Marketing and communications update
Page updated on: 13/03/18
March 13th 2018
Crafts, laughs and plenty of clowning around at the SVR this Easter!
Exciting steam train rides and a wealth of family activities – the Severn Valley Railway has all the ingredients for a great day out this Easter.
The Railway’s fleet of heritage steam locomotives will be fired-up and ready to take visitors on a steam train journey of adventure along the line, stopping-off at any of the SVR’s six historic stations, from March 30 th – April 15 th .
Visitors can head to The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley, which will be home to a range of family-friendly activities. From March 31st – April 15 th , people can try their hand at creating their very own art and craft masterpieces,
from origami Easter Bunnies and Easter cards to Easter-themed colouring-in.
A mischievous bunch of Easter chicks have gone on an adventure and hidden all around the Engine House – eagle-eyed visitors can try to find them all and spell out the secret word to win a cracking prize.
March marks The Engine House’s 10 th anniversary and creative youngsters can take part in a competition to design a birthday card, with the winner receiving a family Freedom of the Line ticket for a day out on the Railway, as well as the chance to have their design on display for all to admire.
Lots of laughs are expected on April 1 st as madcap children’s entertainer Ronnie Crackers arrives with his friends Punch & Judy to perform all kinds of comic capers throughout the day. No stranger to face-painting, balloon-modelling and more, it is sure to be a fun day with Ronnie around.
Dippy the Clown arrives on April 2 nd for some energetic entertaining and comedy magic workshops. From juggling, making balloon animals, riding a unicycle, spinning plates and more, there’s not much that Dippy can’t do.
Entry to The Engine House and the activities is free with a Freedom of the Line Ticket and the Annual Family Pass is valid, otherwise standard Engine House Entry fees apply.
Visitors can also take time to explore The Engine House’s range of interactive exhibits and enjoy two brand new exhibitions, the first featuring the work of John Austin – a Fellow of the Guild of Railway Artists and the second marking the 50 th anniversary of the last days of steam.
Those looking for a special treat during their visit can enjoy an Easter Afternoon Tea for two at The Engine House’s on-site restaurant, from 2pm-4.30pm on April 2nd -6th . Advance booking is essential, on 01746 862387 or firstname.lastname@example.org. An Easter Sunday Roast will also be served on April 1 st – no need to book.
Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “We’ve got a jam-packed schedule this Easter holidays, with plenty to keep the kids entertained, from colourful entertainers to crafts, and lots of competitions.
“With two new exhibitions, dining experiences and a busy timetable of steam trains on offer throughout, there will be plenty to do and see for all ages, come sunshine or April showers.”
February 26th 2018
All services on March 3rd, 4th, 10th & 11th will be steam-hauled.
February 16th 2018: Fares
Please see below a summary of changes to the fare structure for 2018: Headline Fares Fares for 2018 have increased by approximately 6% on 2017 fares – this includes ‘Freedom of the Line’ fares and part-line fares. After consultation with a number of groups, it was decided that the senior discount on ‘Freedom of the Line’ tickets would be removed for 2018 to maximise passenger revenue and bring the SVR in line with other visitor attractions. The adult/senior fare will be £21 (pre-book £19.50). The discount in 2017 was in any case only £1 (4.8%) and this had been reduced over the years from around 15% ten years ago. For some years, the Marketing Group of the SVR have surveyed fares and admission prices in a number of other attractions, particularly heritage railways, and have seen that an increasing number are adopting a similar approach to pricing, and are removing or reducing the senior discount. Some, such as the Bluebell and Swanage Railways don’t appear to have offered a discount for many years, and others have withdrawn it recently. Seniors pay the full adult fare on the main railway network, but get 1/3 off by purchasing a Senior Railcard. Similarly, purchase of SVR membership offers a 1/3 discount on fares on the SVR, though of course not just to seniors. If people travel on the SVR reasonably frequently, they can make savings by purchasing membership, and it would be helpful [for us and the passenger!] if booking offices and TTIs could inform passengers, in particular seniors, that this option is available. The Annual Family Pass can also provide great value visits for couples and grandparents [and individuals!] that use the Railway regularly. Although it certainly doesn’t apply to all seniors, a large number of retirees have a significant disposable income, and we feel that for many people, the loss of such a small discount is unlikely to influence a decision to travel or not.
