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March 2022

Sir Nigel Gresley, numbered 4498 and in black livery. Locomotive Services Group.jpg
A4 Sir Nigel Gresley, numbered 4498 and in LNER wartime black livery, will be one of the visiting locomotives for the Spring Steam  Gala in April. Locomotive Services Group

Welcome to your latest edition of Branch Lines

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple” wrote Jenny Joseph, who was described as one of Britain’s best-loved poets. There’s no denying that 34027 Taw Valley is something of an ‘old lady’ now, and how fitting that this SVR-based locomotive will carry a unique purple livery to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year. The transformation has begun in the paint shop, and we’ve an early sneak preview of things to come.

The news from Ukraine shocks us all as each day unfolds, and the SVR has contributed items from stock to a Kidderminster appeal for aid. A small gesture, and we know that many Branch Lines readers will also be making their own contributions.

We’ve news on the gargantuan effort that’s being made to get the Bridgnorth loco shed ready for its much-needed improvements and rolling stock updates from behind the scenes at MPD and C&W. Despite this year’s extended shut down, things have been very busy.

Looking ahead, there are some exciting announcements about guest locomotives for both spring Galas, the SVR Charitable Trust is celebrating its 10th birthday, and there’s activity all around the Railway, as we gear up for the start of the season with Open House Weekend on April 2nd  and 3rd. We very much hope you will be joining us then, or at least early in the 2022 season! 

Lesley Carr & Patrick Hearn, co-editors 

The Branch Lines team is Lesley Carr, Patrick Hearn, Amy Baker and Nicola Fox

Next edition Thursday 14th April

What's new?

Taw Valley's makeover begins

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Artist's impression of 34027
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34027 madder undercoat
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34027 in the paintshop
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Gary Williams and Steve Llewllyn
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34027 Taw Valley's tender
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The SVR’s ‘purple locomotive’ has continued to grab attention since last month’s announcement that it would be painted purple and renamed in honour of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The temporary, new name ‘Elizabeth II’ has been chosen by public vote, and work is already underway on the transformation of 34027 Taw Valley into its new guise.

Most of the painting will be undertaken by carriage painter Ronan O’Brien, who has been seconded from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth.

 

He’s taking the lead on painting both Taw Valley and 4930 Hagley Hall.

As he watched the transformation progress in the paint shop, head of engineering Martin White said, “I know that the new look is going to be Marmite, and people will either love it or loathe it. What’s in no doubt is that it is going to make a lasting impression. Personally, I reckon it is going to be awesome!”

The new, temporary name has been submitted to the Cabinet Office for official approval, and a further announcement will be made in due course on when the new livery will be revealed to the public.

Click on the gallery for larger screen images, descriptions and credits

 

Severn Valley Railway supports Ukraine appeal

The harrowing images of the war in Ukraine appear daily on the news, and touch the hearts of us all. In response, the Severn Valley Railway is donating a large selection of stock to support The Harriers Arms appeal.

 

The idea came from retail manager Lesley Bayliss, who felt moved by the scenes in Eastern Europe and realised that the SVR had a variety of items that fitted the requirements of the local charity drive.

 

Clothing, toys, activity books, torches and kitchenware have all been donated directly from the SVR’s warehouse, and fit the aid requirements set out by The Harriers Arms appeal.

 

Michael Dunn, head of visitor experience said: “The scenes we are seeing from Ukraine are heart-wrenching, and everyone at the railway has been moved to support in any way they can. 

Karen Bromell, Lesley Bayliss, Lucy Kelly and Kellie Downey with some of the stock that's

“Lesley came to me with the idea very early and I was quick to say yes. This isn’t a huge thing, but we’re glad to play our part in supporting the appeal. The Kidderminster community has come together to support people in need.”

Karen Bromell, Lesley Bayliss, Lucy Kelly and Kellie Downey with some of the stock that's being donated. Dan Shorthouse

 

A triple treat for the Spring Steam Gala

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GWR 2999 Lady of Legend
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Locomotive 2678
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The Severn Valley Railway has announced three guaranteed crowd-pullers for its Spring Steam Gala on 21st – 24th April.

