Today I had a rare and wonderful opportunity to go on a train journey with a difference. A steam train ride from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth.
My brother, sister-in-law and myself decided that it would be a great way to give my Dad an 80th birthday present to remember. As a steam train enthusiast, Dad has for a long time wished to go to the Severn Valley line and be able to sit back in the style and comfort of the old 1930’s engine.
Many years ago he worked on the Royal Mail at New Street, and throughout this time he learnt a great deal about the history and the power of the steam trains, and as a result over the years he has collected many magazines, video’s and dvd’s, as well as recorded many programmes on the subject……and of course like most boys with their toys he also collected a few model engines. Even back in his young man’s days he rode the steam engines, and I think by looking at the smile on his face today it brought back a lot of good memories for him.
It was so appropriate doing this journey today on one of these old trains, because of course back in the years of the second world war these old steam engine trains were well known for carrying our troops all around the country. As we approached each of our stations we were able to see how the platforms would have looked back in the 1930’s and 40’s, with all the original signage, the advertising cards for such products as Colman’s starch, Bovril, Cadburys chocolate,Lyons tea, Capstan and Players cigarettes and so much more. The authenticity of it all made it so much more of a day out than just a train ride. It was a rare chance to glimpse and understand some of life as it was back then.
Amongst the beautiful scenery along the route was the magnificent River Severn meandering it’s way through Kidderminster, Bewdley, Arley, Highley, Hampton Loade before we finally reached the end of the line at Bridgnorth.
On the return journey we stopped of at Highley to visit the Engine House, a museum that houses some wonderful old engines, all very lovingly and carefully maintained. One of the engines was that which King George v1 toured around the UK in during the second world war, which included in its carriages on show, his bedroom, very simply furnished and a carriage which acted as a study and living room.
The weather was very kind to us today, which combined with everything else made it the perfect day out.