, including our volunteers, many of whom take part every year because they enjoy it as much as our passengers.”

Tickets for the SVR’s Santa Steam Specials are now nearly sold-out, with only a few remaining seats left for three of this weekend’s afternoon services. There are also a limited number of tickets left for the Santa Herald services, from December 19th-22nd, when passengers can enjoy a festive steam train ride with Santa on board, who will hand out gifts and pose for festive selfies.

People still hoping to book tickets are advised to call the office on 01562 757900 as soon as possible to check availability.