Step Back to the 1940s Weekends
Page updated on: 12/03/18
On the Web
SVR event website page
Who to contact about this story
Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager
March 12th 2018 - PR
Get your glad rags on and step back to the 40s at The SVR!
A hugely popular highlight of the SVR’s visitor calendar, the Step Back to the 1940s Weekends will transform the
entire Railway into a colourful and light-hearted snapshot of wartime Britain, on June 30 th – July 1 st and July 7 th -8 th .
Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “This year we have a truly action-packed
schedule of events, displays and entertainment, with special tributes paid to mark two very significant anniversaries.
“2018 marks the centenary of the ending of World War 1 and, to commemorate this, at Arley Station we will have the
Cavell van on display. In 1919, this was used to bring back the body of nurse Edith Cavell from Belgium where she had
helped 200 Prisoners of War escape before she was caught and executed. The following year, the same wagon
transported the body of the ‘Unknown Warrior’ prior to a funeral at Westminster Abbey, representing the many who
died without being identified.
“At Bewdley station, visitors will be able get up close to a true wartime icon of the air. A replica of the Mk X1 Spitfire,
flown by the famous James Edgar ‘Johnnie’ Johnson – the highest scoring RAF pilot to survive the war - will be on
display to mark the 100 th anniversary of the creation of the RAF. The public will have the opportunity to wear the
uniform supplied by the owners, and have their photo taken beside this fighting legend. Due to its full schedule, this
will be with us on June 30 th and July 1 st only.”
Throughout both weekends and on all four days there will be famous faces, feats of daring-do and battles, plus big
band shows on both Saturdays. Amongst those famous faces will be Sir Winston Churchill and King George VI, along
with a host of costumed re-enactors who will travel alongside passengers on the intensive service of ‘evacuation
trains’ along the 16-mile line, from Kidderminster in Worcestershire to Bridgnorth in Shropshire, and at each of the
stations along the way, there will be things to see and do.
Kidderminster will play host to some nail-biting action during thrilling fire-fighting re-enactments and displays of fire-
fighting vehicles, thanks to the NFA & AFS Vehicles Group. Get your ration books at the ready for the shop display, visit
the hairdresser to get your 'Victory Rolls' spruced-up, and enjoy free vintage bus rides. Gain an insight into wartime
life with the replica air raid shelters, ARP Post and tobacconist, and wave the evacuees off as they head to safety in the
In addition to the Spitfire in Bewdley, there will also be vintage vehicles, clothes and memorabilia stalls, and a licensed
Visitors at Arley station are invited to a wartime wedding on the platform on all dates, and can see the casualties of
war being treated in the Hospital Train housing the Royal Army Medical Corps Advanced Dressing Station, while the
‘1940s Crooner’ Kevin Mack will perform nostalgic numbers as the trains steam by.
Highley will be home to the much-anticipated Battle re-enactment. This takes place outside The Engine House Visitor
Centre and transports spectators back in time to two days after the D-Day landings when allied paratroopers and
members of the French resistance have been dropped behind enemy lines. Their mission: to attack a German troop
train – an explosive encounter visitors won’t want to miss.
The Allies have set up their encampment alongside the station and The Engine House will host a vintage marketplace,
selling everything from vintage clothing and uniforms to homewares and prints.
The Home Guard will be carrying out their target and bayonet practice at Hampton Loade, while at Bridgnorth, the D-
Day Darlings will entertain the crowds and visitors can witness the arrival of evacuees as they reach their temporary
homes in the country. Live music, vintage vehicle displays and memorabilia stalls will also be on offer along the line.
For those who would like to celebrate into the evening, this year’s Big Band Shows at Kidderminster from 7.30pm on
June 30 th and July 7 th will feature a Jazz Orchestra and special guests playing 1940s favourites. The Show is sure to go
out with a bang – an air raid is already predicted! Real ale will be served in the King & Castle and hot food will be on
offer in both The Valley Suite and The Museum. Separate wristbands must be purchased to attend. “We always
encourage visitors to get dressed up and really get into the 40s spirit” says Clare Gibbard, “and each year we are
amazed at the fantastic effort that so many people make – it is a wonderful part of this colourful, light-hearted and
ever-popular event and you can really feel the camaraderie that must have existed during that period in time.”
Tickets to the 1940s weekends are available to purchase at www.svr.co.uk. Pre-book and save One-day Rover fares
start at £26.10 for adults, £24.30 for seniors and £17.50 for children or £74.20 for a family of two adults and up to four
children. Two-day, Three-day and Four-day Rover tickets are also available. Wristbands for the Big Band concerts cost
£12 each and pre-booking is recommended.