Special Events In contrast, a senior discount will still apply to premium-fare special events (Galas & 40s) with on-the-day fares being set at £29 and £27 for adults and seniors respectively. It was felt that it was more risky to remove what is a higher percentage discount (£2) at 6.8% in 2018 and average 6.5% (in 2017) with Special Event revenue being such a large proportion of all passenger revenue at over 40%. Engine House Likewise, admission fees to The Engine House will retain a senior discount for 2018; these increased by 50p on 2017, in line with increases for adults, children and families. In any case, entry is free to holders of ‘Freedom of the Line’ tickets. If you have any questions regarding the above please don’t hesitate to contact me on Clare.Gibbard@svrlive.com.
Clare Gibbard Marketing & Communications Manager
December 20th 2017 PR: SVR rounds-off busy year and bids farewell to old friends with Festive Season Services
Rounding-off a busy 2017, the Severn Valley Railway is offering passengers the chance to relax, unwind and say farewell to two of its resident steam locomotives at this year’s Festive Season Services.
Running from Boxing Day to January 2nd, the services offer passengers the perfect opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and shake-off the frenzy of Christmas wrapping, present-buying, cooking and tidying, with a refreshing, leisurely train journey through the Severn Valley.
Visitors can stop-off at any of the six stations along the line, and break their journey at The Engine House Visitor Centre to explore the range of interactive exhibits and enjoy a warming winter meal or snack at the restaurant, while enjoying the panoramic views.
The services mark a real change in pace from the last few weeks at the Railway, which have not only seen more than 30,000 visitors flock to enjoy its range of Santa services, carol trains and Christmas dining services, but also included the culmination of its hugely successful, year-long Share Offer scheme, which topped the £2.5m target to transform Bridgnorth Station.
This year, the services will not only round-off the 2017 running season, but will be a way of saying goodbye to two of the Railway’s resident locomotives, and the SVR is hoping people will come along to say farewell to these familiar faces.
No.7812 Erlestoke Manor will be retiring from service after ten years to undergo an overhaul. It returned to steam in 2008 to haul the Railway's re-opening special following the devastating storms of 2007. Since then, it has clocked 100,000 miles in preservation and has carried the Olympic Torch and HRH Princess Anne.
No.34053 Sir Keith Park joined the Railway's fleet in 2012 following overhaul, and steamed for the first time in preservation on the SVR’s tracks. 'Skip', as it's affectionately known, has seen some memorable moments, including the Steam and Morgan car challenge in October 2012 and the inauguration ceremony of the loco in August 2013, which involved a most memorable flypast from a Spitfire and Hurricane at Bridgnorth. Skip will be moving on to the Swanage Railway.
Visitors can see Erlestoke Manor in steam on December 26th and 31st, with Sir Keith Park hauling services on January 1st and 2nd (subject to availability).
Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “After the excitement, action and preparation involved in Christmas, our Festive Season Services are the ideal way to de-stress, unwind and relax in one of our comfy carriages while being taken on a relaxing journey through the beautiful countryside.
“There’s plenty to explore at The Engine House, and you can let someone else do the cooking by heading to our restaurant. This year’s services are special for us, as we will be saying goodbye for now to two very much-loved locomotives, Erlestoke Manor and Sir Keith Park, so we hope to give them a lovely send-off.”
Passengers can pre-book and save or purchase tickets on the day for the services, which will be the last time trains are in operation before the SVR closes for essential maintenance, re-opening again at February half-term.
December 13th 2017 PR: SVR puts on extra Santa services following snow cancellations
Santa has added an extra date to his diary at the Severn Valley Railway, after heavy snow forced the attraction to cancel the much-loved Santa Steam Special services last Sunday (December 10th).
The Railway has organised an extra day of its Santa Herald services on Monday 18th December, after dedicated volunteers rallied round to organise timetables and logistics, with many planning to travel from across the country to make the service possible.
Seats on the services, which offer visitors the chance to enjoy a magical steam train ride with Father Christmas on board, are now on sale on the SVR website and have also been offered as one of a range of options open to those who had booked on Sunday’s cancelled Santa Steam Special services. Trains run at 12.30pm, 3.15pm and 6pm.
