The entire railway will be immersed in the spirit of wartime Britain for two of the most popular events in the attraction’s visitor calendar – on 28th -29th June and 5th – 6th July.
An intensive service of evacuation trains will run throughout the weekends as the SVR’s collection of resident locomotives fires up to take passengers and the occasional soldier along the 16-mile span from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, which will be alive with wartime activities, performers and entertainers, to get visitors ‘in the mood’.
A new addition to this year’s jam-packed schedule, the Blackout Fair – a sure-fire family favourite, features beautifully-maintained fairground rides, including an elaborately decorated helter-skelter, thought to be one of the oldest wooden examples in the world.
Built in the early 1900s by Griffiths and Morgan, of Shepherd’s Bush, the helter-skelter now travels the country entertaining young and old alike. It will take pride of place alongside a veteran car ride and many more traditional fairground attractions.
Stations along the line will be transformed as re-enactment groups and replica sets provide visitors with an insight into snippets of life in 1940s Britain, including replica air-raid shelters, a wartime operations room and even a 1940s wedding.
A full-size replica Spitfire will no doubt draw the crowds at Arley, while visitors can look to the skies on June 29th, for an awe-inspiring flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, as long as the weather is good.
Motoring fans can enjoy an impressive convoy of historic and military vehicles as it weaves its way from Kidderminster to Arley, carrying some very familiar faces, including Sir Winston Churchill, King George VI and General Montgomery.
A range of historic civilian and military vehicles will also be on display throughout the weekends, while a genuine King George VI Royal Carriage will thrill railway enthusiasts at Highley.
A range of stalls selling all kinds of 1940s memorabilia will be on offer along the line, and if all this whets the appetite, visitors can also enjoy a special evening dining service on 28th June and 5th July.
This year’s events will be rounded-off with a closing ceremony at the front of Kidderminster Station 4pm on both Sundays, featuring flag bearers, veterans and re-enactors.
However, for those wanting to enjoy the experience for even longer, a VE Day Celebration Show, hosted by Peter Ware and featuring a cast of entertainers sure to get toes tapping, as well as a fireworks display, will take place at Kidderminster on 28th June and 5th July, at an additional charge.
Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, explained: “It’s easy to see why our 1940s weekends are among our most popular events, and this year’s Blackout Fair should really enhance the family fun element.
“Everyone involved is 100 per cent immersed in the spirit of the era, making for a truly memorable day out for all ages.”
Advance booking for both weekends is strongly recommended. For more information on the Step Back to the 1940s weekends, and other up-coming events, visit www.svr.co.uk, search for Severn Valley Railway Families page on Facebook, or call 01562 757900.
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