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January 2018

Happy New Year!
Visiting Standard Tank 80072 emerges from Bewdley Tunnel on 16/12/17, by Ian Murray

Welcome to your latest edition of Branch Lines!

We’d like to wish you a very happy New Year, and hope that you have had a restful festive season. The past few weeks have seen some challenging circumstances for the SVR, but as we begin our annual shutdown and maintenance period, we’re looking forward to the 2018 season, and the start of services on Saturday 17th February.

Sadly, as you may have heard, things weren’t entirely peaceful at the SVR over Christmas, as two of our carriages came under attack by vandals. However, an appeal to meet the £10,000 costs has been launched by the Charitable Trust, and as we report in this month’s Branch Lines, work is already underway to get these vehicles back in service as quickly as possible.

Also, we report on the Santa season, the SVR’s busiest and most important time of year in terms of generating income. We say farewell to two familiar locomotives, and get updates and news from around the Railway.

Following last month’s edition, in which we included a link to the Charitable Trust’s new film, Martin White got in touch to say, “Loved the film and well done to all concerned. It encapsulates all I feel about the Railway and have done over the years. Nick Ralls is right, it is a passion! My regret is that I do not live nearer so I can volunteer to be an active Railway person. Roll on the proposed volunteer accommodation!” And Paul Fathers emailed to comment, “Just a note of thanks for the latest edition of the news. The quality continues to improve and is just what is needed to keep everyone informed. Thanks for all your efforts.”


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!

Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors 

Picture by Ian Murray

£10,000 appeal launched after vandals attack two SVR heritage carriages

The Charitable Trust is appealing for donations to help meet the £10,000 cost of putting right the shocking damage caused by vandals to two carriages during the Christmas period.

The attacks were discovered early on Boxing Day, when staff arrived to find spray paint covering the carriage sides. General manager Nick Ralls said, “This was not what we expected to come back to after our Christmas Day closure. It’s heart-breaking to think that in just a few minutes the people who carried out this attack have caused hundreds of hours of extra work for our volunteers and staff. However, we’ve dealt with worse before, such as the devastating floods of 2007, and we’ll deal with this too.”

Work has begun to put right the damage to the first affected carriage, 2701, a teak-bodied vehicle designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, and owned by the Charitable Trust. It entered the Carriage & Wagon paint shop at Kidderminster, where it will remain for up to a month. Supervisor Hugh McQuade explained, “Our first task was to remove the spray paint by sanding down to the varnish. Fortunately, the layer of soot acquired during the carriage’s service in December, has acted as a protective layer, stopping the cellulose-based spray paint from reacting with the varnish and our own white spirit-based painted lining and gold leaf lettering. We’ll need to touch up the lettering and lining in a number of places, but the main job now is to prepare the undamaged remainder and apply several coats of new varnish to the entire side of the carriage.

“I’ve been humbled by the response of volunteers to this setback, and I have a willing and able team who are more than capable of tackling the job. The main problem is that we won’t be able to carry out the planned essential work on other carriages, and this will set us back several months in our schedule. The knock-on effects of it all will be felt for a long time to come.”

Remedial work on the other vandalised carriage, No 1146, owned by the SVR-based 813 Preservation Fund, will begin in February, and is likely to take a month to complete.

As the Charitable Trust launched its appeal for donations for help restore the damaged carriages, director Shelagh Paterson said:

“As soon as the news of the attack broke, we started receiving offers of help from people who were clearly as shocked as we are. On the first day alone, nearly £1,000 was donated online. We very much hope that this generous support will continue to help us meet the total cost of £10,000 to get these important carriages back into service as soon as possible.”

Donations can be made online at or by phoning 01562 757940.

As soon as the news broke on Boxing Day, the vandalism brought widespread condemnation on social media; the original Facebook post alerting people to the event has reached well in excess of half a million people and has been shared more than 2,700 times.




Another successful Santa season


Although heavy snowfall impacted on one of the Railway’s operational Santa days, the 2017 season was extremely successful, attracting well over 30,000 passengers.


