July 2019

On the 27th June 2019, 6960 passes Crossing Cottage with an afternoon charter heading for Kidderminster. By Ian Murray

Welcome to your latest edition of Branch Lines!

Welcome to your July edition of Branch Lines. Our ‘Step back to the 1940s’ event has just concluded, and was especially poignant this year because it is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. At the Sunday closing ceremony, D-Day veteran Arthur Jones paid a moving tribute to the men who died during the Normandy landings. Even the beautiful Severn Valley countryside has been reflecting the memory of those who lost their lives, with some truly awe-inspiring displays of poppies stretching across entire fields. 

 

In mid-June the news broke that our general manager Nick Ralls will be leaving the SVR later this year. The chairman of SVR Holdings paid tribute to Nick who will be joining the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust. Meanwhile, the project to restore Falling Sands Viaduct got the official go ahead, and many restorations across the Railway progressed in the sometimes searing heat.  In your July edition of Branch Lines, we’ve reports on all these topics, plus the intriguing story behind Raveningham Hall’s nickname of ‘Ratbag’, a dip into the SVR archives, a trip to India and the reason why some of our coach sets are currently entertaining an ‘odd man out’. 

 

Please do get in touch with your new, views, photographs and questions by emailing branchlines@svrlive.com , and if anyone you know would like to sign up to receive monthly email reminders, all they need to do is email us at the same address. 

 

Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors 

Picture by Ian Murray

General manager to leave the SVR 

SVR general manager Nick Ralls will leave later this year to join the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust as chief executive. Commenting on Nick’s departure, SVR chairman Nick Paul said, “I would like to express my personal thanks, and thanks from my fellow board directors for all the good work that Nick has done to develop our railway over the years, putting it into the strong position that it enjoys today. 

“Nick joined us almost 12 years ago, when the railway was reeling from extensive damage and widespread landslips caused by the torrential floods of summer 2007. He did a tremendous job in overseeing the huge rebuilding and restoration operation that enabled the SVR to re-open early the following year. Our success in overcoming the storm damage attracted a number of awards, including the Heart of England Tourist Board’s ‘best tourism experience of the year’. 

“During Nick’s tenure as general manager, the SVR has gone from strength to strength. We’ve opened The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley, a state-of-the-art diesel maintenance depot at Kidderminster, and have greatly enhanced our visitor facilities at Bridgnorth with a refreshment room in authentic GWR period style along with much improved parking provision. Recognising the need to future-proof our skills base, we established our pioneering Heritage Skills Training Academy to develop and nurture young heritage engineering talent. 

“Nick also played an important role in bringing Flying Scotsman to the SVR in 2016, in a sell-out six-day event that firmly cemented our position as a leading UK heritage railway. 

“The role at Ironbridge Gorge Museums is a significant opportunity for Nick to return to the museum sector which he left to join us more than a decade ago. We wish him all the very best for his future there.” 

Although Nick will be leaving paid employment at the Railway, he intends to keep up his volunteering role as a guard, “The SVR has been a large part of my life for 12 wonderful years. You cannot help but love the place, the people and the atmosphere. I have enjoyed working with all staff and in particular the volunteers who provide the magic of the SVR. I’ve been part of this very special place for a long time and I hope my successor will enjoy it as much as I have.” 

The SVR will shortly begin the process to recruit a replacement general manager. 

Photo: Nick Ralls with recently restored locomotive 75069 

Falling Sands – all systems go! 

The SVR Charitable Trust has now received official ‘Permission to Start’ from The National Lottery Heritage Fund on the project to restore Falling Sands Viaduct, and the associated educational and outreach activities.  The Trust’s Shelagh Paterson explained more: 

“On receipt of our grant we still had some important information to gather and submit to the Heritage Fund before we could get started, but now it really is ‘all systems go’! Thank you so much to everyone who has helped us get to this point. 

“Phase one of the project will tackle the drainage on the viaduct and we are currently in the process of confirming the contractor. The contract will commence in early January 2020, then in the spring we’ll begin phase two – the restoration of the brickwork.  

“However, we have already started the educational and outreach work that forms an important part of this project – last week we hosted a class of nine-years-old from Sutton Park Community Primary School, Kidderminster who visited the Viaduct as part of an art project.  

