September 26th 2017 - Company's PR (edited)
Packed platforms, awards and thousands of shares sold at SVR season finale Gala
The Severn Valley Railway rounded-off its steam events season in style with thousands of visitors packing the platforms and boosting Share Offer totals during its Autumn Steam Gala.
Returning to the Railway’s events calendar after a year-off in 2016, when one-off event Pacific Power - featuring Flying Scotsman took its place - the four-day, season finale event steamed back in from Thursday to Sunday.
Saturday proved the most popular day, attracting more than 2,000 visitors with an intensive timetable of visiting locomotives in action alongside members of the SVR home fleet.
Celebrations were also held during the event, with the announcement that the Railway had been awarded the Best Visitor Attraction at the Visit Worcestershire Awards for Excellence, and Arley Station Staff gathered to unveil a new plaque, marking its Volunteers Award 2016 from the National Railway Heritage Awards.
As the packed Gala schedule rolled out, particular favourite proved to be No. 926 Repton – Southern Railway ‘Schools’ class, appearing thanks to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and consistently drawing the crowds, hauling full to standing carriages throughout the event.
No. 2 Prince, a familiar face to SVR fans, having spent a stint on display in The Engine House Visitor Centre in 2011, made a popular return to fly the narrow-gauge flag, with passengers enjoying rides on this unusual and memorable engine throughout the event.
Rounding-off the visiting quartet and proving popular Gala additions were No.564 Great Eastern Railway ‘Y14’, courtesy of the M&GN Joint Railway Society & North Norfolk Railway, the only one of the 289 of its class built to survive into preservation and No.323 Bluebell appearing thanks to Bluebell Railway Plc.
Crowd-pleasers from the SVR fleet, visitors got their cameras out to capture the final Gala appearance of No. 7812 Erlestoke Manor, before it undergoes an overhaul and No. 34053 Sir Keith Park before it leaves for the Swanage Railway at the end of the year.
Back by popular demand, the SVR’s famed all-night running made a welcome return on the Friday and Saturday nights and brake van rides, autotrains and shunting demonstrations all drew the crowds.
Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s marketing and communications manager, said: “Though we think final numbers may be slightly down on 2015, especially on Sunday when a major cycling event took place in Kidderminster, restricting road access – from the busy platforms, packed trains and great feedback, I think it is fair to say that this year’s Autumn Gala was a really successful event.
(More on the Share Offer page)
September 13th 2017
As some of you will undoubtedly be aware, major road closures are in place on Sunday 24th September around Kidderminster and Bewdley for Velo Birmingham charity cycle race. For those working on the Sunday of our Autumn Steam Gala, please plan your journey in advance to avoid these road closures. For road users travelling to Kidderminster and Bewdley, please follow the diversion signage in place:
From the North - M54 or M6, then M5 Junction 3 and A456, or Junction 4 and A491 (avoiding Belbroughton). No access to Kidderminster after Bridgnorth using A442 From the East - M5 Junction 3 and A456, or Junction 4, then A491 (avoiding Belbroughton) and A456
From the South - M5 Junction 6, then A449 for Kidderminster, or A4025 for Bewdley
From the West - Access via A456 to Bewdley (via bypass) and to Kidderminster. Bewdley Station is accessible from the bypass only. No vehicles across the river bridge in the town. There is no access to Kidderminster after Bridgnorth using A442
I’ve provided a map to help you out too, as well as the times roads are closed! If anyone is struggling to get to the Railway for their turn, please drop me an email and I may be able to advise of further options. Best regards,
Lewis Maddox Events Co-ordinator
August 23rd 2017 - PR
From the extremely rare to the hugely popular – visiting line-up set to draw crowds at SVR Autumn Steam Gala
The only remaining locomotive of its kind, a real crowd-pleaser, and a former Engine House resident are among the star visitor line-up at the Severn Valley Railway’s Autumn Steam Gala.
The SVR’s Flagship steam gala returns from September 21st -24th with its famed all-night running, array of visiting locomotives and intensive timetable.
SVR residents No. 34027 Taw Valley and No. 34053 Sir Keith Park will carry out overnight running on Friday and Saturday, marking 50 years since the end of Southern Steam, while the visiting line-up will be showcased over the event’s four days.