The decision to cancel services on Sunday 10th December was taken for safety reasons. Thanks to a huge team effort by volunteers and staff, additional Santa Herald trains were scheduled on three further days to accommodate passengers who had been unable to travel because of the cancellation.


Santa event organisers have paid tribute to everyone who supported the Railway’s biggest income generator of the year. Diane Malyon said, “I’d like to thank all volunteers and paid staff alike who worked so hard to make the Christmas season on the SVR the best it could be, considering there were some very challenging times during the event at all locations. Thanks also to those who maintained a great sense of humour right up to the end of each day, including Severn Communications who decided to call me ‘Mrs. Christmas’!”


Lewis Maddox added, “Thanks to everyone who made sure we gave a first class experience to tens of thousands of excited passengers this Christmas, and special thanks to the wonderful people who supported our Santa Heralds and this year’s new services, the Santa Sleigh Expresses. Stan Jones and I could not have managed without you!”


All 2016 shares now dispatched

The team organising the 2016 share offer for Bridgnorth report that the final share certificates and travel passes where applicable were posted to shareholders before Christmas. If you have not received yours, please get in touch so that the matter can be investigated. If necessary, replacements will be arranged. Please contact , or call 01562 757900 during office hours.

On behalf of the organising team, Tony Bending explained, “The share offer for Bridgnorth was extremely successful, raising a total of £2,548.505 over its 12-month sales period. In the final two months, the volume of sales was extremely buoyant, with purchases of £857,000 being made in October alone.

“With such a large number of sales in that short period, it took Neville’s, our registrars, a few weeks to process all of the transactions. However, this work is now complete, and we would like to thank everyone who has supported this worthwhile project, which will help transform Bridgnorth into a station of which we can all be justifiably proud.”

Charitable Trust attracts further corporate support as new film is launched

Last month, three more companies strengthened their involvement and support for the Railway through the Charitable Trust’s Corporate Partnership Club. Estate agents Nock Deighton became new gold level members, and Allelys Heavy Haulage took out new silver membership, whilst HotelshopUK renewed its membership, upgrading to gold level.

These announcements followed mfg Solicitors’ decision to take out gold level membership in autumn 2017, and clearly show that companies are increasingly seeing the benefits of being associated with the region’s leading heritage attraction.

The latest corporate recruitments came as the Charitable Trust released a promotional film, which specifically targets businesses, showing them the benefits of involvement with the SVR. You can view the film at by clicking on the ‘Corporate Partnership’ film icon on the right hand side.

Additionally in the past month, the Trust has also received support from two grant-making bodies. The RD Turner Trust has given £3000 towards the cost of 1950s moquette fabric for the restoration of carriage 24105. This vehicle has just gone back into service and is the latest of our carriages to be adapted for wheelchair access. Additionally, the Lady Forester Trust has given £5,000 towards the restoration and adaptation of 80776. This will be the SVR’s premium wheelchair-accessible dining carriage, laid out in an innovative zig zag design, and will make it possible to accommodate groups of up to 16 wheelchair users to dine.

If you work for or know of a company that could benefit from corporate partnership with the Railway, please encourage them to watch the film and to visit

Photo: mfg’s Peter Copsey and Maynard Burton are welcomed to the Railway by the Charitable Trust’s John Leftwich and Shelagh Paterson.

Tornado returns for Spring Steam Gala

Pre-bookings will soon be available for the first special event of the 2018 season, the Spring Steam Gala, 16th-18th March. There’ll be a great line-up of visiting locomotives supported by members of the SVR home fleet. A tantalising festival of locomotives large and small, this promises to be a great event for all the family, so please come along and get up close to an array of exciting steam locomotives, and sample a fantastic selection of attractions up and down the line.

Visiting locomotives include:

· LNER B1 No 61264

· LNER B12 No 8572

· LNER A1 No 60163 Tornado

· BR Standard 4MT No 80072

· Haydock Foundry Bellerophon

Attractions include:

· Local trains & autotrains to-ing and fro-ing between stations and services into the evenings.

