The Severn Valley Railway (SVR) is celebrating the success of its brand-new winter event. 

The Winter Diesel Day attracted unexpectedly high visitor numbers last week with more than 1,000 paid passengers and hundreds more shareholders. 

It brought in an impressive £30,000 in ticket revenue alone which was around 35 per cent higher than the heritage railway had been hoping for ahead of the event. 

Managing Director of the SVR, Jonathan 'Gus' Dunster, said: "It's fair to say that once again the SVR has absolutely smashed it. 

"We'd never before tried to run a short, diesel-enthusiast event like this in the winter season, but we wanted to give it a go and we're very pleased that we did. 

"We saw a timetable that ran perfectly with a strong sense of team purpose across the railway and for which we are hugely appreciative. This is yet more proof of how the SVR's strong commitment to enthusiast events continues to be the right one." 

Kidderminster Shuttle: Class 33, 33108, class 37, 37263, and class 108 DMU at Highley Class 33, 33108, class 37, 37263, and class 108 DMU at Highley (Image: David Bissett)

Highlights of the event included the long-awaited return to service of the SVR-based Class 108 Diesel Multiple Unit and the provision of steam heat thanks to the Class 40 40106, Class 46 D182 and pannier tank 7714 double-heading with multiple diesel locomotives. 

Mr Dunster added: "This aspect of our event brought a nostalgia all of its own. We took passengers back to the days of the late 1960s and 1970s. 

"I heard many positive comments from visitors about how much they valued this feature of our event.

"I was rostered as the volunteer driver on the Class 50 on the rear of the last train of the day, hauled by the Class 40, into Kidderminster at 21.45, and you can probably imagine how much of a pleasure that was."

The SVR is also preparing for a steam enthusiast event over two days this weekend on Saturday, January 6 and Sunday, January 7.

The advance ticket sales indicate that it's likely to prove extremely popular with visitors flocking to experience the special atmosphere of an intensive steam timetable in the winter months. 

The event, which is another first for the heritage line, will see the final appearance of LMS 43106 'The Flying Pig' before the expiry of its boiler certificate and the first gala appearance of the newly overhauled LMS 2968 'Stanier Mogul'. 

Visitor engagement manager at the SVR, Lewis Maddox, is also planning an extra enthusiast-focused event later this year on top of the four steam and diesel galas already planned in the railway's calendar. 

Mr Maddox said: "This one is going to be a mixed traction and real ale festival and we're looking at holding this in June. 

"We think the combination of these two attractions is going to prove extremely popular and we'll be announcing further details as soon as we can." 

For more information and to buy tickets for the Winter Steam Gala visit