A real one-off will star among this year’s visitors, thanks to M&GN Joint Railway Society & North Norfolk Railway. Despite being 289 of its class built, No.564 Great Eastern Railway ‘Y14’ is the only remaining one of its kind, narrowly avoiding the cutter’s torch to survive into preservation.
Introduced in 1883, the Y14 class was designed for both passenger and freight duty and became a very successful passenger class, its light weight enabling it to work on almost all routes. Having undergone an overhaul, completed in 2015, No.564 is a truly unique engine.
A popular and much-loved addition to the line-up comes in the form of No.323 Bluebell – South Eastern & Chatham Railway ‘P’ Class - with thanks to the Bluebell Railway Plc.
Built in 1910 as part of a batch of only eight, four of which have survived into preservation, Bluebell is a passenger favourite and familiar face on The Bluebell Railway, having undergone an overhaul from 2009-2011.
A Royal visitor is next on the list – No. 2 Prince – Ffestiniog Railway ‘Small England’ class, appearing thanks to the Ffestiniog Railway, for which it was built in 1863.
Named in honour of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales - later King Edward VII, Prince became a reliable workhorse of the line, going on to perform on the Welsh Highland Railway as well as its resident line. Withdrawn from regular service in 1936, it underwent a lengthy series of repairs, but further costly maintenance meant work was unfinished at the closure of the Ffestiniog line in 1946.
The first locomotive to be rebuilt upon the line’s re-opening in the 50s, Prince is now used for winter and Santa services and may be a familiar face to visitors on the Severn Valley Railway, having spent a year on display in The Engine House Visitor Centre in 2011.
Finally, No. 926 Repton – Southern Railway ‘Schools’ class completes the visiting quartet, thanks to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Built in Eastleigh and entering service in 1934, Repton spent most of its 28-year working life in Bournemouth before being withdrawn in December 1962, just two years after a major service.
Having been used in Vermont, USA and on the Cape Breton Steam Railway in Canada, it is now back in service in the UK, and is expected to be a popular addition to the Gala.
Visitors to this year’s event will also be able to see the last Gala appearance of SVR resident GWR No. 7812 Erlestoke Manor before overhaul.
An early morning breakfast train will be in operation and visitors can enjoy brake van rides on a goods train on Thursday and Sunday morning (tickets available), afternoon Brake Van rides around Bewdley Station on Friday and Saturday, autotrains with No. 1450, Victorian narrow gauge steam train rides with No.2 Prince and morning shunting demonstrations at Bewdley as well as an intensive service throughout.
The SVR’s event and footplate experience co-ordinator Lewis Maddox said: “We’ve got a real crowd-pleasing line-up at this year’s Gala, which will pay a tribute to five decades since the end of Southern Steam and will see the final gala appearance of our much-loved resident Erlestoke Manor ahead of its overhaul.
“Our all-night running is back by popular demand and stations will be buzzing with goods and local services to-ing and fro-ing throughout.”
Additional event parking is available at certain locations near to stations, and road access to Kidderminster Station will be restricted on Sunday due to a cycling event in the town. Please see www.svr.co.uk for information.
For further event information, including event tickets and brake van ride tickets, see www.svr.co.uk or call 01562 757900.
June 9th 2017
The final visiting locomotive for our Autumn Steam Gala is courtesy of Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, and we're delighted to welcome back No. 2 Prince. The 1863 built locomotive was on static display at The Engine House at Highley for a couple years, and it will return to the Railway from September 21st - 24th - this time in steam. The locomotive will be running on all four days at The Engine House, paired with a replica Victorian carriage, giving you the opportunity to have a short ride on one of the Great Little Trains of Wales. Prince completes the line-up for this year's event, starring alongside No. 926 Repton, Y14 No. 564 and No. 323 Bluebell.
May 22nd 2017
Announced today were two further visitors:
No. 564 - Great Eastern Railway 'Y14'
With thanks to M&GN Joint Railway Society & North Norfolk Railway
No. 323 Bluebell - South Eastern & Chatham Railway 'P'
With thanks to Bluebell Railway Plc
One more is to be announced.
May 14th 2017
The first locomotive confirmed to attend our Autumn Steam Gala is 'Schools' No. 926 Repton, with thanks to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Approaching the end of its overhaul, the engine is being out-shopped in Southern Railway Olive Green and is the first of four star guests planned for our flagship September event.