· Double-headed pannier tanks

· Goods trains

· Intensive timetable

· Paddock Railway at Hampton Loade and the Coalyard Miniature Railway at Kidderminster in steam

· Kidderminster Railway Museum open

· Eardington Halt open for visits (although no trains will stop at the station)

Vacancies for front of house staff at Kidderminster

The Railway is recruiting full- and part-time front of house staff for the King & Castle pub and Valley Suite in Kidderminster. There is an immediate need and we also anticipate recruiting more staff from March 2018 onwards. Previous experience is preferred, however the biggest attributes you can bring to the team would be enthusiasm, passion, positivity, fun and a great team ethic. There is a job to do and ensuring standards, compliance, cleanliness and the highest customer service is essential. Our goal is to ensure that every customer who walks through our door receives a great experience. As this involves bar work, only applicants aged 18 years or over will be considered. Please apply with CV to by Friday 12 January 2018. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 

Bewdley barrow crossing is back

The period presentation committee asked Bewdley stationmaster James Pearson to approve the re-instatement of the porters’ barrow crossing between up and down main, platforms 1 and 2. This was duly granted, and a team from the station’s P-way department have put it back in place.

Tribute to Tim Godfrey

It is with sadness that we report the death on 7th December, after an illness, of the SVR Charitable Trust LNER Group’s Vice President, Tim Godfrey FCIM, F Inst D, FFB. The Coach Group’s Richard Hill writes, “Tim was one of Sir Nigel Gresley’s grandsons and had been a great friend and supporter of our Group since his appointment as our Honorary Vice President in 2008. Tim’s funeral is expected to be on 26th January, and any readers wishing further information should contact me on

“One of Tim’s more recent SVR visits included officiating at the roll-out of former Brake Pigeon Van 70759 after its costly re-roofing to remedy the ravages of time and corrosion. That vehicle is now in regular SVR service carrying passengers as Brake Third 24506 in our teak set. It joined the set just in time for the visit of Gresley A3 Pacific 60103 Flying Scotsman in 2016.

“Tim also spent a day with us in September 2016 at the SVR Charitable Trust’s historic fund-raising VIP event. This was the first time since 1964 that a Gresley locomotive (co-incidentally Flying Scotsman each time) had hauled a complete train of nine Gresley teak carriages. It also marked the end of the SVR’s Gresley teak train’s 42-year restoration phase.

“We salute Tim’s memory on the occasion of his passing and are forever in his debt for all that he did to support the Severn Valley Railway’s LNER restorers.”

You can read Richard’s full tribute to Tim Godfrey in the LNER Coach Group’s newsletter No 65 at

Farewell to two friends

On the very last day of 2017, the ever-faithful No 7812 Erlestoke Manor made its final runs along the Severn Valley, before it was withdrawn from service. With the boiler ticket about to expire, it’s time for the loco’s ten yearly overhaul. This is taking place at Tyseley locomotive works, and there’s more about the restoration at

And we also bid farewell on 2nd January, the very last day of our festive services, to No 34053 Sir Keith Park, which is moving to Swanage Railway. Affectionately known as ‘Skip’, this loco joined the SVR’s fleet in 2012 following overhaul, and steamed for the first time in preservation on this Railway.


It’s seen plenty of memorable moments in its time with us, including the Steam and Morgan car challenge in October 2012, and its inauguration ceremony in August 2013.

Toad van restoration approaches completion

As 2017 drew to a close, the volunteers of the Charitable Trust’s LNER Coach Group have been busy at their Bewdley base, bringing their current project, Toad van 17410, into its final stages of restoration. Group member Richard Hill explains, “We’ve now carried out all of the major bodywork repairs, repairing or replacing many steel and wooden fixtures. The brake linkage has been bushed and pinned, and the interior painted and decorated to a high standard.

“We still have the running boards to finish, and once this is done, the volunteer-led portion of the project will be complete. We then require professional input to deal with overhaul of the vacuum brakes, re-profiling the wheels and finishing the paintwork and lettering to the 1940 GWR-livery style.”

If you would like to make a donation to assist the final stages of the project, please visit


Photo credit goes to David Chown for the exterior, whilst the interior image is courtesy of Richard Hill.

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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