Full picture gallery: Hundreds celebrate Severn Valley Railway's 50th anniversary

Hundreds of people enjoyed the sunshine as Severn Valley Railway celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Full picture gallery: Hundreds celebrate Severn Valley Railway's 50th anniversary

Steve Cartwright from Newport with his 1941 Harley Davidson

Today marks 50 years since a group of young railway enthusiasts gathered in the Coopers Arms in Kidderminster and decided to reopen the line, which was shut just prior to the Beeching Axe in 1963.

It took five years before the first section of the line between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade was purchased and the railway opened for passenger services once again.

And this weekend members of the railway along with members of the public went back to the 1940s to celebrate the occasion.

The action began at the Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley, with people dressed in 1940s attire at the station. This was followed by a mock evacuation of school children which took place at Bewdley on Saturday.

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During the weekend’s events a 1940s wedding was celebrated at Arley on both days.

Today around 100 of the railway’s earliest members, including some of the founding members themselves, will gather for even more celebrations by enjoying a special anniversary dining train service. 

The journey will take them between Kidderminister and Bridgnorth, before returning and being presented with a birthday card.

Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “The Severn Valley Railway has been through so much during its first half-century, from its inception right through to becoming the hugely-popular, award-winning tourist attraction that today welcomes more than 200,000 visitors a year.

“However, none of this could have happened without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers and staff, and most importantly our founding members, whose passion and incredible efforts led to the SVR being created in the first place.”

Celebrations will continue on July 17 when Severn Valley Railway supporters will gather for a special dinner at West Midlands Safari Park, featuring guest speaker Paul Atterbury. 

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