Bound to cause a stir, and most recently announced, is 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, appearing in an unusual (and very temporary) black livery and carrying its original number of 4498. The Gala appearance was negotiated with Locomotive Services Group and owning group the Sir Nigel Gresley Trust, as part of the contract for the engine’s running in tests, due to take place on SVR metals later this month. The Gala will be the only opportunity to see the loco in black, as it will be repainted into BR Express blue before it returns to its main line operations.

Then, in a little and large duo, GWR 2999 ‘Lady of Legend’ will be appearing alongside LB&SCR A1X Terrier class 2678. 

The Great Western Society’s new-build 2999 Saint class ‘Lady of Legend’ will return to the SVR from Didcot Railway Centre, following its much-anticipated debut at last year’s Spring Steam Up. A project 45 years in the making, 2999 is the only locomotive of its type in existence.

Visiting courtesy of the Terrier Trust and Kent & East Sussex Railway, 2678 is the one of only three Terrier class locomotives that are currently in working order in preservation and is the only one that’s ever run on the SVR. This is the locomotive’s first visit since 2003’s Autumn Steam Gala, and it’s part of the Terrier 150 series of events, commemorating 150 years of the class. More information is at www.terrier150.co.uk

 

The visiting locomotives will join other special guests and popular locos from the home fleet for the four-day event. Home fleet locomotives include pannier tanks 1501 and 7714, Ivatt Class 43106 and BR standard class 4, 75069. WD 71516 Welsh Guardsman also joins the line-up.

Services will run traditionally, with passengers free to hop on and off at all SVR stations and the SVR is also partnering with Trackside Magazine to offer complimentary programmes to every guest.  

On the Saturday of the Gala, UK Railtours is running a special excursion trip from London Kings Cross via Peterborough with the opportunity for passengers to enjoy a discounted ticket to spend over four hours at the SVR’s Gala. More details and booking are at UK Railtours.

Tickets are available for the Spring Steam Gala now at svr.co.uk or by calling 01562 757 900.

Click on the gallery for larger screen images, descriptions and credits

 

Guest locomotives sure to ‘Peak’ interest for the Spring Diesel Festival

A third guest has been added to the Severn Valley Railway Spring Diesel Festival, as Deltic D9009 joins a bumper event line up.

Visiting the SVR between 19th – 22nd May, the locomotive joins Class 44 D4 ‘Great Gable’ and Class 46 D182, and appears courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society.

Currently running in BR Blue livery and carrying the name ‘Alycidon’, the Class 55 locomotive is one of six Deltics in preservation. 

Alongside the trio of guests, the SVR will be using a selection of its home fleet across the weekend including Class 50s, Class 52s, Class 33, Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ and Class 17 Clayton.

Class 31 31466, which visited during the Autumn Diesel Gala in 2021, has since remained at the SVR and will join the Spring Diesel Festival traction.

The Railway hopes to announce a further guest in the coming weeks, to complete the line-up for the SVR’s first diesel event of the year.  

Gus Dunster, chairman of the Severn Valley Railway Diesels Committee, said: “The event is shaping up to a fantastic four days with a variety of traction types to suit all diesel fans.

“It’s been exciting to plan our first post-pandemic diesel event and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the SVR in May, to travel freely behind their favourite traction.” 

Multi-day rovers are set to make their return for the event, allowing passengers to pre-book multiple days in advance and save against the price of individual visits.

Tickets for the event are available at svr.co.uk or by calling 01562 757 900.

Click on the gallery for larger screen images, descriptions and credits

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D4 guest loco
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Class 46 No D182 (46045)
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Class 55 'Deltic' D9009
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Across the Railway

Bayer testing completed

66797 with the Bayer Smartweed train leaving the SVR on 3rd March 2022 following testing.

