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Fitting festive send-off for Severn Valley Railway locomotives

By Tom Oakley | Bridgnorth | Bridgnorth entertainment | Published:

The Severn Valley Railway is rounding off a busy year by offering passengers the chance to relax, unwind and say farewell to two of its resident steam locomotives.

The No.7812 travelling along the Severn Valley Railway earlier this month

Running from Boxing Day until January 2, the Festive Season Services offer passengers the opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and shake off the frenzy of Christmas wrapping, 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.

No.7812 Erlestoke Manor will be retiring from service after 10 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 26 and 31, with Sir Keith Park hauling services on January 1 and 2.

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Clare Gibbard, of the SVR, 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.”

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 successful year-long share offer scheme, which topped the £2.5m target to transform Bridgnorth Station.

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.

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Express & Star reporter responsible for covering Walsall and Staffordshire. Got a story? Email tom.oakley@expressandstar.co.uk or call 01902 319482.

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