“In the meantime, we have welcomed two new staff members into the Charitable Trust to assist with the delivery of the project, both funded by the National Lottery. Frankie Spickernell (left) will be managing the project and acting as the liaison between the Railway and The National Lottery Heritage Fund to ensure that we’re meeting the terms of our grant. Laura Hines (right) has just started with us as our activity and interpretation manager. She will be helping to deliver the educational and community outreach work that runs alongside the restoration works, and which will include the Stove R, our travelling exhibition space.”  

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer with the project, please contact laura.hines@svrtrust.org.uk pop into the Charitable Trust offices. Look out for further updates very soon. 

SVR LIVE

VOLUNTEER

MEMBERSHIP

Vacancy - The SVR Charitable Trust is looking for an outstanding fundraiser

 

This is a great opportunity to develop funding projects and source funding for the Severn Valley Railway.  You’ll be raising funds for locomotives, carriages (especially wheelchair-accessible vehicles), educational offerings and listed buildings. The SVR Charitable already has in-house resource to assist in researching possible grant makers and assist in application submissions. This is a 3-day-a-week post, based in Kidderminster.

 

The Trust’s current fundraiser has moved into a project management post, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and they’re now looking for her replacement. Please follow this link for an application pack, and feel free to share this information with successful fundraisers who would excel in this role.

Top environmental health marks for the Venturer 

The volunteer team who staff the Severn Valley Venturer Sunday luncheon dining train are celebrating after gaining the highest possible rating from the Environmental Health inspector. The service was awarded a ‘5’ rating in its first inspection for many years. Longstanding Venturer volunteer Diane Malyon says it makes all the hard work worthwhile: 

“This rating is great evidence of the satisfaction to be gained from volunteering on the Venture. What’s more, on 23rd June we had one of our highest ever bar service takes at £360, coupled with tips of over £160! The diners were great; good fun and light-hearted banter with the stewards is commonplace. Basically, we all do it because we want to and not because we have to, and that usually rubs off onto the diners too.” 

If dining on the Venturer sounds tempting, you’ll need to book in advance for Sunday lunch, at www.svr.co.uk .  

Volunteers are always needed on the Venturer, such as pantry staff (washing up a speciality), stewards (serving food), wine waiters and cooks. Training is offered for those with little experience. Please contact the volunteer liaison office on 01299 401776 or vlo@svrlive.com 

A full length article on the history of the Severn Valley Venturer will appear in a future edition of SVR News (the quarterly magazine sent to all SVR members) 

Photo: The Venturer team in 2014 with the Queen’s Award for Industry 

The story behind our teak carriage roof boards 

You may have noticed these roof-boards on some of the SVR’s LNER teak carriages, like the one in the photograph. But do you know what they refer to?  Richard Gunning of the LNER Carriage Group lets us in on the ‘secret’.  

The purpose of the boards is to reflect a genuine service that used LNER stock for an inter-regional train known informally as the ‘Ports to Ports Express’. It wasn’t named as such in timetables, but it was an interesting daily cross-country service between Newcastle and South Wales, believed to have called at Newport, Cardiff, Barry and Swansea, with a portion from Hull.  

The service’s northward run was via Gloucester and Cheltenham and then non-stop along the ‘Drum and Monkey’ line. This was a single, never upgraded, line via Andoversford, Notgrove, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Kingham, Chipping Norton, Rollright Halt, Hook Norton, and Adderbury to Banbury, where locos were changed and the service joined the LNER. The LNER used a dedicated five coach set, which could be strengthened. It had ample first class and a superb ex-North Eastern Railway dining car. In contrast the GWR, whose stock alternated with the LNER’s, thought it relatively unimportant and provided whatever stock was to hand.  

The service was chiefly aimed at coastal steamer crews, who liked to go home to their families while their ships were in port. Our open stock LNER carriages would only have seen occasional Ports-to-Ports service as strengthening vehicles. World War 2 brought it all to an end. 

Toad 17410 now out of its hole 

  

Many generous donations have allowed the SVR Charitable Trust's GWR 'Toad' brake van No17410 to be fully restored to its 'as built' condition. This £20,000 project was mainly achieved by the Trust’s LNER Carriage Group volunteers at Bewdley, who were briefly at ‘a loose end’, having completed their restoration of Brake Third No 24506 for the Railway’s LNER Gresley teak set. Volunteer Richard Hill explains more: 

  

“Our group took pity on this very run-down Great Western Toad brake van, which was languishing in the open at Bewdley. It was becoming increasingly dilapidated after giving years of sterling service, mainly on SVR permanent way trains. The van was still owned by a number of individuals, and those that could be traced readily agreed to assured the Toad’s long term future by transferring it to the SVR Charitable Trust’s ownership. After extensive repairs and renewals by Bewdley’s LNER group and a visit to Bristol HST depot for wheel turning, the final restoration touches and the mechanical overhaul were completed by Kidderminster Carriage & Wagon staff.” 