Passengers can join their steam train at Kidderminster Station, for a festive journey of adventure to Highley, during which Santa will visit every child on the train, handing out gifts and posing for festive selfies.
Sunday’s cancellations to the ever-popular Santa Steam Specials were announced with deep regret by the Railway, whose volunteers worked around the clock to try to enable the services to go ahead. Some even slept overnight at stations on Saturday and got up early on Sunday morning to try to clear the track and platforms, which lay under the heaviest snowfall the Midlands has seen in years, with snow still falling.
However, following a power failure at Arley and despite the volunteers’ best efforts, it was decided that it was unsafe to continue with services, and the cancellation announcement was made.
Staff and volunteers have since been working to contact the thousands of passengers who booked their space from the service’s 4,000 seats, and offer them alternative options, including seats on the new Santa Herald service and the chance to meet Father Christmas at Kidderminster and enjoy a Freedom of the Line travel ticket for 2018.
Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “Cancelling Sunday’s Santa Steam Specials was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do – as we know how much families look forward to the experience, with many coming along year after year. “However, with no power, inches of snow and worsening weather, it would simply have been unsafe for everyone to continue. I cannot praise our volunteers enough for all their efforts, from working tirelessly to try to clear the line in time for Sunday, to rallying round in the aftermath to organise a magical alternative for our passengers.
“I would also like to say a huge thank you to the passengers affected by the cancellations – thank you for bearing with us and being so patient. We have had such lovely messages of support and understanding, which really has helped with this enormous task. “We hope that our extra Santa Herald services will offer people the opportunity to still come and enjoy a wonderful, festive experience on the Railway.”
Tickets for the additional Santa Herald services are now available on or by calling 01562 757900 (option 1) though spaces are limited, so early booking is advised.
The additional service means that this year’s Santa Heralds will now run from 18 th -22 nd December.
For more information about the SVR’s events, visit call 01562 757900 or see the Severn Valley Railway Families or Official Site pages on Facebook.
July 19th 2017 PR: Steam on the road, on the tracks and a Rover on the rails star at SVR event!
Steam rollers, traction engines, steam wagons and even a rail-mounted Land Rover will star alongside the Severn Valley Railway’s fleet of heritage steam locomotives at its Steam on the Road event on 12 th -13 th August.
The SVR’s summer steam rally will see a parade of steam vehicles take to the roads of Kidderminster, culminating with a climb up the hill to Kidderminster Station on the Saturday.
There, up to ten full-size engines, and two miniature will be on display and in operation and visitors can see them in working order in the traction engine ‘Play Pen’ in the station car park.
A very unusual visitor, sure to turn heads, will be in action on the Saturday. The 1957 Series I 88in Land Rover, which can run on road and rails will be travelling along the line from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster and return during the day, alongside the SVR’s train services.
Affectionately known as ‘Plimsoll’ the vehicle has a 1997cc, four-cylinder petrol engine, a four-speed main gearbox and a two-speed transfer box with selectable four-wheel- drive. The unique, custom-made, aluminium/magnesium alloy wheels can replace road tyres in just one hour, with the help of a lot of elbow grease.
Owner since 2002, Mark Saville has driven Plimsoll over 40,000 miles, including journeys to Iceland, the Arctic Circle, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany and Belgium and wants one day to drive across the Forth Rail Bridge.
Joining Plimsoll on the tracks will be the SVR’s own collection of heritage steam trains, which will be in operation throughout the weekend and visitors can enjoy brake van rides at Kidderminster on Sunday too.
The SVR’s events and footplate experience co-ordinator Lewis Maddox, said: “It is such a pleasure to bring together so many unique and wonderful steam vehicles and this year we are very privileged to have ‘Plimsoll’ joining in the fun.”
Normal fares apply and the Annual Family Pass and Family Summer Saver are both valid.
July 12th 2017 PR: The car’s the star at the SVR!
Four-wheeled transport is set to steal the show at the Severn Valley Railway, as the attraction’s ever-popular Classic Vehicle Day returns on Sunday, July 30th.
Sharing the limelight on this occasion, the SVR’s heritage locomotives will be taking passengers along the Railway’s 16-mile span to enjoy the array of classic and iconic vehicles of all shapes and sizes, on display at stations along the line.