We have been reporting since June 2021 on the Railway providing testing facilities for Bayer CropScience Uk, who in partnership with GB Railfreight, Network Rail and a number of hi-tech start-ups are producing a fleet of Smart Weed System Trains for the UK Network. A video of an earlier period of testing is available on our YouTube channel.

The testing programme on the SVR has now concluded, with a successful operation. This and other testing have brought significant and welcome revenue to the Railway.

On 3rd March 66797 and 66751 forming up and preparing for departure. One weedkilling unit was taken to Kings Norton, the others to Bescot. Matt Robinson

66751 with the Bayer Smartweed train leaving the SVR on 3rd March 2022 following testing.
 

Team work wins, despite the downpour

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It could have been a case of ‘rain stopped play’ at Bridgnorth loco shed recently, but the sterling efforts of volunteers hit the bad weather for six in their determination to get the job done.

 

The team had assembled in mid-Febraury to carry out the next major phase of preparation works for the Roof and Crane project. 

 

Around 15 volunteers from MPD and Bridgnorth station maintenance team had come together to take delivery, place and compact around 30 tons of concrete, and the urgent nature of the job meant it all had to take place over just two hours. 

 

Most of the 13 cubic metres of concrete was poured to create a flat area to bring the jack area level with the rest of the shed floor. The infill floor is essential to make a safer working environment for staff, and to enable easier access to a temporary storage area for some large machine tools during the works.

 

In addition, a new external slab was poured to create a storage compound for cast iron components, as well as new steps to the pit on MPD road 2.  

 

The heavy rain on the day proved exactly why the roof works here are so badly needed, as volunteer project manager Antony Bartlam explained: 

 

“With less than two months to go before the contractors start on site, the project had reached a critical stage; this was a truly mammoth effort by everyone concerned. The weather was appalling and - even inside the shed - water dripped through the roof, causing damage to the concrete surface. However, the works couldn’t be stopped and had to be completed before the concrete went off.” 

 

Work to move equipment out of the shed started on last Saturday, 5th March, and this is going into additional shipping containers that have been delivered to provide interim storage.  

 

Volunteer Ben Wright’s film shows the large area of concrete being levelled off, and there’s also a film from the SVR’s YouTube channel detailing some of the other preparation work that’s taken place at the shed. 

 

The roof and project is being made possible thanks to £475,000 in donation and grants to the SVR Charitable Trust.

Click on the gallery for larger screen images, descriptions and credits

 

Farewell to Kidderminster’s ‘wooden bridge’

After years of anticipation and months of planning and preparation, in the early hours of February 13th, the SVR bid farewell to Kidderminster footbridge. Although not the original structure, the bridge has been in place since before preservation and was long overdue for replacement.

Prior to the lift, the S&T department removed the ground signal on the Up and Down Main, to clear space for the crane, and undertook work to protect the remaining equipment during the demolition. The Chester Road side stairs were also removed using a 13-ton excavator.

At 01.11 on a rainy February 13th, with the crane in position and possession granted on NR lines, Story Contracting Ltd were able to begin work on the lift. The Network Rail span initially refused to budge, and the team were planning on cutting it free with oxy propane, when it was noticed two temporary bolts connecting the two spans had been left in place.

 

With these removed the NR span was lifted without issue and the SVR span followed shortly after, having first been scrupulously checked for forgotten bolts!

Shortly after, the central brick pier was demolished in a matter of minutes. The east abutment pier, which had been damaged whilst trying to lift the NR span, was made safe while the rubble was cleared away and the NR lines were handed back at 07.50.

In the following week, the remaining rubble was cleared away, the western pier demolished and works commenced on excavations for the new west abutment pier. A large hole was dug for the foundations, although the suggestion of creating the first Kidderminster TMD swimming pool sadly came to nothing, as the hole was filled with concrete the following week!

Work continues to prepare for the new abutments, including the removal of a large quantity of embankment spoil, with the new bridge expected to be lifted in overnight during May.