  

The first public duty of ‘Toad’ 17410 was to act as the guard’s brake van for the special centenary train run with GWR 2-8-0 goods loco No 2857 on 2nd June 2018.     

  

The Charitable Trust’s Shelagh Paterson added, “This restoration project was made possible by all those involved both in the transfer of 17410 into the Charitable Trust’s ownership and in the Toad’s extensive and thorough restoration. Their hard work and funding efforts will be widely appreciated by all who can now enjoy seeing and experiencing the Toad working at SVR galas and other special events. The popularity of this van is such that Kidderminster Carriage & Wagon Department have ‘adopted’ GWR Toad 17410 as their ‘mascot’ vehicle for the guard’s accommodation on trains testing vehicles under overhaul. It is good to know that Toad 17410 now has a useful and secure SVR future.” 

 

Can you donate to help fund more projects like this?  Please visit https://www.svrtrust.org.uk/index.php?page=Make%20a%20donation 

  

Photo credit: LNERCG 

SVR’s accessibility is a hit with visitors from Worcester 

 

A group of visitors from Worcester’s Eastbank Court retirement complex had a superb day out on the SVR recently, in a trip organised by one of their number, 92-year-old Haf Coglan.  

 

Also in the group, as very ‘junior’ members, were SVR volunteers Richard and Elaine Herington, who recently moved into the complex themselves, and joined their neighbours to make sure everything went smoothly.  Richard said things couldn’t have gone better: 

 

“We travelled from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth then back to Highley. Station staff and  TTIs (travelling ticket inspectors) on the train, were very helpful and patient, assisting our group both on and off using the ramp. The guard even held the departure of the return train from Highley until they were all safely seated.  We had a reserved buffet car next to the guard’s van, so people could store their walkers. 

  

“The two buffet car staff were excellent, taking time to show the group points of interest along the way, including the magnificent show of poppies on the far side of the tunnel.  

 

“We had lunch in The Engine House and were able to view all the exhibits with ease.  The footbridge at Highley was obviously not viable for wheelchair and walker users, but they were all able to use the crossing, once the train had departed. All in all, a fabulous day out and our group gave top mark for the SVR’s accessibility. As SVR working members, Elaine and I felt very proud of the SVR and our fellow volunteers.” 

 

Photo credit: Richard Herington 

Anno vicesimo quinto & vicesimo sexto 

 

Hands up if that means anything to you?  No, us neither, but thanks to Peter Darkin of the SVR archives, all will be revealed. 

 

This is the heading on an 1862 Act of Parliament that authorised an alteration of the terms of the lease of the Severn Valley Railway Company to the West Midland Railway Company. Peter was delighted to receive an original copy of this into the SVR archives, presented by volunteers Derrick Weaver and Ian Wooden. It’s an important piece of Railway history, as Peter explained: 

“The Act runs to four pages, and goes on to list how interest and dividends, preference shares and ordinary shares shall be paid and also relates to expenses and salaries. 

“The flamboyant heading is in Latin and in a somewhat roundabout way, explains when this particular Act passed into law. ‘Anno vicesimo quinto & vicesimo sexto’ translates as ‘in the year 25 and 26’. This refers to the Parliamentary Session in which it was passed, numbered from the date of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne in 1837. 

“Even today, this method of dating Acts of Parliament is still used. The Parliamentary year straddles the calendar year end in December. You can see the same logic a few lines further down on the first page of the Act, in relation to the Severn Valley Railway Leasing Act 1860. This passed into law in the Parliamentary Session that was in the 23rd to 24th years of Victoria's reign.” 

 

Photo: The first page of the 1862 Act of Parliament 

Event discounts for SVR members and shareholders 

Two forthcoming events in July are being made available to SVR members and shareholders at a discounted price; the Gin Train and Peaky Night. 

