SVR rounds-off busy year and bids farewell to old friends with Festive Season Services

Rounding-off a busy 2017, the Severn Valley Railway is offering passengers the chance to relax, unwind and say farewell to two of its resident steam locomotives at this year’s Festive Season Services.

Running from Boxing Day to January 2nd, the services offer passengers the perfect opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and shake-off the frenzy of Christmas wrapping, present-buying, cooking and tidying, with a refreshing, leisurely train journey through the Severn Valley.

Visitors can stop-off at any of the six stations along the line, and break their journey at The Engine House Visitor Centre to explore the range of interactive exhibits and enjoy a warming winter meal or snack at the restaurant, while enjoying the panoramic views.

The services mark a real change in pace from the last few weeks at the Railway, which have not only seen more than 30,000 visitors flock to enjoy its range of Santa services, carol trains and Christmas dining services, but also included the culmination of its hugely successful, year-long Share Offer scheme, which topped the £2.5m target to transform Bridgnorth Station.

This year, the services will not only round-off the 2017 running season, but will be a way of saying goodbye to two of the Railway’s resident locomotives, and the SVR is hoping people will come along to say farewell to these familiar faces.

No.7812 Erlestoke Manor will be retiring from service after ten years to undergo an overhaul. It returned to steam in 2008 to haul the Railway’s re-opening special following the devastating storms of 2007. Since then, it has clocked 100,000 miles in preservation and has carried the Olympic Torch and HRH Princess Anne.

No.34053 Sir Keith Park joined the Railway’s fleet in 2012 following overhaul, and steamed for the first time in preservation on the SVR’s tracks. ‘Skip’, as it’s affectionately known, has seen some memorable moments, including the Steam and Morgan car challenge in October 2012 and the inauguration ceremony of the loco in August 2013, which involved a most memorable flypast from a Spitfire and Hurricane at Bridgnorth. Skip will be moving on to the Swanage Railway.

Visitors can see Erlestoke Manor in steam on December 26th and 31st, with Sir Keith Park hauling services on January 1st and 2nd (subject to availability).

Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “After the excitement, action and preparation involved in Christmas, our Festive Season Services are the ideal way to de-stress, unwind and relax in one of our comfy carriages while being taken on a relaxing journey through the beautiful countryside.

“There’s plenty to explore at The Engine House, and you can let someone else do the cooking by heading to our restaurant. This year’s services are special for us, as we will be saying goodbye for now to two very much-loved locomotives, Erlestoke Manor and Sir Keith Park, so we hope to give them a lovely send-off.”

Passengers can pre-book and save or purchase tickets on the day for the services, which will be the last time trains are in operation before the SVR closes for essential maintenance, re-opening again at February half-term.