This years 1940’s event organised by Pete and Angela Smith with the support of a large team put on another superb event, the numbers of the two weekends were 28th/29th June 3,514, 5th/6th July 3,373 making a total of 6,887. The numbers were slightly down on last year but the poor weather on the first weekend did not help. Due to the congestion caused on Highley platform with passengers arriving and leaving after the battle, the battle was replaced with a blackout fair this year, however it was not as popular as anticipated.
As the event is so complex and involved, Pete and Angela are handing over the reins to Malcolm Broadhurst who will chair a 1940’s events committee, their remit is to organise the event in conjunction with the special events committee. Thanks to Pete and Angela for all there fantastic work over the last few years and Malcolm for assuming command for 2015; planning has already begun for this event.
Apley Estate Land Purchase:
David Postle and colleagues of the Bridgnorth Development Committee have met with English Heritage to discuss SVR plans for the fields behind Bridgnorth Station. The Committee wish to gain English Heritage support for the proposals prior to submission of the Bridgnorth Development master plan to Shropshire Council. The land purchase itself is still subject to contractual negotiation and agreement with English Heritage.
David Postle attended the Holdings Board meeting on the 15th July 2014 to update the board on progress made by the committee. Initial cost estimates have been established for all elements of the project plus or minus 20%.
The first phase includes the conservation and restoration of the listed station building and a new building to the south in Great Western design which will house new toilets and new buffet. The total cost for this element is £1,025,000.
Apley Car Parking alterations to the field to provide up to 330 parking spaces will be £315,000 or £195,000 if restricted to just the North field.
Public realm improvements are budgeted at £200,000.
Storage and volunteer accommodation is estimated to cost £2,000,000.
Architects have been appointed who are well versed in Railway projects, including the new span at Paddington Station, the firm is Oxford Architects.
The full plans are expected to be presented to the Holdings Board at the August board and then shortly after to the Railway at large.
Plans for 2015:
Catering (both on and off train) is taking an increasing number of bookings for wedding receptions, and with the Engine House now listed for ceremonies, the number of wedding receptions and parties is set to increase further. Quite correctly concern has been raised that staff, especially at stations, need to be well informed of any requirements for wedding guests. Also it is imperative that wedding couples are informed in good time about what they can expect to see at the stations, for example, during the set up for 1940’s at Kidderminster Station the concourse will be full. Checks are being put in place to make sure that wedding bookings information is disseminated in good time.
Registrars for secondary share purchase:
Matthew Harris, (Company Secretary) has struggled to find a reputable organisation to provide a service for selling and purchase of shares on the secondary market. He now believes a local firm has been identified and he will be meeting with them in the next month to discuss how the service would work and assess costs.
The Unofficial SVR Forum and pseudonyms:
The Board has recently considered the relationship of the Railway with the unofficial forum. It is recognised that debate and opinion is one of the forums strengths, but Chris Thomas has suggested that legitimately, questions can be raised by forum members and that an answer should be provided, the question must be raised by a named individual rather than under a pseudonym.
These simple to use devices have become common on the High Streets of the UK and the Board has agreed for Mel Cook to pursue the purchase of two of these machines to be situated at Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. They will be readily available but not in kept in boxes that may detract from the heritage ethos of the stations.
The Board were perturbed that although a recent bridge strike on Cleobury Road Bridge by an articulated lorry was luckily traced and located, it was not taken more seriously by the police when reported. The General Manager will be contacting West Mercia police to discuss further.
Permanent Way Retirement:
Many of you will know Bob Toye as a member of footplate crew and also as paid P Way staff. Bob has recently retired from his paid position, thanks to Bob for all he has done. His paid Permanent Way career began with the relay over Worcester Road Bridge in 2008, and come rain, shine, snow etc. Bob has been one of the P Way team who has done so much to maintain our track. Enjoy the retirement!
Drunken Behaviour on Trains:
Travelling Ticket Inspectors, Guards and Station Staff have had to deal with a number of incidents of drunken behaviour at the SVR; the problem is restricted to a very small minority but makes life difficult for staff and spoils the visits of other passengers. We are aware of the problem, and links with local community police officers are being forged to encourage more visits to the Railway by CPO’s to be a visible presence and deterrent to drunken behaviour. Appreciation and thanks to those staff that have dealt so professionally with the disruptive individuals.
Fisherman’s Crossing near miss:
The change of this particular crossing to an open crossing puts the onus on the road user to observe the road signs, but a recent incident involving a delivery driver crossing in front of a train is concerning and is being taken up with the delivery firm.