The Gin Train departs on Saturday 13th July from Bridgnorth at 1.25pm or 5.40pm, or Kidderminster at 11.10am or 3.30pm, in the beautifully appointed Gresley teak 7960 and will be a first class gin tasting experience. You’ll receive a welcome cocktail, tasting sequence of three artisan gins, finishing off with your favourite of the three tasters as a full G&T. Member and shareholder tickets are £30 (usual price £50.) 

Peaky Night takes places on Saturday 20th July. Departing Kidderminster at 6.25pm, you’ll travel to The Engine House at Highley for a night of themed entertainment. Live music will be provided by Peaky Blonder, three flapper girls will Charleston the night away, and you’ll receive a free, high-quality print from a vintage photo shoot. Hot food will be available to purchase on the night and a full range of beer, whisky and gin will be on offer. The train returns to Kidderminster at 10.45pm. Member and shareholder tickets are £18 (normal price £28) 

To book member and shareholder tickets for either event, please call the Visitor Services team on 01562 757900 or pop into the offices at Comberton Place. Please have your member or shareholder number with you when you book your tickets. 

Ratbag… it’s all in a name 

 

Now we love a challenge at Branch Lines, so when SVR member John Dickerson got in touch to ask about the origin of 6960 Raveningham Hall’s nickname, ‘Ratbag’, we got out the deerstalker and magnifying glass for a spot of detective work.  Bridgnorth’s shed master Martin White was happy to give us his take on things: 

 

“It’s far from certain how the name Ratbag came about, but I reckon it might have arisen because when the loco first came to the SVR in 1977 it carried a number of non-standard features, such as a mechanical lubricator and padded and sprung tractor seats in the cab. These hurt like anything if you caught your hand on them whilst firing. So it wasn’t exactly as Swindon would have built it and was rather disliked because of that.  

 

“However, although the nickname might initially have been derogatory, once it was overhauled and the non-standard items were removed, the name Ratbag became a term of affection and it was certainly a popular loco. 

   

“What I can tell you for a fact is that when it received its full overhaul at Bridgnorth in the early 1980s, the gang of volunteers who worked on it at that time, under the late Ray Tranter, were known as ‘the Ratbag Demolition Gang’. This came about because once the boiler was removed, over the course of a single bank holiday weekend, we completely stripped the motion, valves, pistons, brakes, pipe work and springs from the frames.  In other words, we demolished it! The group’s tool cupboard in the works at Bridgnorth is still known to this day as ‘the Ratbag cupboard’. 

There are plenty of stories to tell about the loco, the gang, and the owner at the time, Brian Thomas.” 

 

We hope this goes some way to answering your question John, and thanks to Martin for his insight. Anyone else know any more? Please let us know at branchlines@svrlive.com 

Roof repairs on 9581 

Some very positive news is in from the LNER Coach Group, currently restoring GWR buffet car 9581, and adapting it for wheelchair accessibility. The wall frame structure is now secure, and the volunteers are moving on to restore the roof, as Richard Hill explains: 

“Fortunately much of the existing roof is restorable. But access to it needs to be via secure scaffolding around the coach. Space is at a premium in a crowded Bewdley station yard, and one of the obstacles has been the position of the skip where engine firebox ashes are stored, awaiting disposal. This skip is normally resident alongside our project coach. Luckily, an alternative location has been found to allow us access for erecting the scaffolding. 

“There is a tight window for doing the roof repairs and making GWR 9581 watertight. This is because the area concerned needs to be clear of the scaffolding in time for the Bewdley station Bus Gala on 1st September. If nothing else, that’s a considerable incentive to get on with the roof work ASAP!” 

All eight of the coach’s passenger access doors are now fully sponsored, thanks to a recent generous donation. The doors have been beautifully made by specialist contractor, Jonathan Harrison, and are in process of being fitted to the coach. There are still the two end-corridor doors available for sponsorship at £750 each.  

The chance to sponsor an inch (or half-inch) of GWR 9581’s 700 inches body length, is proving popular, and is a very useful way of helping with the many materials needed for the work but which cannot readily be identified to a specific visible part of the coach. Around £4,500 has been raised in this way – plus a further £1,160 in added Gift Aid. 

Another sponsorship opportunity is the remaining 13 roof vents at £150. These have been designed to give 9581 an authentic Great Western appearance.  