Click on the gallery for larger screen images, descriptions and credits

Kidderminster footbridge OWW104 steelwork removal, scaffold bracing of the SVR span 11th
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Kidderminster footbridge
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Kidderminster Footbridge
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Kidderminster footbridge OWW104 steelwork removal, SVR span ready to lift 13th February
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Kidderminster footbridge
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What's coming up?

New ticketing and event offers for 2022

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The Severn Valley Railway has re-introduced its popular family ticket for 2022, to appeal to a wide audience and boost audience numbers back towards pre-pandemic levels.  

 

Starting at £45 for a small family and £65 for a large family, the tickets are aimed at inspiring the next generation to discover heritage rail. Great value family tickets are also available across all events. 

 

Alongside these tickets, the Railway has partnered with a host of external businesses to offer passengers the choice of an extra experience alongside their train journey. 

 

These include:  

 

  • Visit to Arley Arboretum - A variety of dates throughout the season. 

  • A trip to Kidderminster Carpet Museum - Multiple dates throughout the season 

  • A soap-making workshop with Severn Soaps - 6th July. Learn the traditional art of soap making and get hands on with a variety of fragrances! 

  • Bewdley Walking Tour - 28th May. Find out the hidden history of this Worcestershire gem with a guided tour around the town! 

  • The Gin Train with the Little Gin and Rum Company - Seven dates available. A gin tasting on a train – what could be more perfect?  

  • The Rum Train with the Little Gin and Rum Company - NEW for 2022. 9th July. A tasting session with the trendiest tipple this year!  

 

Of course, alongside these, a host of SVR events will be hosted on running days throughout the year including two model railway weekends, the Vintage Transport Extravaganza and a Food & Drink Festival with more planned to be announced soon!  

 

Tickets and more information are available at svr.co.uk

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Reminder about car parking changes

Next time you visit the Railway, you’ll notice some improvements to the way car parking is arranged at both the main entry stations. To improve the efficiency and management of parking, the SVR has introduced ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) systems at both Bridgnorth (station and upper car park) and Kidderminster.

 

Please read the notices carefully when you visit, which will explain how you can pay by card at the machines in the car park, or by cash in the pub or booking office. You will need to have your car registration number to hand when you pay, and you don’t need to return to your car to display the receipt.

Managing director Helen Smith told Branch Lines: “The new system will remove the need for tokens and barriers, both of which can be problematic.

 

The systems are managed by an external company and will remove the burden on volunteers who deal with the many issues generated by the old systems.”

New payment machine and signage at Bridgnorth station. Sue Thomas.jpg

If your stay is less than 15 minutes, you don’t need to pay a charge. Disabled parking remains free of charge for our railway and pub customers, but you will need to show your blue badge and enter your car registration number in the pub or at the booking office. There is no need to return to your car to display your blue badge.

Gold and Platinum shareholders no longer receive free parking under the 2022 shareholder benefits scheme.

Customers at both the King and Castle and the Railwayman's Arms will be able to use a tablet in the pubs to enter their car registration number when buying their drinks at the bar, and will receive up to three hours free parking.

The new system will also bring in significant revenue from people using the car parks for reasons other than visiting the SVR. At Bridgnorth, the lower car park is often used by customers visiting other pubs and businesses. At Kidderminster, revenue will be generated from people using our car park to make main line train journeys, especially when they leave their vehicles for several days. 

New payment machine and signage at Bridgnorth station. Sue Thomas

 

Rare chance for visitors to go behind the scenes at the SVR

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Don’t miss your chance to see parts of the SVR not usually on view, at Open House Weekend on 2nd and 3rd April.

A variety of unique experiences will put the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the SVR on show - including tours of signal boxes at Kidderminster and Bewdley, visits to the locomotive boiler shop and machine shop at Bridgnorth, cab tours of one of the SVR’s diesel engines plus an interactive demonstration by resident stonemason Philip Chatfield at The Engine House Visitor Centre, Highley.

Out on the line, there is a four-train service to ensure visitors can stop off at all stations, and Highley will be hosting short brake van rides for a back-to-basics experience inside one of the SVR’s more functional vehicles.