More than 150 classics will be showcased during the day, with over 100 being pre-1970 and nearly 40 of those dating from before 1950. The oldest cars on display are expected to be a 1924 Rolls Royce at Arley; a rare 1926 Cluley on Kidderminster Concourse; a 1927 Rolls-Royce Coupé at Highley and a 1928 Austin at Bridgnorth.
At the other end of the spectrum, flying the flag for the modern classic will be a 1996 Ford Granada Police Car at Bridgnorth, a 1997 Mercedes SLK 230 at Highley Yard and a 2005 Rover 75 V8 at Arley.
Among the stars of the show on Kidderminster station concourse will be a selection of Austins, a 1930 Standard Teignmouth and a 1959 Heinkel bubble car, while tempting passers-by on the station forecourt will be a gleaming line-up including a rare 1934 Hillman Aero Minx and an example of the American-looking Vauxhall Cresta PA from 1959.
Visitors should look out for an immaculate 1966 VW Type 2 TI Spaceway caravanette, a 1973 Jensen Interceptor III and a 1936 Triumph Drophead Coupé (think Bergerac) among the vehicles on show at Bewdley.
A 1929 Austin 12/4 Burnham, a 1970 Hillman Imp and a 1936 Wolseley Saloon 12/48 are among the 25 classics on display at Arley Station, alongside a 1975 Lotus Elite, a 1967 Riley a 1953 Jaguar XK120 and a 1946 Rover 10.
Nestled alongside the SVR’s reserve collection of steam locomotives in The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley will be eleven vehicles including four Austins, a beautiful 1964 Lotus Cortina Mk1, a 1961 Singer Vogue, a 1963 Hillman Minx and a 1939 MG ‘TA’.
More ‘modern’ vehicles, mainly from the 1950s to the 1970s will be on show at Highley Station itself, including Land Rovers, a1971 MG Roadster, a 1971 Morris Mini Pick-Up , a 1978 VW Camper and a 1979 Austin Maxi. At Hampton Loade there is a small display of cars from the 1960s and 1970s.
Bridgnorth will host some famous British motoring names including Austin, Morris and Jaguar.
Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “For one day each year, our steam locomotives have to hand over the spotlight to a fantastic range of classic and iconic vehicles.
“This year we have a truly eclectic mix, spanning the decades from the 20s right through until the 00s and there are sure to be some familiar favourites, evoking memories of yesteryear, as well as some truly aspirational and much-loved examples of classics we would all love to own.”
The SVR’s steam locomotives will be taking passengers along the line to see the vehicles on display throughout the day.
Public Parking at Hampton Loade, Highley and Arley is suspended during the day.
For more information on all the SVR’s events, activities and bookings, visit call 01562 757900 or visit the Severn Valley Railway Official Site or Families pages on Facebook.
July 3rd 2017
Advance notice: a Family Summer Saver ticket will be available at just £44, and can be used between July 22nd and September 3rd 2017. Details on the SVR website news item http://www.svr.co.uk/NewsItem.aspx?a=798
June 30th 2017
Catch the SVR's PR for the 'Peep Behind The Scenes' event on Shropshire Live
May 24th 2017
We’ve had a fantastic week covering Spring Diesel Festival on social media; our increased online coverage is paying dividends as we are generating some really positive numbers online across all of our social platforms:
Our average online newsletter open-rate is now at an average of 40%, industry standard is between 15-30%.
The Severn Valley Railway official Facebook star-rating average increased from 4.7 to 4.8 out of 5 this week, bolstered by over 750 reviews.
In the last seven days we have had the highest number of users aged between 18-24 years on the svr.co.uk website ever.
We have gained over 5,000 followers on Facebook alone since the start of 2017 (end of 2016 figure was 18,000, currently at 23,800).
However our efforts are more than just about numbers, it’s about people; as a Railway we receive glowing reviews from individuals daily (across Tripadvisor, Facebook and Google) commending the volunteers and staff. They’re definitely worth reading; here is one of the best, from Saturday at the Spring Diesel Festival.
If you’re using Facebook, please remember to like our page ‘Severn Valley Railway Official Site’ and share our posts!
Clare Gibbard Marketing & Communications Manager