You’ll find a downloadable donation form at: http://www.lnersvrcoachfund.org.uk/gwr9581-5043.html or you can donate to carriage restoration online at https://www.svrtrust.org.uk/index.php?page=Make%20a%20donation 

Photo: LNERCG 

With this Ratbag, I thee wed… 

Here’s a tale of someone who’s definitely in the Ratbag appreciation team. Longstanding SVR supporters Clive Baker and Freda Griffith got in touch to share their special memories of the loco, which played a central role in their wedding celebrations 27 years ago. When they married, the couple wanted something completely different for their big day.  Over to Freda: 

“As the bride-to-be in 1992, I visited the workshops at Bridgnorth with my dad, where we were able to choose from a selection of locos. We picked Raveningham Hall to haul our special wedding charter train, and Hinton Manor would have been the standby, if needed.  

“On the day, we departed Kidderminster town station at 12.15, and the Andy Masefield jazz band played on board the train to 150 wedding guests.  They also hopped out at Bridgnorth to continue, while everyone danced on the platform! We arrived back at Kidderminster shortly after 3pm, thoroughly entertained, well fed and superbly looked after.  

“SVR workshops made our engine headboard with ‘Clive and Fred’s Orient Express Wedding Belle 4th July 1992’ on it.  Needless to say, all our guests remember our wedding reception for all the best reasons.  I still get comments from complete strangers who chanced upon our celebrations, telling me how impressed they were.” 

Freda couldn’t remember the name of her locomotive driver, who’s shown in the photograph – but happily we can come to the rescue. It’s none other than Tony Bending, longstanding member, volunteer and director of both SVR Holdings and the SVR Company Limited. An elevated wedding chauffeur, if ever there was one! 

Volunteer ambassadors needed to accompany Lady A at Chateau Impney 

The popular Engine House resident Lady Armaghdale will be a major attraction at the prestigious Chateau Impney hill climb event on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July. The marketing department are looking for friendly, family-focussed volunteers to act as uniformed SVR ambassadors, manning the exhibit, promoting the SVR’s ‘A Very British Summer’ events and chatting about engines and railway history. 

In return for a few hours volunteering you’ll receive an entry ticket worth £25 and time to look around and watch the event.  Please contact 01562 757910 to get involved. 

Max Green in The Railway Magazine 

Another young SVR heritage engineer is featured in the latest edition of The Railway Magazine.  Max Green graduated from his apprenticeship nearly two years ago, and can be found working on locomotive overhauls at Bridgnorth.  He talks about his passion for heritage engineering and some of projects that he has been involved with.  The Railway Magazine is available at all good newsagents. 

What’s happening with the SVR’s coach sets? 

Operations coordinator Matt Robinson tells us he’s been asked by a few people why the SVR is currently running some sets with an ‘odd man out’ coach in them.  For example, there’s a maroon Mark 1 in the teak set, and a chocolate and cream coach on the end of the maroon set.  What’s going on?  As with most things round these parts, there’s an explanation. Matt has more:  

“The maroon MK1, 25771 is in the LNER teak set to allow carriage and wagon to complete the overhaul of the remaining teak carriages and undertake running repairs on 43600 due to a broken spring. This Mk1 was chosen because it has a strange, untraceable electrical fault that means the lights don’t work if it’s in set M, the MK1 maroons! 

“The only spare carriage available to replace 25771 in set M was chocolate and cream MK1 3109, because the usual spare maroon carriage is acting as the buffet at Bewdley. 

“With the working platform in the carriage shed now in use, we’ve taken the opportunity to repaint maroon buffet 1855, and very smart it now looks. While it was in for its repaint, chocolate and cream buffet car 1856 replaced it. So for a while we had a typical mid-1960s Western Region MK1 set!” 

Still following this?  Because it gets even more convoluted!  It’s all in a good cause though, as Matt explains: 

“With 1855 now nicely repainted and back in set M, 1856 has moved over to the LNER teak set so that buffet car from that set, 643, can be revarnished. So we now have a very untypical LNER set with one maroon, one chocolate and cream and six teak carriages. Please don’t worry! This should only be the situation for four weeks, after which 643 will be back, nice and shiny. 

“In parallel with this we hope you have noticed the Great Western set is looking smarter, courtesy, of Bridgnorth paint shop. With chocolate and cream buffet 1856 missing from the set, we have been able to release Collett 1116. This all because we need adaptors to allow GWR and LMS carriage to couple up to MK1s and LNER teaks, which are only fitted to a few carriages. This would be an article all on its own! 

“What is in store for 1856 next? Either back into the GWR set, or into the carmine and cream set so that we can give the buffet car in that set a repaint.” 