Plus, the Severn Valley Railway has partnered with local company Wyvern Omnibus to transport visitors to its ‘hidden gem’ station at Eardington, with its unrivalled selection of heritage lamps and original 19th century station building.

Alongside the rumble of engines and the noise of locomotive whistles, the soundtrack to the weekend will be provided by a selection of brass bands welcoming ticket holders to Kidderminster Town station. 

All the SVR’s award-winning pubs and refreshment rooms will be open across the two days.

“The return of the Open House Weekend is the ideal way to start our 2022 calendar,” said Michael Dunn, the SVR’s head of visitor experience. “By offering a behind-the-scenes look at the railway, we’re hoping visitors will be inspired and amazed to see how we make everything work. The opportunity to go backstage at an operational railway really is a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Open House Weekend will get the season off to a great start, and it’s closely following by the Spring Steam Gala, the Diesel Festival, Step Back to the 1940s, and a four-day celebration for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee between 2nd and 5th June.

Tickets are available at www.svr.co.uk or by calling 01562 757 900.

 

Stourbridge SVR branch meets again!

After an enforced closedown of two years, the Severn Valley Railway’s Stourbridge branch is pleased to announce that their meetings are now able to resume.

 

Meetings are normally held on the first Wednesday of each month between September and May inclusive in the Brindley Room at the Bonded Warehouse in Canal Street, Stourbridge, commencing at 7.30 pm. A small charge of £2 is made to cover room costs.

 

Branch chairman Chris Dyche told Branch Lines: “We welcome a variety of speakers covering all aspects of railways, and sometimes other types of transport as well.”

  

Speakers for the coming months are: 

  • 6th April - local historian Keith Hodgkins presenting ‘Black Country Transport in the 60s: Trains, Buses and Canals’.  

  • 4th May - author and photographer Michael Clemens talking about the ‘North Wales Slate Quarries and their Narrow Gauge Railways’.  

Stourbridge bonded warehouse. Brianboru100 2012. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

Chris added: “After such a long break, due to the trauma of the past two years, I am delighted that we can at last get back to normal and start our meetings once again. We will look forward to seeing old and new friends, everyone is welcome. Please do come and join us for an enjoyable evening.” 

 

People

Employment and volunteering opportunities

Case 988 road rail vehicle, 50035 Ark Royal and 31466 at Highley, ready for the day's oper

Assistant operations manager (paid). The opportunity has arisen for a safety conscious, enthusiastic and flexible individual to assist with both the planning and day-to-day running of the SVR operating departments. This full time, permanent role will include some weekend and out-of-office hours working when required. The closing date for applications is 31st March.

There are also vacancies for a seasonal heritage chef, heritage catering staff and retail assistants. Details of all the paid roles are on https://www.svr.co.uk/vacancies/.

Legacy administration volunteer. Gifts in Wills form over 40% of the SVR Charitable Trust’s income. From time to time, the legacy administration team would benefit from a volunteer with knowledge of probate law and career experience in probate or legacy administration. This position lends itself well to working remotely. Please contact helen.russell@svrtrust.org.uk or call Helen on 01562 757940.

Case 988 road rail vehicle, 50035 Ark Royal and 31466 at Highley, ready for the day's operations on 2nd March 2022. Brent Cleeton

 

Steam in the Family

The 1980s children’s TV series God’s Wonderful Railway holds special memories for many SVR folk. Filmed on location at the SVR, it proved hugely popular and made quite a name for its writer, Avril Rowlands.

Avril has recently turned her hand to writing a novel, based on the lives of people working on a fictional pre-war railway. Steam in the Family explores the relationship of a father and son against the colourful backdrop of a Great Western engine shed in the 1930s.

 

“What interested me when I was originally researching God’s Wonderful Railway was the loyalty inspired by those who worked for the GWR.  The conflict in Steam in the Family is between Fred, a top-link driver, fiercely proud of the company he works for and his family history which is closely bound up with it, and his son, Tom, who is about to start work as a cleaner, and feels stifled by the expectations put on him by his father.  This theme was a fascinating one to explore.”

