A Midland tourist attraction forced to close following last July’s floods will reopen to the public on Good Friday.
The Severn Valley Railway – which runs between Kidderminster, in Worcestershire, and Bridgnorth, in Shropshire – saw sections of its tracks washed away in the summer deluge.
Cost of repairs totalled £3.55 million and were met by Advantage West Midlands, European funding and public donations to enable contractors to replace and reinforce affected tracks.
The Engine House, a new visitor and education centre, will also open at Highley station.
The first train will leave Kidderminster at 9.55am on Friday, while the first service out of Bridgnorth will be at 11.05am.
About 20 classic cars will be on display at stations along the 16-mile route, which follows the River Severn through Bewdley, Arley, Highley and Hampton Lode, including a 1980 Triumph Dolomite and 1928 Ford Model A.
John Leach, the railway’s marketing manager, yesterday said he always believed it would reopen but admitted he was unsure when that would be.
"This has been a real team effort between SVR, its volunteers, the public, AWM and the European Regeneration and Development Fund, so Friday will be a very special day for everyone involved," he said.
"It was always a question of when we would reopen rather than would we reopen, but now that day is here and we can’t wait to welcome our visitors.
"There will be five engines operating two journeys each over the Easter weekend, and a similar service will run during half term."
Liz Lynne, Liberal Democrat MEP for the West Midlands, had campaigned for EU flood aid to be spent in the region, including the railway, after visiting Highley station last autumn.
"After seeing the devastation last October, I am thrilled that everyone has pulled together to get the repairs done at last. In particular, the public response to the funding appeal was terrific," she said.
"Large sections of the route had to be completely rebuilt and this is a fantastic achievement. I wish the railway and the SVR team all the very best for a busy upcoming season. At last people will be able to see the new facilities which should have opened last summer."
The reopening of the SVR comes just days after the European Parliament approved £120 million in aid for the UK to help with the costs of last summer’s floods.