A VIP service and the official launch of a new exhibition will mark ten years since the summer storms and floods which threatened to close Severn Valley Railway for good.

Monday (June 19) marks a decade to the day that the first of two torrential summer rainstorms swept through the West Midlands, causing devastating damage to the Severn Valley Railway and triggering an unprecendented fundraising campaign to get the Railway back on track.

Ten years on, the SVR has organised a special event looking back at the storms and their aftermath and celebrating the subsequent clean-up, repair and fundraising effort which brought together SVR supporters from across the country. 

To mark the occasion in style, one of the UK's most luxurious trains - Belmond Northern Belle, will be running a special service along the line, carrying a number of SVR members and supporters, passing along the sections of track which were so badly damaged by the event. 

Hauled on the day by the SVR's resident steam locomotive No. 34027 'Taw Valley' and a Class 50 diesel engine, they will run two special services - one leaving Kidderminster at 11.45am to travel to Bridgnorth and one leaving Bridgnorth at 1.50pm and returning to Kidderminster.

On the return to Kidderminster, Belmond Northern Belle will be on show on platform one for visitors to take a look around. It will complete a further round trip in the evening for Belmond Northern Belle guests.

Alongside the VIP services, will also be the official launch of the new exhibition '2007 Storm Damage - Ten Years On' at the Engine House Visitor Centre, in Highley.

Featured are a range of photographs of the extensive damage caused to the 16-mile line, as well as the story of the storms and memories from those who witnessed the damage or joined the massive clean-up operation that followed. 

The thunderstom, which swept along the Severn Valley at around 8pm on June 19, 2007, only lasted around 30 minutes, but within that time, produced rainfall equivalent to that of a typical month.

Damage to the SVR's infrastructure included cuttings being filled with debris, embankments collapsing leaving sections of tract suspended in mid-air. Only a section of the line between Bewdley and Kidderminster could remain open for passenger services. 

However, as recovery efforts began, the SVR was hit again by another torrential thunderstorm on July 20, which caused further damage towards the south end of the line.

The final repair bill was £3.8m - with funding coming from the Railway's insurances, grants from the European Regional Development Fund, Advantage West Midlands and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Donations flowed in from fellow railways, SVR supporters and the public from all across the country, and those, coupled with SVR reserves, made up the final funds needed to get the Railway back on track.

Repair work was extensive, with external contractors brought in to repair the worst affected areas and volunteer and paid staff and railway supporters rallying round to help the effort and, just one year later, crowds gathered to watch HRH the Prince of Wales and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall make their first visit to the SVR to mark the official reopening of the Railway.

Clare Gibbard, marketing and communications manager, said: "Looking back to that fateful summer, ten years on, it is almost unbelievable to think that the aftermath of those storms threatened to destroy the future of the SVR altogether. 

"It is thanks to the incredible level of goodwill, support and hard work from our volunteer and paid staff, supporters and the general public at the time that the SVR is the thriving attraction that it is today - and the very fact that we are embarking on one of the biggest redevelopment projects in our history at Bridgnorth just shows how far the Railway has come and how it looking to protect its heritage and enhance its facilities for future generations."