The Severn Valley Railway will welcome back ‘hop on, hop off’ passengers to all regular services, either with full-day freedom-of-the-line tickets or on journeys between selected stations from 7 September.
Since it reopened in August 2020 after the first lockdown, the railway has been running fixed excursion services, on which passengers have had exclusive use of a private compartment for the whole of their visit. This proved extremely popular with visitors, and gave many the confidence to return to the railway, whilst it was permitted to operate in accordance with government restrictions.
“We’ve thought long and hard about making this latest change,” said the SVR’s general manager, Helen Smith. “It’s been a delicate balancing act between operating safely and returning to our traditional way of operating. With the progressive easing of government restrictions and the success of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, we think now is the right time to go back to a more traditional service at the SVR.
“We know that many people will be thrilled to see a return to local services, giving them the freedom to plan their own journeys. Our freedom-of-the-line tickets, available online or at booking offices, give visitors the flexibility to board any train at any station throughout the day. For those who just want to travel between stations, on-the-day tickets will be available at booking offices.
“We will continue to offer a small number of private pre-bookable compartments, where passengers are guaranteed exclusive use of a compartment on a single train, throughout the day. We know there’s still a demand for these, and the high numbers of 5* reviews we’ve received on TripAdvisor in recent months show how much people have appreciated the way we’ve done things during the pandemic.
The railway will contact passengers with private compartment bookings for September, including those for the Autumn Steam Gala in September, offering the choice of keeping these, or swopping for flexible tickets.