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December 2017

Merry Christmas
Pannier Power! 7714 at Hay Bridge on the 28th Oct 2017, by Ian Murray

Welcome to your latest edition of Branch Lines!

The Santa season got underway this weekend at the SVR, and there’s a festive buzz all along the line. The next month is the Railway’s busiest time of the year with a range of events to appeal to everyone. We hope that you’ll be visiting us at some point – and don’t forget the festive train services between Boxing Day and January 2nd, which will be a lovely antidote to all that turkey and mince pies!

In your December edition of Branch Lines, we have exciting news about a new film release from the SVR Charitable Trust. They’ve been working with drp Productions who have generously sponsored the film. It promotes the Railway and explains why it’s vital for the Trust to raise funds for restoration projects and the impact it has made. We have a link to the film, so you can be one of the first to see it! Also in this edition, the final update on the remedial work to the landslip at County Boundary, which for practical purposes is now complete, and news that a SVR memory garden is being established at Highley, and how one volunteer has made a very practical contribution to it.


Do you know anyone else who’d enjoy getting a monthly update of all things SVR? If so, please encourage them to sign up for Branch Lines. It’s very easy to do, by visiting and selecting the Branch Lines tick box.


Please do get in touch by emailing and let us know your SVR-related news and views as well. We love to hear from our readers, many of whom are geographically close to the Railway, and many who aren’t. We have avid readers from down the road and across the globe, with two things in common; they love heritage rail, and they love the Severn Valley!

We hope you enjoy your last edition of Branch Lines for this year, and may we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and all the very best for 2018!


Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors 

Picture by Ian Murray

New film promotes the work of the Charitable Trust

The SVR Charitable Trust was delighted when drp Productions offered to make a film for them, showcasing the attractions of the Railway, and explaining why the Charitable Trust’s support is so vital to the Severn Valley Railway.

The film shows off the SVR beautifully, as both a visitor and a heritage attraction, and explains the type of restoration and training projects that have benefitted from Charitable Trust investment. The film is now available to view and share with friends and family. Just click HERE

In the New Year, the Charitable Trust will be releasing two further films, also produced by drp; one will explain why gifts in Wills have always been so important to the Railway, and how they'll continue to play a big part in its future; the other will showcase the benefits for companies of corporate partnership with the SVR. Watch this space for more.

Bridgnorth site progress


Work continues to progress the roof towards a watertight building, which will allow the internal trades to commence, as infrastructure manager Chris Bond reports:


“All roof trusses are now in place along with the supporting steel and wood construction for the flat roof of the refreshment room. The sub-contractors who will be undertaking this have met with our designer Bob Marrows, to make sure they have a complete understanding of our requirements. We will be using a material in the roof construction they have not yet encountered. This is a product known as foamglas; blocks which are made from foamed silica glass and have a high insulation value.”


Elsewhere, the gable ends have been completed and the onsite building joiner is constructing all the other timber structures required.

Bird boxes donated to memory garden

When volunteer Arthur Hamson heard that the Charitable Trust is creating a memory garden for SVR supporters close to the Engine House at Highley, he wanted to support the project in a very practical way; he used his woodworking skills to make a pair of very smart bird boxes. Arthur explained:

“I’ve made bird boxes for other locations at the Railway and thought how it would be nice to encourage birds to nest in this particular spot. When people visit the garden to remember their loved ones, I hope that they’ll be able to enjoy the sound of bird song too.”

Arthur, and his wife Beryl, have volunteered at various SVR locations for more than 35 years, and are currently based at Bewdley. Responding to the donation, Shelagh Paterson said:

“We’re very grateful for Arthur’s kindness and thoughtfulness in making and donating these boxes, which we think will make a wonderful addition to the garden. The area has already been fenced off and some steps have been built leading down from the Engine House. We hope to start work on the design and planting of the garden very soon, so that it will be open by next spring. We want to encourage all those who’ve lost a friend or loved one with an SVR connection to visit the garden, and remember them, alongside the Railway that played such an important part in their life.”




