Severn Valley Railway pauses overnight services as coal prices soar due to Ukraine war

The Severn Valley Railway has announced it will temporarily cease its overnight running of services to preserve coal stocks for this year.

Bridgnorth at the Severn Valley Railway. L-R: Fireman: Joshua Harvey, Driver: Tony Bending
Bridgnorth at the Severn Valley Railway. L-R: Fireman: Joshua Harvey, Driver: Tony Bending

It comes as the heritage railway is set to reveal the first confirmed guest of the Autumn Steam Gala – the biggest steam event in the calendar – tomorrow. (August 5)

Severn Valley Railway, Bridgnorth

The decision to rest its overnight running is the latest measure taken by the railway to preserve coal stocks, as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and exponential rise in coal prices by 148 per cent has caused issues with its supply.

The railway had to cancel footplate experiences, where people get to fire up and drive one of the steam-powered locomotives, in May until further notice, as it looked to conserve its stocks.

But while the overnight running of services has been put on pause, the Severn Valley Railway has said it will be running services well into the evening.

Helen Smith, managing director said: “This is a critical time for the Railway, and operating costs across all areas of the business are rising sharply.

"Therefore, we’ve taken the difficult decision to ‘rest’ overnight running for this year’s Autumn Steam Gala.

"We need to conserve coal stocks and make sure we’ll be able to run our extremely popular steam-hauled Christmas events, which are a crucial part of generating much-needed revenue."

Meanwhile the Autumn Steam Gala is set to take place between September 15 and 18.

Celebrating locomotives both big and small, the festival will feature some of the best of the Severn Valley home-fleet – the first guest being announced tomorrow.

“We are very excited about tomorrow when we’ll announce the first guest locomotive for this year’s Autumn Steam Gala," Helen said.

"This is going to be a very special event for the SVR because not only will we welcome three visiting locomotives, but we’ll also be seeing our very own flagship engine, 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’, making its triumphant return to steam for the first time in 36 years.

“The return of on-train dining means we can re-introduce breakfast trains using our beautiful teak carriage No. 7960, as well as offering other informal on-train dining options during the Gala.

"Further attractions will include goods trains, and a narrow gauge railway at The Engine House.

"We’ll also be bidding farewell to SVR favourites 1501 and 2857, as they make their final Gala appearances before the expiry of their boiler tickets.

“We will be running an ambitious timetable for the event, starting at 8am and running well into the evening on the Friday and Saturday.

"We’re very much looking forward to what we think will be the UK’s leading steam gala.”

The Severn Valley Railway Autumn Steam Gala at Kidderminster

Prices for the Autumn Steam Gala range from £21.60 to £279.40 and tickets can be bought for adults, children, a small family (one adult and two children) and a large family (two adults and up to four children).

Pre-booked tickets are available up until 3pm on the day of the event.

To purchase tickets visit svr.co.uk/events/autumn-steam-gala.

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