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Severn Valley Railway's Spring Steam Gala is set to be 'one of the biggest in the history of a Midland heritage railway'

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A Spring Steam Gala is set to be one of the biggest in the history of a Midland heritage railway.

The Severn Valley Railway is gearing up to stage the event from March 16 to March 18 with one of the largest and most varied line-ups of visiting engines in its history.

Staff have announced that the event’s already jam-packed visiting line-up of five locomotives will now also include a crowd-pleaser in the form of GWR King No. 6023 King Edward II.

This royal visitor, resplendent in its striking blue livery, makes this year’s starring Gala line-up one of the railway's biggest yet.

The six visiting steam locomotives of all shapes and sizes will be transported from across the country to join the railway’s own fleet of engines for a busy and colourful three days of intensive passenger services along the line.

Thousands of visitors are expected to experience a taste of what life was like in the hey-day of steam travel, with one of the oldest steam locomotives still in operation in the world, Haydock Foundry Bellerophon, built in 1874, running alongside one of the newest, No. 60163 Tornado, which recently starred in hit film Paddington 2.

Now King Edward, built back in 1930, which performed more than 1.5million miles of service between London Paddington and the West of England also covering South Wales and Wolverhampton before being sent off for scrap in 1962, will delight the crowds.

King Edward 11 arriving at Kidderminster.

Having rusted in the sea air at Barry scrapyard and raided for parts for other projects, it was eventually saved for preservation in 1984 and then bought by the Great Western Society at Didcot.

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There it has undergone extensive restoration work including re-instatement of the bright blue paintwork it had formerly sported.

LNER B1 No.1264, LNER B12 No.8572 and BR Standard 4MT No.80072 complete the visiting line-up.

A busy timetable of local trains and auto-trains running between stations into the evenings will be on offer to visitors as well as goods trains.

The Coalyard Miniature Railway and Paddock Garden Railway will be in operation and The Engine House Visitor Centre and Kidderminster Railway Museum will also be open to explore.

Events co-ordinator Lewis Maddox said: “We’re delighted to announce the addition of King Edward II to our visiting line-up, making this year’s Spring Steam Gala one of our biggest yet.

“With such a diverse and exciting range of engines on offer, we are sure that this will be an event that steam enthusiasts and visitors of all ages will not want to miss.”

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