Belmond Northern Belle

Page updated on: 11/09/17 at 19:44

On October 23rd 2016 68003 hauled the stock to the SVR. Seen passing Langley Green in this video from 'Sharpo'

September 11th 2017

With major track work remodelling taking place in Kidderminster yard to provide access to TMD (Diesel Depot) road 1 from Kidderminster 'South Yard' Highley has become a 'sub-shed' for a few weeks. With no room for two Class 57s, 57301 joined 33108 there following fuelling this morning. It will be back at Kiddermionster for the Northern Belle departure Thursday lunchtime.

M Robinson, image added

June 9th 2017

LAST CHANCE to reserve tickets. There are only a few seats left now for both single trips. These are available on a first come, first served basis.

Any remaining tickets will be released to the general public at 5pm on Monday June 12th.

Clare Gibbard Marketing & Communications Manager

June 7th 2017 - SVR's PR

Luxury train service and new exhibition mark infamous floods anniversary

A VIP service from one of the UK’s most luxurious trains and the official launch of a brand new exhibition will mark ten years since the catastrophic summer storms and floods which threatened to close the Severn Valley Railway for good.

Monday 19th June marks a decade to the day that the first of two torrential summer rainstorms swept through the West Midlands, causing devastating damage to the Severn Valley Railway and triggering an unprecedented fundraising campaign to get the Railway back on track.

Ten years on, the SVR has organised a special event looking back at the storms and their aftermath and celebrating the subsequent clean-up, repair and fund-raising effort which brought together SVR supporters from across the country.

To mark the occasion in style, one of the UK’s most luxurious trains – Belmond Northern Belle, will be running a special service along the line, carrying a number of SVR members and supporters, passing along the sections of track which were so badly damaged by the event.

Famed for its beautiful, hand-crafted 1930s-era interiors and luxury dining experiences, Belmond Northern Belle’s rake of carriages, each named after Great British castles or stately homes, are stabled at Kidderminster and take thousands of visitors on journeys to towns, cities and events across the UK each year.

Hauled on the day by the SVR’s resident steam locomotive No. 34027 ‘Taw Valley’ and a Class 50 (UPDATED - Class 57 - see below) Diesel engine, they will run two special services, one leaving Kidderminster at 11.45am to travel to Bridgnorth and one leaving Bridgnorth at 1.50pm and returning to Kidderminster.

On return to Kidderminster Belmond Northern Belle will be on show on platform 1 for visitors to come and a take a look round. It will complete a further round trip in the evening for Belmond Northern Belle guests.

 

Alongside the VIP services will also be the official launch of the brand new exhibition, ‘2007 Storm Damage – Ten Years On’ at The Engine House Visitor Centre, Highley.

Featured are a range of striking photographs of the extensive damage caused to the 16-mile line as well as the story of the storms and memories from those who witnessed the damage or joined the massive clean-up operation that followed.

The freak thunderstorm, which swept along the Severn Valley at around 8pm on Tuesday, June 19th 2007 only lasted around 30 minutes, but within that time, produced rainfall equivalent to that of a typical month.

The damage to the SVR’s infrastructure was catastrophic – cuttings were filled with debris and embankments collapsed, leaving sections of track suspended in mid-air. Only a section of the line between Bewdley and Kidderminster could remain open for passenger services.

However, as recovery efforts began, the SVR was hit yet again by another torrential thunderstorm on July 20th, which caused further damage towards the south end of the line. 

The final repair bill was £3.8m, with funding coming from the Railway’s insurances, grants from the European Regional Development Fund, Advantage West Midlands and the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Donations flowed in from fellow railways, SVR supporters and the general public from all across the country, and those, coupled with SVR reserves, made up the final funds needed to get the Railway back on track.

Repair work was extensive, with external contractors brought in to repair the worst affected areas and volunteer and paid staff and railway supporters rallying round to help the effort and, just one year later, crowds gathered to watch HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall later that year make their first visit to the SVR to mark the official re-opening of the Railway.

The SVR’s success in recovering from the storm damage was recognised by a number of awards including the Transport Trust’s ‘Preservationist of the Year’, the Ian Allen Publishing ‘Heritage Railway of the Year’ and the Heart of England Tourist Board ‘Best Tourism Experience of the Year’.

Now, ten years later the SVR attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year, and is currently undertaking an ambitious Share Offer scheme to fund the ground-breaking Bridgnorth Development Project, which will transform Bridgnorth Station.

Clare Gibbard, the SVR’s Marketing and Communications Manager said:  “Looking back to that fateful summer, ten years on, it is almost unbelievable to think that the aftermath of those storms threatened to destroy the future of the SVR altogether.

“It is thanks to the incredible level of goodwill, support and hard work from our volunteer and paid staff, supporters and the general public at the time that the SVR is the thriving attraction that it is today – and the very fact that we are embarking on one of the biggest redevelopment projects in our history at Bridgnorth just shows how far the Railway has come and how it is looking to protect its heritage and enhance its facilities for future generations.”

The SVR will be featuring information and images about the storms of 2007 on its Facebook pages – Severn Valley Railway Official Site and Severn Valley Railway Families and will be asking people to share their memories of the events.

June 2nd 2017

A couple of late updates to the below.

Please note – the Kidderminster to Bridgnorth train on June 19th will now be hauled by a class 57.

Also, the 180 vouchers for each single trip are available for FREE, when accompanied by a valid 'Freedom of the Line' ticket, Annual Family Pass, or any other travel permit valid (including working members passes and shareholder vouchers or passes) on the Severn Valley Railway. The voucher will not be valid for travel on its own. Travel tickets must be purchased separately in the absence of a travel permit as passengers will need to make their return journey on a service train. Vouchers must be pre-booked by calling 01562 757900. Please note only 1 single trip journey ticket per person.