Community support for the SVR

For a number of years, the members of Franche Village Sports & Social Club and St John’s Club have supported the Railway through the Charitable Trust, and recently added a cheque for a further £500 to their contributions.


They raised this through a bowls competition in memory of one of their members, Rob Hodson. Rob had a long association with railways as a Virgin Trains driver, and Club members wanted to honour this by supporting apprentice training in the Heritage Skills Training Academy.

If you know an organisation that might like to support the SVR in a similar way, please contact



Coralie Hudson of the Charitable Trust and Brian Salmon from Franche Village Club


Parking charge increases


SVR car park charges have been held at £3 for a considerable amount of time. However, particularly at Kidderminster, there has been increasing use of this car park by Network Rail passengers seeking to avoid the current London Midland charge of £4.50 a day.


This being the case, car park charges at all SVR stations have been increased to £4, with the reminder that working members and shareholders with more than 3,000 shares do not have to pay any fee.

Looking for Christmas gifts?

Don't forget to visit our Gift Shop at Kidderminster Station

County Boundary remedial work is complete


The work to rectify the landslip at County Boundary is now complete. The contractors have handed back the trackside worksite area and removed their cabins. The stoned haul road that was created to allow materials to be imported has been tidied up and left in place for the farmer to use as part of the licence agreement. It has also been agreed that the farmer will carry out the reinstatement of the SVR boundary fence next spring when the area of the riverside field that was used for contract operations has recovered sufficiently for stock grazing to resume. Commenting on the operation, infrastructure manager Chris Bond said:


“All in all, the job has proceeded very smoothly and the SVR is very grateful to farmers Peter and Michael Kirton who have put up with a tremendous amount of disruption in order to accommodate the works.


“During the January-February shutdown, we’ll remove four panels of track and excavate around 600 tonnes of ash and ballast. This will be replaced by imported stone and reinforcing mesh topped off with re-laid track and fresh ballast, which you will notice is currently stored lineside at the location. These works were recommended by the consulting engineer as the final part of the slip remedy and should ensure that there won’t be any post repair settlement problems. After completion of this, the area will be returned to line speed for the 2018 season.”


A postscript to all this work, the SVR also took advantage of the contractors’ presence to effect much-needed repairs to the adjacent Bridge No 19. The wing wall coping stones were removed for re-bedding using lime mortar. Life-expired stones will be replaced with reconstituted stone versions in a matching colour, which will be put in place during the shutdown.


The picture shows the east wing walls awaiting their new coping stones. Some re-pointing has also taken place. As a result it will hopefully be very many years before any further work is required on this remotely situated structure.

Festive train services

After all the over-indulgences of Christmas, what could be better than a journey along the beautiful Severn Valley on board one of our heritage trains? The festive season train service operates from Boxing Day on 26th December up to and including 2nd January 2018.


Full details of prices and train times are at Hope to see you there!

Special Events 2018

We're thrilled to confirm our Special Events diary for 2018, some events and dates may be subject to change but be sure to keep an eye on for details!

  • Spring Steam Gala March 16 - 18

  • Open House Weekend April 7 & 8

  • Paw Patrol Visit April 28 & 29

  • Spring Diesel Festival May 17 - 19

  • Mixed Traction Day May 20

  • Goods Gala June 2 & 3

  • Step back to the 1940s June 30 & July 1, 7, 8

  • Peep Behind the Scenes (TBC) July 14 & 15 (TBC)

  • Classic Vehicle Day July 29

  • Steam on the Road August 11 & 12

  • On the Buses September 2

  • Autumn Steam Gala September 20 - 23

  • Small Engine Weekend September 29 & 30

  • Christmas Gift Fayre October 21 & 22

  • Ghost Trains October 25 - 27 (TBC)

Thanks for reading!

If you receive our monthly newsletter by email and wish to unsubscribe from our newsletter please click the link at the bottom of your email or alternatively use our contact form below.


Any opinions or views expressed in this newsletter are entirely the opinions of the contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Directors of Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) PLC. which owns the Severn Valley Railway, Severn Valley Railway Company Limited, the members of which are responsible for its operation, or the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust.

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