Author Avril Rowlands at her desk. Chris Rowlands.JPG

Avril hopes to appeal to a wide readership, and notes that whilst there are many books of reminiscences by retired railwaymen, there are few novels written about the subject.

 

Technical and historical accuracy were a key ingredient in the novel. Avril was lucky to have two excellent founts of knowledge available. 

“Alun Rees, former chief engineer and general manager of the SVR, went through the book with a fine toothcomb to ensure that I didn’t make any terrible ‘howlers’ for railway enthusiasts to spot.  The other was my husband, Chris, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of railways in the days of steam. I should add that any mistakes in the book are, of course, mine.”

 

Steam in the Family is available from Kidderminster Railway museum or via Amazon.

Author Avril Rowlands at her desk. Chris Rowlands

 

Rolling stock news

Shed notes 

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With less than a month to go until the start of the 2022 operational season, Bridgnorth shed master Martin White gives a quick summary of what’s been going on at Bridgnorth MPD:


813 has returned from a loan period at Telford Steam Railway, just in time for a quick check over before a scheduled filming job in the first half of March. After this it will be due its two-stage annual boiler insurance examination in the second half of the month to be ready for the start of the season.


Standard maintenance and repairs on locos 43106 and 75069 continue as usual. Meanwhile following essential repairs, maintenance, and a boiler exam, 1501 was granted an extension to its ‘boiler ticket’ by the insurance inspectors. This extension will last until the end of 2022. No sooner had this been achieved, then off it went by road to the East Lancashire Railway for a Gala appearance. 1501 is not the only SVR locomotive currently on hire; 7714 also left by road for a short period on hire to Keighley & Worth Valley.


Work on 2857’s valve & pistons is drawing to a close. Ex-GWR piston valve locos have a relatively complex valve head which has many machined parts, all of which have been made in-house at Bridgnorth and are now being fitted. The 28’ reaches the end of its 10-year ‘boiler ticket’ later in the summer, and discussions are already underway with the insurers regarding a potential extension through until the end of the year.


34027 ‘Taw Valley’ has also passed its insurance examination, and is now in the paint shop, getting ready for its starring role in the SVR’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The preparatory work of cleaning and sanding was completed at the end of the first week of March, ahead of its Jubilee purple repaint. I can guarantee, it’s going to be very eye-catching! (See separate article ‘Taw Valley's makeover begins'.)


Austerity saddle tank ‘Welsh Guardsman’ arrived back at Bridgnorth in mid-February having spent most of 2021 away at Embsay Railway. Repairs, maintenance, inspection, and exams will be carried out before its participation in the SVR Spring Gala event. This will be the first time since the 1980s that this class has operated in public on the SVR.


To round up the remainders, 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’, although not fully painted, has left the paint shop, so that it can be worked on in the shed on the main pit, enabling pipe runs beneath the loco to be completed. In the boiler shop, work on the boiler of 13268 (42968) is at the stage where tubing will commence imminently, and regular volunteer working parties on 4150 and 82045 are continuing.

Click on the gallery for larger screen images, descriptions and credits

 

Your carriage awaits!

After two years of changes, returning to normal has created a lot of work for the carriage and wagon team, as mechanical team leader Nigel Hanson explains:

A very busy start to the year saw a major shunt to return the trains to their pre-Covid configurations. This had to be fitted in around the possessions for the bridge work. Planned maintenance also continues to ensure the fleet is spick, span, and in running order ready for the start of the season.

Once reassembled, every train takes a turn on the inspection pit in the carriage shed. Door locks and windows receive inspection, and brake blocks are changed and adjusted.

There’s been an awful lot of work to get all the coaches ready for the service in April. From a mechanical point of view, the coaches that have been mothballed haven’t been worn out, but they were covered in dust and dirt from being unused for two years. As a result it’s been a hive of activity in the carriage shed, the cleaners were literally on their hands and knees giving the carriages a deep clean!

