AN innovative mobile exhibition at the Severn Valley Railway will lift the lid on the fascinating history of the 158-year-old line.

The new exhibit will be housed inside a specially-adapted brake van, No 2886, stationed alongside a loading dock at Kidderminster Station this half-term.

Restored last year by experts in the SVR’s workshops, the van, affectionately known as the Stove R, now contains interactive exhibits with the sounds, sights and smells of the railway over the years.

Guests will get a glimpse into the lives of a series of characters associated with the SVR through voice recordings and diary entries.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Freddie, Olivia and charlie Evans at the Engine House. Photo by Elizabeth SonghurstFreddie, Olivia and charlie Evans at the Engine House. Photo by Elizabeth Songhurst

Meanwhile, The Engine House visitor centre at Highley goes even deeper into the lives of SVR folk over the centuries.

Full-size totem characters give an in-depth insight into their experiences. Visitors can meet Sarah Woodward, a businesswoman who built her fortunes on the railway’s arrival, and Edward Wilson, the engineer who designed Falling Sands viaduct at Kidderminster.

There’s a chance for young children to build their own viaduct and try out being a navigator, transporting rocks with a shovel and wheelbarrow - plus, a wardrobe of clothes for adults and children to dress up as a soldier, nurse, factory worker and more.

And for half-term week, there’s a bat trail around The Engine House which youngsters can follow to discover fascinating facts about the history of the railway.

Helen Smith, general manager at SVR, said: "We’re getting ready to welcome thousands of visitors to the SVR this half-term, and our carefully designed excursion trips mean a full day of fun for everyone.

"We’re especially pleased to be able to launch the Stove R mobile exhibition this month, and think this is going to be a real hit with everyone who wants to know more about the history and background of our heritage railway.”

Kidderminster Shuttle: The Falling Sands ViaductThe Falling Sands Viaduct

The new exhibitions in the Stove R and at The Engine House have been made possible by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as part of a £1.3 million project to restore the SVR’s Falling Sands viaduct.

Work on the viaduct itself continues, as contractors use rope access equipment to repair the brickwork and re-point the mortar on the outside of the structure.

Entry to both the Stove R mobile exhibition at Kidderminster and The Engine House at Highley is included within the ticket price, and half-term services run daily from Friday, October 23 to Monday, November 2.

For more information on services and to book tickets, visit or phone 01562 757900.