Massive turnout to see Flying Scotsman

About 45,000 people flocked to see the world's most famous locomotive in what looks set to be the Severn Valley Railway's most successful event.

Massive turnout to see Flying Scotsman

With more than 15,000 travel tickets sold and an estimated 30,000 additional spectators over just a six-day period, organisers say the visit of the Flying Scotsman to the Severn Valley might have been the most successful event in the railway's 51-year history.

Events began when the SVR held a charity day last Wednesday followed by the Pacific Power event from Thursday, ending yesterday.

Clare Gibbard, marketing and communications manager for the Severn Valley Railway, said: "The whole event has been an incredible feat of organisation by both the staff and incredible volunteers.

"Everyone here has worked so hard for so many months and the fact that the event has gone so smoothly, in spite of unprecedented visitor numbers, is testament to the team's meticulous planning, diligence and dedication.

"We're delighted we've brought so much joy to so many people these last few days and it has been worth the significant investment we made to bring Scotsman to the Severn Valley.

"We'd also like to thank the public for their support too – the generosity of local residents had been incredible from landowners along the line who've opened up their fields for viewing points to weekend spectators who donated many thousands of pounds to boost vital station funds."

The event saw the meeting of two famous locomotives – Flying Scotsman and Tornado.

Flying Scotsman was recently voted the world's most famous locomotive, and Tornado is the first new mainline steam locomotive to be built in Britain since the 60s.

The SVR was one of the first heritage railways to welcome Flying Scotsman, which is now owned by the National Rail Museum in York, since its return to passenger service earlier this year.

Sunny weather for days four and five of the heritage railway's six-day Pacific Power event brought families out in force to catch a glimpse of the nation's best-loved steam engine.

Staff and volunteers at the railway worked around the clock to ensure the safety of passengers and spectators along the length of the line.

Steven Robbins, chairman of Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce, said the local economy had received a boost.

He added: "We have been operating the park and ride for the event which has helped take thousands of visitors to the station and alleviated the congestion problems which would otherwise have developed in the town's car parks.

"It has been wonderful to see the town so busy during this event – and many who have come to see Flying Scotsman in Bridgnorth have taken the opportunity to go into the town and eat or shop while here, which has been fantastic for local trade.

"I know that the SVR is delighted with the success of this project, as is the Chamber of Commerce.

"We have had many people asking us for recommendations of places to eat locally and a lot of people have stayed over in the town, bringing in even more business for local hotels and restaurants.

"Apparently, the caravan park at Stanmore Hall has been full of steam enthusiasts who have come for the full duration of the event.

"The event has been very well organised and publicised. It has been extremely popular with people coming from all over the country to see it and Bridgnorth has benefited enormously because of it.

"The chamber is already discussing with the SVR possibilities for working together on future events and I am confident this will happen."

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