THE Severn Valley Railway (SVR) enjoyed a bumper year in 2013 with more than 211,000 people taking advantage of all the historic railway has to offer.

Last year’s passenger numbers exceeded the railway’s forecast by more than 6,000 and showed an increase of nearly 9,000 on 2012’s figures.

This has been attributed to a number of factors including a host of well attended special events and a bumper summer season.

The new-format Family Fun Weekends attracted nearly 7,000 visitors and the ever popular Santa and Festive Season Services attracted more than 45,000 passengers in December.

Clare Gibbard, SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said they were delighted with the passenger increase.

"This is testament to the hard work of volunteers and staff in delivering an attractive events programme and impeccable service throughout the running season," she said. "It is encouraging to be welcoming so many new visitors to the SVR – we sold over 500 Annual Family Passes this year demonstrating the appeal of the Railway to a younger visitor.”

This year, the SVR also invested in a campaign specifically targeting families and encouraging them to spend a day out on the railway, including TV advertising for the first time since 2010.

The Railway’s popular Steam and Whistle Club, which featured a wide range of activities for children, returned this year as part of an enhanced programme of summer holiday activities.

The programme attracted up to 300 children daily and July/August figures showed a 14 per cent increase on the same period in 2012.

Following its success last year, the railway is hoping to extend the Steam and Whistle Activity Club to feature additional activities and new themes in 2014 to attract more passengers during the popular holiday period.

The Railway is now closed while maintenance work is carried out and will reopen during February half-term from Saturday, February 15 to Sunday, February 23.

For details about the railway and special events taking place throughout 2014, to book tickets or buy an Annual Family Pass, visit or call 01299 403816.