Elizabeths go free at the Severn Valley Railway’s Jubilee event

Final approach of No-70. comes into Kidderminster. Photo: Paul Pearson/SVR

To honour the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) is allowing free travel to everyone called Elizabeth throughout its special four-day celebratory event in early June.

The SVR’s Platinum Jubilee event takes place from June 2-5, as the railway joins with the nation to celebrate the historic and momentous occasion across the extended bank holiday weekend.

Michael Dunn, head of visitor experience, said: “This is all about celebrating the longest-reigning British Monarch ever.

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“We wanted to extend that even further to all those whose first name is Elizabeth – or Elisabeth! I think the Queen herself might just be a bit busy over the bank holiday weekend, but of course she would be very welcome to come and claim her free ticket.”

Elizabeth Williams with her husband David and No.70 ‘Elizabeth II’. Photo: Lesley Carr / SVR

The idea received a warm welcome from Elizabeth Williams, who’s been visiting the SVR for more than 30 years with her husband David, a longstanding volunteer.

“This is a lovely gesture from the railway, and I think that lots of people who share my name will want to take up the offer and visit for this special occasion. It looks like it’s going to be huge fun, and it’s not every day you get something like this just because of what you’re called.”

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The undisputed star of the show will be the railway’s now-famous purple locomotive, No. 70 ‘Elizabeth II’. It will receive its new nameplates on the first day and be in service throughout the event. The loco has been specially repainted, renumbered and renamed in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and has caused a stir around the world with its unique, head-turning livery. 

Also on June 2, SVR locomotives will sound their whistles at Kidderminster and Bridgnorth as town criers make a special Queen’s Platinum Jubilee proclamation. 

70 crosses Oldbury-viaduct. Photo: Bob Green/SVR

Evening services will transport diners to The Engine House, Highley for a Beacon Banquet (extra charges apply), at which the SVR’s beacon will be lit at the same time as thousands of others across the world.

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Alongside the stunning sight of the purple loco, No 70 ‘Elizabeth II’, the appropriately-named No 2999 ‘Lady of Legend’ will be making its final appearances at the SVR before it returns home to Didcot Railway Centre.

On all four days of the Jubilee event, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s iconic Lancaster will perform a fly past above the Severn Valley Railway.

Passengers can visit a special Paddington-themed exhibition courtesy of BrickLive™ at The Engine House, Highley, have the chance to take a turn on a vintage Ferris wheel at Bridgnorth, and there’ll be live music from the 1950s, including additional evening concerts at Kidderminster on June 3/4.

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All of the SVR’s stations will be festooned with bunting and feature floral displays themed around the Jubilee, and each visitor will receive a special-edition ‘seeded’ ticket to take home and plant.

Elizabeths can pre-book their free tickets at svr.co.uk or buy a ticket on the day. They must be travelling with at least one other fare-paying passenger and provide photo ID at the booking office in order to travel. Full terms and conditions are on the website.

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Sam Hewitt