Reciprocal travel


List of participants


  • Avon Valley Railway

  • Bluebell Railway

  • Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway (SRPS)

  • Bodmin and Wenford Railway

  • Dean Forest Railway

  • East Lancs Railway

  • Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway

  • Gloucester & Warwickshire Steam Railway

  • Great Central Railway

  • Gwili Railway

  • Helston Railway

  • Isle of Wight Steam Railway

  • Keighley & Worth Valley Railway

  • Kent & East Sussex Railway

  • Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

  • Leighton Buzzard Railway

  • Llangollen Railway

  • Mid Hants Railway

  • Mid Norfolk Railway

  • North Norfolk Railway*

  • North Yorkshire Moors Railway

  • Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

  • Seaton Tramway

  • South Devon Railway

  • Spa Valley Railway

  • Strathspey Railway

  • Swanage Railway**

  • Talyllyn Railway

  • Wensleydale Railway

  • Volks Electric Railway

*Not valid on trains to Cromer, but as these are pre-booked diner services only, this is not relevant as far as reciprocal travel is concerned.

**SVR staff passes will be accepted for Wareham-Swanage Day Rover travel including the 'link'. You’ll need a Swanage Railway complementary ticket. Car parking at Wareham station is restricted, so it’s best to travel there by public transport.

Please note that the Reciprocal Travel Scheme applies only to SVR working or retired working members who are in possession of an appropriate pass.

Notes on the scheme


On 'Normal' operating days' timetables all the railways signed up for the scheme should permit free third class (or 2nd or standard class on some lines) on production of an SVR working members staff pass.

Some railways, like the SVR, accept the pass and don't issue a ticket whilst others issue a complementary ticket.

On Gala days and certain other 'Special Events' days when there are special timetables in operation, in theory all should provide a reduced rate fare in line with what we do but in practice it varies from similar arrangements to the SVR, to free, to no concessions at all.

It is safest to assume that such restrictions apply at Galas and either phone in advance or certainly enquire at the Booking Office on arrival.

Phil Ralls  Reciprocal Travel Officer


19 July 2021

As from today, and the lifting of Covid 19 Restrictions it is timely to update as far as I'm able, how it is likely to affect our Reciprocal Travel Scheme.

I'm sorry to say that this is not an easy task and things remain more or less as they are for the time being.

To give you examples, I recently had a holiday in Norfolk and I enquired as to the situation on North Norfolk Railway and Mid Norfolk Railway and established that NNR whilst operating in a similar way to us were not offering reciprocal concessions and MNR had not commenced operating at all.

One of our TTIs however whilst on holiday in the west country enjoyed free travel on Bodmin and Wenford Railway. Earlier in the pandemic another of our members enjoyed free travel on Seaton Tramway. Unfortunately should any working members from those organisations visit SVR they would currently not be afforded any such concessions.

You will see from these examples the 'grey' area that has been created by the pandemic with no hard and fast rules applying.

So for the time being my advice remains the same ie if you're intending to visit a railway in the scheme then please phone in advance to establish their operating conditions such as pre booking etc and mention the fact that you're a working or retired working member and whether they are permitting free travel or not.


Further updates when things change.

Phil Ralls   Reciprocal Travel Officer.

12 May 2021

We have been informed by Llangollen Railway Trust Ltd that the railway has gone into administration and is closed with all staff being made redundant. The railway has been removed from the list.


14 September 2020

In view of the quite severe impact that the virus is having on our everyday lives, as we are all aware this has extended to the operation of Heritage Railways including of course our own SVR.


Many other railways have recommenced running where possible and some unfortunately have not. Those that have may differ in their operating conditions in respect of seating on trains and method of booking tickets with some requiring advanced booking and some still offering 'turn up and go' facilities. This situation has a direct bearing on our Reciprocal Travel Scheme and not surprisingly the SVR have suspended the facility offered to working /retired working members from other railways in the scheme.


I would advise any of our working/retired working members intending to visit any railways signed up with us to contact the railway in advance to ascertain their operating/booking conditions. I think that the expectation should be that no travel concessions will be offered but check if you wish. I'm aware that the operating season is now winding down but of course very shortly afterwards comes half term and it all starts up again for a week or so.


Let's all look forward to the time when we get back to some kind of 'normality' not only on the railway but life in general.

Phil Ralls Reciprocal Travel Officer

17 July 2018


Fifteen years ago I agreed to take on the Reciprocal Travel Officer role from Mike Flavell who had decided to stand down. At that time 14 other heritage railways were in our scheme and I'm pleased to say that currently that number has increased to 29.

Needless to say whilst the scheme generally runs smoothly, occasionally some of our members have encountered problems when visiting other railways in the scheme. Whenever I have been made aware of such problems I have endeavoured to resolve them satisfactorily. The most common occurrence is in relation to a lack of knowledge by booking office staff at railways signed up with us, usually as a result of poor internal communication or inexperienced staff, and this is not uncommon in view of the fact that the majority of staff are volunteers.

I'm pleased to say that I could count on one hand the number of such incidents involving the SVR during my tenure and this speaks volumes about our volunteer workforce.

A very important aspect of the scheme in respect of TTIs and Booking Office staff particularly is the impression we give our visitors. I know that we hopefully give that impression to all our passengers but we should take particular to welcome working or retired working members from the railways in our scheme so that they enjoy their visit to us and hopefully return to their railway and spread the word. I appreciate that on a busy train it isn't always possible but it is a nice gesture when we can.

I have personal experience of visiting other railways and being made extremely welcome and I haven't forgotten that and, likewise on another railway that is no longer in our scheme, I showed my pass to the TTI and he just nodded, said nothing and moved on, and I've never forgotten that either.

On a final note one of our TTIs recently visited a member Scottish railway and informed me he was extremely well received. It was a pleasure for me to contact that railway and pass on the appreciation and I received a very pleasant response from them.

This clearly demonstrates the good will engendered by our scheme and why it is so important to extend the hand of friendship to our colleagues from other railways.

Phil Ralls TTI / Reciprocal Travel Officer.


June 26th 2018 - Volks Electric Railway

I am pleased to announce that as from 1st July 2018 I have signed up with the historic Volks Electric Railway at Brighton for membership of our Reciprocal Travel Scheme.

If visiting you will need to show your pass at their booking office where you will be issued with a ticket to travel.

Happy travelling.

Phil Ralls TTI / Reciprocal Travel Officer.

21 June 2018 - SVR Long Service Passes

Following a recent misunderstanding when one of our Long Service Pass holders and his wife attended a railway which is a member of our reciprocal travel scheme, and at which there was some confusion as to the situation with such passes, this note clarifies what should happen when Long Service passes are produced.
When visiting other railways in the scheme a SVR Long Service Pass entitles the Pass Holder only to free 3rd class travel and does not cover the person accompanying them.

Phil Ralls  TTI / Reciprocal Travel Officer

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