2857 climbing Eardington Bank on the 2nd June 2016 with a demonstration freight , By Ian Murray
Welcome to your latest edition of Branch Lines!
‘Keep calm and carry on’ is the order of the day across the SVR, which is right in the middle of its annual 1940s events. We’ll have photos and news from these in next month’s edition.
If you thought the blazing hot sun would slow the Railway down, you couldn’t be more wrong. In this edition, we report on two rather different racing events that had the SVR at their heart in June. ‘Steaming down the Valley’ pitted steam against muscle on Thursday evening, and Worcestershire’s finest had a flutter on the horses at Worcester earlier in the month, whilst raising funds for apprentice training at the SVR.
We’ve more news and happenings across the Railway, including the latest from the Bridgnorth development site, a profile-raising paint job at Eardington Halt, and an update on ‘helping hands for Falling Sands’. Plus there’s advance news of an evening event in November that might just heat things up even more.
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Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors
Picture by Ian Murray
Profile boost for Turntable
The dismantled turntable that will one day be installed at Bridgnorth has been stored at Eardington Halt for many years, but who knew? Over many years it had become almost invisible, covered in brambles. But it had not been forgotten.
Determined to raise the profile of the turntable, a group of volunteers recently put in some hard graft, clearing vegetation and applying a smart coat of paint to the turntable’s main deck. Paul Fathers, a trustee of the Turntable Fund, explains:
“The turntable, which originally came from Bristol, was purchased by the Turntable Fund in 1998, following an appeal and raffle. Like the project to install the Kidderminster Turntable, this scheme was also led by John Giles who thought it sensible that we should be able to turn locomotives at each end of the line.
“We moved it to Eardington Halt, which was at the time the only suitable storage space with road access, in the hope that installation would follow soon after. Some 20 years have passed and some smaller components have disappeared, but we are now in sight of realising our aim. Test bores have been carried out to assess the suitability of a site adjacent to the loco shed at Bridgnorth and if all goes to plan, groundworks may soon commence.
“Malcolm Broadhurst, Leonard Warrington and I, with the assistance of the Friends of Eardington Halt, cleared away the undergrowth and painted the main deck of the turntable. It can now be seen clearly from passing trains, which will hopefully encourage interest in the project which is financially supported by the Share Offer and the Charitable Trust.”
Fundraising for Falling Sands gathers pace
As we go to press, the SVR’s ‘helping hands for Falling Sands’ appeal has secured more than £161,000 of its £275,000 target. More than 1,500 supporters have already donated to add their name or a friend’s to the Railway’s first ever donation wall. Many people have chosen to add multiple names of family members, and a number of SVR-based preservation groups are signing up too.
Shelagh Paterson of the SVR Charitable Trust said:
“The roll call of supporting names gets higher and higher every day, and shows that there is widespread support for this appeal. We’ve been contacted by supporters from all over the world. The other day, a gentleman in Australia asked to add the names of each of his six grandchildren!
“If we can secure the target of £275,000 that was set for us by the Heritage Lottery Fund, we will strengthen our bid to them for a further £1million, to carry out the urgently needed repairs to Falling Sands Viaduct. We submit our final bid to HLF in October, and we hope to have the majority of the funding in place by then.”
To add a name to the Falling Sands donation wall, please visit www.svrtrust.org.uk
Photo credit: Matthew Wilson
SVR firemen race the train to save the locos
A new SVR event provided the ideal opportunity for a spot of SVR fundraising, as two of our firemen, in full ‘bib and brace’, took part in a run along the Severn Valley last Thursday evening, 28th June.
Andy Poole and Andy Stringer joined around 400 runners to race the train along a scenic but challenging 3.5 mile route. Andy Poole was raising funds towards the restoration of 4930 Hagley Hall, whilst Andy Stringer was doing the same for 82045. Wonder how they managed to secure those rather appropriate race numbers?
Bradley Manor provided the steam-driven competition for the runners, and was beaten by just 20 seconds by a single runner during the first race. However, in the second race, 7802 fought back and managed to snatch the first place honours, although only by 15 seconds.
Andy Stringer said this was his ideal event:
“It combined my two passions of running and firing steam locomotives - followed soon after by my third passion, for real ale! An excellent event, really well organised and great to bring so many new faces to our railway. The run itself was a challenge - and much harder in footplate overalls than I'd imagined. There's no doubt that Andy Poole and I will be back again next year!”
Events Coordinator Lewis Maddox added:
"Things were equally testing for Bradley Manor’s footplate crew. Without a speedometer on the engine, they found it challenging to maintain a more sedate speed than usual!
“Our first 'Steaming Down the Valley' event was organised in partnership with the Severn Valley Country Park and race timing specialists StuWeb, and was a fantastic team effort. The atmosphere was vibrant, albeit slightly sweaty!”
Photo credit: Bob Sweet
Spicing things up at the SVR
With the summer sun blazing down on us, cooler times seem far away. But those winter chills will be coming and the SVR has the perfect antidote: the Spice Train!
On Saturday 2nd November you can ‘keep calm and curry on’ with our scenic evening railcar, joining at either Kidderminster or Bewdley, for the journey to Highley and The Engine House Visitor Centre.
Here you can marvel at the all-new configuration of locomotives, and then tuck into your curry meal with naan bread and poppadoms.
The return trip departs shortly after 10pm. Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dahl boy!
For more information and to book tickets, please visit http://www.svr.co.uk/SEItem.aspx?a=137
An SVR winner at the races
On a baking hot Monday the 11th June, Worcestershire’s finest gathered at Worcester Racecourse for the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust’s annual fundraising Race Day.
Many of the Trust’s corporate partners were represented, including Thursfields Solicitors, who were the main sponsors of the event. An auction and raffle helped boost the funds raised to an impressive total of £13,000. This money will help fund apprentice training in the SVR’s Heritage Skills Training Academy.
Photo credit: nigelkirbyphotography.com , and there are further photos at https://www.svrtrust.org.uk/index.php?page=Worcester%20Race%20Day%202018
The DMU returns with Evening Scenic Specials
The Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) will be making a return to service later this month following four months of maintenance. It takes its place at the head of the Evening Scenic Special service on Saturday 14th July, continuing through until September.
The DMU Group (West Midlands) would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and volunteers who have allowed the Scenic Specials to continue since April whilst the unit has been receiving some TLC.
Optional Fish & Chip suppers are available on the Evening Scenic Special services. Just order your food before you depart Kidderminster, and it will be ready and waiting for you at Bridgnorth! For more details and to book tickets to travel please visit http://www.svr.co.uk/SEItem.aspx?a=48
Terrace extension takes shape at Bridgnorth
Infrastructure manager Chris Bond has news of recent progress in the building works at Bridgnorth:
“The terrace extension work is proceeding, with all the necessary formwork being prepared for the casting of the concrete slab. In order to lighten the load on the embankment, a large volume of the area to be concreted is being filled with very large polystyrene blocks which are much harder to cut to shape than you might think!
“On the building itself, the cast iron downpipes are being fitted and the door thresholds cast. At the rear of the building, the Bovey Tracey building has had the frame work erected and is now covered in breathable felt, ready for the external cladding to be applied. Internally, a good deal of finish plaster has been placed on the walls and work continues on the mechanical and electrical installations. The floor tiles that will grace the toilets have now been delivered to site and will shortly be laid by the tilers.”
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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.