So, next time you see some weird carriage combinations, it’s not necessarily the operations department losing the plot and letting the set formations go to rack and ruin. It’s all part of a programme to keep our fleet of 60 carriages on the rails. Just blame C&W! 

Photo by Kenny Felstead: Maroon BR Mk1 No 25771 is the ‘odd man out’ in the teak set, hauled by 7714. A beautiful scene nevertheless!  

Loco overhaul progress 

 

This month shed master Martin White turns his attention from the current running fleet to the overhauls taking place at Bridgnorth. 

 

Firstly, Stanier Mogul 42968, or 13268 as it will become known. The paid staff team, along with the Stanier Mogul Fund’s own volunteer group, continue to make good progress on the loco frames, cab and cylinders.  After many weeks of preparation work by staff with hand grinders and measuring devices, a team of external contractors machined the main horn faces (where the axle boxes fit) during the last week of June. Sparks literally were flying for a few days as they worked to grind the faces to make them parallel and properly aligned. This will allow further measurements to be taken so that the machining of the driving wheel axle boxes can be completed.   

 

Work is also well underway on the boiler. With copper welding currently taking place on the inner firebox, after both the outer (steel) and inner (copper) doorplates were removed. The new front tube plate is away being machined and has proven to be rather troublesome. Looking forwards, the plan is for the loco to be re-wheeled and to have the boiler in the frames at the end of 2019, followed by entry into traffic in 2020. 

 

On 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ all the recent excitement has been over the delivery and trial fitting of the newly machined cylinder blocks. Less exciting, but equally important tasks have been taking place to prepare the design for a new fabricated drag-box (this sits between the main frames underneath the loco cab.) Other activities include the overhaul of brake gear, machining new cab fittings, commencing the refurbishment of the smokebox, new water trays for the boiler (a volunteer job being done off-site) and the manufacture of hundreds of stays to be fitted into the boiler, which is rapidly coming together at Northern Steam Engineering in Stockton. The forward-looking plan for 4930 is for the boiler to return to Bridgnorth in Q4 2019, the loco to be re-wheeled in Q1 2020, followed by boiler fitting and a steaming date in the latter part of 2020. 

 

Quietly, behind the scenes, advances are being made on 4150. The volunteers from the group have done tremendous work on the boiler at Bridgnorth, aided when necessary by SVR boilersmiths. A proposal to remedy some deep pitting on the boiler barrel is being completed. The loco frames are hopefully going to come to Bridgnorth at some point this year, as there is work needed to rivet a cross stretcher and the side tanks, as well as remove the wheelsets for some checks before final assembly. It is not unreasonable to expect a steaming date in 2021.  

 

As always, it’s a risky business suggesting dates for steam loco overhauls, but the dates listed above are the current estimates. 

 

Photo: Volunteer Simon Brooks inside 4150’s firebox preparing counter sinks for the patch screws, after SVR apprentice Jacob Cox had prepared the threads in the holes. 

SVR expertise reaches out to India 

SVR Charitable Trust trustee David Mead made his tenth visit to India recently to share his experience and knowledge with staff and senior officers from a number of the Indian Hill Railways. 

The trip was based at the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, of which David holds the position of director of engineering, and where he has previously been involved with reskilling the workforce in the workshops at Tindharia.   

During his latest visit,David ran three days of workshops covering locomotives, carriages and tracks. Another objective was to bring together representatives of three of India’s Hill Railways over two days to start a dialogue between them about common issues and concerns. David told us: 

“All of the Indian railways represented at the workshops are UNESCO heritage sites, and the aim was to debate how a functioning railway could work with UNESCO to preserve its world heritage status but still be a successful, commercial operation.  

“It was an honour to meet shop floor staff from the railways, along with managers from Indian Railways and the officers of UNESCO, and to be able to pass on to them the experiences of our heritage railways. The intention is to help them to move from a general service railway to a passenger-focussed tourist railway.  

“The concept of volunteering is almost unknown in India, so the hill railways need to be a commercial success if they are to survive.  After working with Indian Railways and now UNESCO, for about ten years, on behalf of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society, I feel things are at last moving in the right direction. 

“In addition, I visited some of the projects supported by Darjeeling Railway Community Support, a charity which I also help to run.” 

 

Photos: David Mead with staff at the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway & David on one of the DHR’s locomotives, DHR B Class No 788 ‘Tusker’ 

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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.

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