August 9th 2017
As the final props are packed away and our vintage costumes are tucked up in the wardrobe, our Step Back to the 1940s weekends feel like a distant memory! 2017’s event saw 6,937 passengers travel on the Railway during the four days and over 1,500 attend the Big Band Shows - all in all, a great success.
At the event debrief, Malcolm Broadhurst stepped down as Chairman of the 1940s Committee, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him on behalf of the Special Events Committee and the Railway for his dedication and hard work in helping make the event a success. Malcolm will now be enjoying his well-earned ‘retirement’ back at Arley Station, and is looking forward to some peace and quiet (so please don’t contact him with any 1940s related queries)! The 1940s Event Committee will continue to organise the event, and can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for everyone’s hard work in ensuring the event was enjoyed by the thousands of visitors that stepped back to the 1940s with us.
The organising committee have already started planning ahead for next year, and we’re very excited for what’s in store...
Lewis Maddox Events Co-ordinator
June 14th 2017
It's as if you're stepping back to the 1940s...
See photo - Visit our new shop on the concourse at Kidderminster to see what you can remember on June 24th & 25th, and July 1st & 2nd.
Built from scratch by our volunteers, this is just one of the many attractions on offer up and down the line at our Step Back to the 1940s weekends.
Our volunteers are working around the clock to ensure everything else is in place for the event, and we cannot wait to see everyone dressed up and to welcome you along!
June 11th 2017
Normally stored undercover in the Carriage Shed (awaiting overhaul), GWR 5700 Class Pannier Tank no. 5764 made an appearance at Kidderminster for turning. She will make an appearance at our Step Back to the 1940s weekends.
Image: Tom Clarke
March 28th 2017 - SVR Press Release
Journey back in time and soak up the spirit of the 40s at The SVR
‘Get dressed-up, come along and soak-up some 40s spirit’ is the message from The Severn Valley Railway as it prepares for its hugely-popular Step Back to the 1940s Weekends.
A key highlight of the SVR’s visitor calendar, the much-loved weekends will transform the entire Railway into a colourful snapshot of wartime Britain, on June 24th-25th and July 1st – 2nd.
Some very famous faces, including Sir Winston Churchill and King George VI will be travelling alongside the many passengers on the intensive service of ‘evacuation trains’ for an exciting steam train trip along the 16-mile line, from Kidderminster in Worcestershire to Bridgnorth in Shropshire, during both weekends.
Feats of daring-do will be brought to life as the much-anticipated Battle re-enactment takes place outside The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley, taking visitors back in time to two days after the D-Day landings when paratroopers have been dropped behind enemy lines, their mission: to attack an enemy ammunition train. Will the allies be able to destroy the dangerous, explosive-filled train, or will the enemy resistance prove too much?
And if all that action was not enough, visitors will be treated to an exhilarating fire-fighting re-enactment and display at Kidderminster, courtesy of the NFA & AFS Vehicles Group.
The Engine House Visitor Centre will host a vintage market and hundreds of costumed re-enactors will be greeting visitors at stations as well as on trains, helping to tell the wartime story along the line.
Visitors can gain a real insight into wartime life with exhibits including a replica air-raid shelter, bombed-out building, ARP Post and hospital train, as well as displays of historic civilian and military vehicles. Ladies can also head to the hair salon at Kidderminster to have their Victory Rolls done.
Musical performers will be getting people ‘in the mood’ and a range of stalls selling 40s memorabilia will be on offer along the line.
The action even extends into the skies, with a Lancaster and Spitfire due to make an appearance to entertain visitors, courtesy of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (subject to weather conditions).
Those who would like to celebrate into the evening, this year’s Big Band Shows, on June 24th and July 1st , will feature the Worcestershire Jazz Orchestra and special guests, Paul Harper and The D-Day Darlings (additional charge applies).
Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “Thousands of visitors head to the SVR each year for our 1940s events, which take over the Railway and transform it into a colourful, light-hearted celebration of 1940s Britain.
“It is always wonderful to see so many people who make such an effort to dress up in fantastic period costumes and really enter into the spirit of this ever-popular event.”
Tickets to the 1940s weekends are available to purchase at www.svr.co.uk. Pre-book and save fares start at £24.70 for adults and £16.20 for children or £70.60 for a family of two adults and up to four children. Two-day Rover tickets are also available. Tickets for the Big Band concerts cost £11 each and pre-booking is recommended.
To book tickets and for more information on up-coming events and activities at The SVR, visit www.svr.co.uk, call 01562 757900 or visit the Severn Valley Railway Families or Official Site Facebook pages.