Avon Valley Railway celebrates half century

AVON Valley Railway celebrated its half century with four days of anniversary events and behind-the-scenes tours last month.

To mark the milestone, Metro Mayor Dan Norris unveiled a plaque on April 4 – exactly 50 years since the railway’s first public open day in 1974. He then boarded an anniversary dining train with a 1970s inspired menu.

The plaque unvelling was attended by dozens of locals, including celebrity rail enthusiast and social media star Francis Bourgeois.

Opened in 1869, Bitton Station is an original Victorian Midland Railway station, which closed in 1966 under the Beeching Cuts before being restored by volunteers nearly a decade later.

There are now three miles of re-laid track, and locomotives and carriages have been returned to their former glory – as has the original Victorian railway station building. Visitors can enjoy steam and diesel train rides throughout the year.

Pictured, celebrity rail enthusiast Francis Bourgeois, centre, with Dan Norris, left, and others who attended the unveiling of the 50th anniversary plaque – and one of the trains running during the celebrations