05 January 2024
The Severn Valley Railway is celebrating after its brand-new Winter Diesel Day event attracted unexpectedly high visitor numbers.
The event, which took place on Friday, December 29th, drew more than 1,000 paid passengers plus hundreds more shareholders. It brought in an impressive £30,000 in ticket revenue alone, which was 35% higher than the heritage railway had been hoping for.
Highlights of the event included the long-awaited return-to-service of the SVR-based Diesel Multiple Unit and the provision of steam heat, thanks to Class 40 40106, Class 46 D182 and pannier tank 7714 double-heading with a diesel locomotive.
“This aspect of our winter event brought a nostalgia all of its own,” added Managing Director Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster, “We took passengers back to the days of the late 1960s and 1970s when diesel steam heating was the norm before BR phased it out by the mid-80s. I heard many positive comments from visitors about how much they valued this feature of our event; the atmosphere across the line, particularly as the light faded, was absolutely wonderful. I travelled back on the last train of the day into Kidderminster at 21.45, and you can probably imagine how much of a pleasure that was!”
Buoyed by 2023’s success, the SVR’s visitor engagement manager, Lewis Maddox, is already planning an extra enthusiast-focussed event for later this year, in addition to the four steam and diesel galas that are already well-established in the railway’s calendar:
“This one is going to be a mixed traction and real ale festival and we’re looking at holding this in June. We think the combination of these two attractions is going to prove extremely popular, and we’ll be announcing further details as soon as we can.”
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