Best regards,

Clare Gibbard Marketing & Communications Manager

June 1st 2017

The Belmond Northern Belle train will be operating on Monday June 19th, and you'll have the opportunity to step aboard for a luxurious ride over the full length of the Severn Valley Railway! 

There are a limited number of vouchers available for a single trip on the train:

  • 11.45am from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, hauled by a Class 57 diesel locomotive [amended June 2nd 2017]

  • 1.50pm from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster, hauled by No. 34027 Taw Valley


Whilst on board, you'll be served tea or coffee, accompanied by a cake and a glass of Bellini, as the countryside rolls by. 

180 vouchers for each trip are available for FREE, when accompanied by a valid 'Freedom of the Line' ticket, Annual Family Pass, or any other travel permit valid on the Severn Valley Railway. The voucher will not be valid for travel on its own, and travel tickets must be purchased separately. To book, please call 01562 757900 (option 1).

February 19th 2017 

The Belmond Northern Belle is now proud to be a resident at Kidderminster, Severn Valley Railway. We are delighted with our new home and we thank them sincerely for such a warm and accommodating welcome.  

Belmond Northern Belle Facebook

February 16th 2017 - SVR's Press Release

SVR welcomes Belmond Northern Belle

The Severn Valley Railway welcomes a luxury guest - one of the UK’s most luxurious trains, the Belmond Northern Belle.

Sister to the famous Belmond British Pullman, the fine dining train will make extensive use of the SVR’s mainline connection at Kidderminster and will complement services run at the Railway.

Famous for its luxurious, hand-crafted 1930s-era interiors and luxury dining experiences, the Belmond Northern Belle journeys to towns, cities and events across the UK and has been in service since 2000.

The rake of 11 operational carriages, each named after Great British castles or stately homes, as well as two spare vehicles will be housed at Kidderminster on Carriage siding 1, and a small on-site compound will provide space for Belmond Northern Belle containers and office accommodation for their staff.

A typical working day will see the set platformed after SVR daily services end, for loading. Prior to departure to the mainline, DRS locomotives will be attached an hour before moving to the exchange ready for departure. Following its mainline trip and return to the SVR, the train will enter the SVR mainly late at night and be stabled back on Carriage Siding 1 before SVR services begin in the morning.

The SVR will provide signalmen, drivers and shunters for the Belmond Northern Belle operation. Cleaning and maintenance provision is currently under discussion.

Nick Ralls, SVR General Manager, said: “This partnership will provide many opportunities for the Railway and Belmond Northern Belle, and, importantly for the SVR, another income stream that will support further investment in the Railway.”

February 2nd 2017

I am very pleased to announce that SVR and the Belmond Northern Belle fine dining train which regularly operates on the mainline, (currently stabled at Crewe) have entered into a 10-year agreement to stable the set on the Railway. This agreement has been the result of over six months planning and consideration.

The rake of 11 operational carriages and two spare vehicles will be housed at Kidderminster on Carriage Siding 1. A small compound at the North end of the Kidderminster car park will provide space for Belmond Northern Belle containers and office accommodation for their staff.

Belmond Northern Belle’s operation will complement that of the SVR and they will make extensive use of our main line connection at Kidderminster.

In principle, a usual day for the Belmond Northern Belle set will be as follows:

  • Following its mainline trip and return to the SVR, the train will enter the SVR mainly late at night and be stabled back on Carriage Siding 1 before our services begin in the morning.

  • The set will be platformed after SVR daily services end, so that loading of the Belmond Northern Belle train can take place.

  • An hour before its mainline departure time the set will have DRS locomotives attached and will move to the exchange ready for departure. This will mainly occur before our services start.

The Belmond Northern Belle operation will require the SVR to provide signalmen, 09 drivers and shunters available for working anti-social hours. This will not be a burden on working members as these operations will be covered by paid staff. The costings of these positions have been considered and included in the budget for hosting Northern Belle.

This partnership will provide many opportunities for the Railway and Belmond Northern Belle, and importantly for the SVR, another income stream that will support further investment in the Railway. It is our intention that the SVR will provide cleaning and maintenance services which are currently being discussed.

Over the coming weeks there will be further NBI’s which will detail the operation, cleaning and maintenance of the Belmond Northern Belle, how Kidderminster yard will be managed and adverts for operational paid positions to cover night time operation.

Nick Ralls General Manager

October 27th 2016

68011 hauled the stock away from the SVR.

October 23rd 2016

68003 hauled the stock solo to the SVR. Seen passing Langley Green in this video from 'Sharpo'

Update October 24th - Having had the news we were a 68 down the 09 was prepared and put in C&W ready. The arrival was right time at the mainline station, moved straight onto our main, the 68 came off, the 09 came on and shunted to the Carriage Sidings via Plat 1. 20 minutes s after it arrived it was all stabled. A very slick operation considering it was changed from the plan on the day due to being a loco down. The DRS & Northern Belle representatives seemed happy (Matt Robinson).

Locos are due to arrive back October 27th for departure. 

October 21st 2016

On October 23rd the Northern Belle will be arriving at the Severn Valley Railway for a cleaning contract to take place. 

The train will arrive Top and Tail formation with a Class 68 locomotive each end. The train will be formed of 2xMk1’s, 2xMk3’s and 7xMk2’s. 

Upon arrival at the SVR the train will be stabled in CS1 via Platform 1 and the locomotives will depart the railway Light Engine.

The locos depart Monday lunchtime 12.25 going to Crewe.

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