The end of full dining services on the national network.
The Mid Hants Railway which runs between Alton and Alresford also offers full dining facilities throughout the year. As with the SVR at Kidderminster, the national network runs adjacent to the MHR’s platform at Alton with a half hourly service from Waterloo and Woking.
Both preserved railways also offer private use of an Observation Saloon for parties up to about 12 people and are largely run by volunteers. Railways such as the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway also offer evening dining trains combined with Murder, Mystery on-train events.
The SVR lunch is a leisurely three hour affair from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth and back. Kidderminster is served by a frequent rail service from Birmingham Moor Street via Stourbridge on the Worcester and Hereford lines. The SVR station at Kidderminster is adjacent to the main line station, literally across the car park.
The SVR also has an excellent affiliated museum and tea room at Kidderminster which is well worth a visit before or after the train ride. The SVR also offers dining facilities on it’s railcars based at Bewdley on evening land cruises.
The Severn Valley Railway’s lunch offer was sampled on May 18 over a 32 mile steam train ride. The meal cost £25 on top of the train fare and left at 1210hrs giving a very satisfying three hour round trip in which to enjoy the food and scenery.
The train was well signposted in the station and staff were attentive and good but not intrusive, the food hot and good portions. The menu offered a good choice catering for all tastes and the restaurant car clean, well presented and warm. Drinks are on top of the basic price and include soft or alcoholic but tea or coffee is included with the meal. Tables for two or four are available and fellow lunch takers had no complaints and declared themselves very satisfied.
The introduction of the summer 2011 timetable on May 22nd heralded the end of full dining services available to all passengers on the national network. Full meals can only be enjoyed on charter trains or on preserved railways such as the Severn Valley, Mid Hants and Chinnor& Princes Risborough Railways.
rail.co.uk has sampled all three railways’ offerings and is pleased to report that preserved railways can and do offer a great experience at lower speeds behind steam locomotives in comfortable carriages.