PASSENGERS on the 11.40am from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth on Sunday were surprised to find a celebrity travelling with them.

Michael Portillo was visiting Severn Valley Railway (SVR) to film an episode for the fourth series of the BBC’s popular Great British Railway Journeys, due to be shown in 2013.

The former Cabinet Minister spent an hour interviewing David Williams, one of the railway’s founding volunteers and the inspiration behind the railway’s rescue in the 1960s, at Kidderminster station.

Mr Williams gave Mr Portillo an insight into Severn Valley Railway’s development and the challenges that have been overcome to create the visitor attraction it is today.

The BBC crew stopped off at Bewdley, where they filmed a pigeon carriage currently undergoing restoration, before continuing their journey to Bridgnorth.

Mr Portillo said: “As Severn Valley Railway is an historic Victorian railway it fits in with the story we were doing about industrialisation in the West Midlands but, let’s face it, it’s also fun to ride on this heritage line.

“The British are crazy about their heritage lines and enjoy them enormously. Since I started making this programme, nearly everything was something I did not know and was unexpected. I only hope the viewers share my sense of wonder.”