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WW2 on the Severn Valley Railway (2)


This was one of the slightly more bizarre trips of the year. I'd had the Severn Valley Railway on my list of preserved railways to go to as part of 50 at 50 and Dad suggested the weekend of their World War II re-enactment. The leaflet for the weekend, which I've grabbed and put online here (Adobe PDF, 532KB), will give you a flavour of what it offers.

So we agreed to meet at Kidderminster on Friday, stay the night at a hotel there, and spend Saturday 26th June at the railway line. Getting there was pretty easy: change Ely and Birmingham (which included a short walk from New Street to Moor Street stations) and then on to Kidderminster.

Kidderminster seemed to be a bit underwhelming as we walked through it to the Gainsborough House Hotel where we were spending the night. While I was buying some drink from a shop next to the hotel Dad chatted up a local and asked if she could recommend places to eat. Not in Kidderminster was the answer, Bewdley was the place to go. We were on the Bewdley side of town and a bit of ferreting about with my phone and N800 found we could get a bus there so we went to Bewdley for supper. Lovely place with the Severn running through it and a Telford bridge over it.

Dad looks out across the Severn at Bewdley
Dad looks out across the Severn at Bewdley

Dad used to come here on business and we tracked down a pub the locals had taken him to which served us a fine supper and an excellent pint of locally brewed bitter.

Which brings us to Saturday and the re-enactment itself. You can find lots of pictures and some video in an album here. It was a bit of a curate's egg to be honest.

On the plus side lots of trains, some old military vehicles to look at, and a fly past by a Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Flight (which the announcer repeatedly called a Spitfire, much to our collective amusement).

On the minus side there were, quite simply, far too many people there. This was particularly a problem after the battle re-enactment when just about everyone had gathered at Highley and now wanted to get away. This photo shows the platform full of people trying to head up the line away from Kidderminster.

We wanted the train after, going down the line to Kidderminster, which we needed to catch to get our connecting trains home. It was completely packed. We ended up standing up, in a train with no real through ventilation, on a very hot day. Not ideal.

Things did get better though and we did get a seat at the next station and on down to Kidderminster and after that it was a pretty straightforward journey home.

Written 01/07/10

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