In addition to the preparatory work for the opening of the 2022 season in April, scheduled work continues on carriages that have reached their ‘due by date’ for a main works visit. During their life working on the main line, carriages would be expected to return to the shop for repair after every 250,000 miles, which usually occurred every three years. The carriages on the SVR naturally cover fewer miles and so are considered due to return every 20 years.

Recently returning to service after such planned routine mechanical work is GWR Saloon 80969, and as soon as it left the works, BR Open 4059 took its place. A busy time in the works, as on the same day Kitchen Car 1667 came out of the paint shop after receiving attention to its body work, to be immediately replaced by BR Corridor Second 25498, a red and cream livered Mk 1 in need of door pillar replacement!

One of the LNER Teak carriages, 43612, is also receiving split attention between Bewdley and Kidderminster. Whilst the team at Bewdley work on the body, the gangway is receiving attention at Kidderminster. At the same time apprentice Jake Cox is also busy at Kidderminster overhauling the coach’s bogies.

There’s a lot of work still to do, and the jobs being carried out are wide and varied. We even turned our hand to help with the road delivery and unloading of engine, tender, and support coach, as well as coaling, when Britannia came for testing! Much of the work we do is ongoing but as far as getting ready for April 2nd goes, we’re on the home straight now.

Click on the gallery for larger screen images, descriptions and credits

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A Wizzo fit for Royalty

The original D1040 Western Queen is seen at Exeter stabling point. Barry Gay.png

The SVR-based Western Locomotive Association (WLA) is to rename and renumber its locomotive D1062 Western Courier as part of the Railway’s celebrations for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year.

 

D1040 cabside numberplates and Western Queen name plates will be carried on both sides of the locomotive, as WLA vice-chairman Paul Finch explains:

“One set of plates has been kindly donated for the operating season, and another set will be purchased and will then be raffled – the lucky winner receiving the plates as carried. What a fantastic prize!

“We’re holding a work week at Kidderminster TMD from Wednesday 16th to start getting Western Courier ready for the operating season, and her new role as Western Queen! On the Thursday Railways Illustrated will join us, to research and write an article on the overhaul of our other locomotive, D1013 Western Ranger.” 

The locomotive will later return to its D1062 Western Courier identity. 

 

Photo: The original D1040 Western Queen is seen at Exeter stabling point. Barry Gay

 

7812 welcomes back its boiler

7812 Erlesoke Manor being reboilered at Tyseley on 26th February 2022. Adrian Hassell (Cop

On 26th February, GWR Manor Class 7812 Erlestoke Manor was reunited with its boiler at Tyseley Locomotive Works.

The loco was withdrawn from service on the Severn Valley Railway upon the expiry of its boiler ticket in January 2018. Since then, it has been located at Tyseley for major overhaul, which has been much delayed due to the pandemic.

Adrian Hassell, chair of the owning group The Erlestoke Manor Fund, commented: “This latest development is a major step towards returning 7812 to SVR operation later in 2022, allowing final assembly and painting to proceed. I particularly want to acknowledge, amongst so many, the work of Tyseley Locomotive Works and the EMF volunteers, who have brought us to this stage.”

 

7812 Erlestoke Manor being reboilered at Tyseley on 26th February 2022. Adrian Hassell  

7812 Erlesoke Manor being reboilered at Tyseley on 26th February, 2022. Adrian Hassell (Co
 

Other news

The Charitable Trust turns 10!

The Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust turns 10 later this year and is celebrating the £8.74 million in donations that has been raised for the Railway over the last decade.  £6.54 million of this has been raised directly through the Trust and £2.2 million in emergency grants directly to the Railway.  

 

Thanks to the generous support of donors, over £5.3 million has been raised through the Trust in grants and donations for vital infrastructure, rolling stock and educational projects (such as the restoration of 4930 Hagley Hall), Falling Sands Viaduct, the apprenticeship scheme and, following the success of the most recent £475,000 appeal, desperately-needed improvements to Bridgnorth locomotive works.  

 

Many smaller, but equally important, projects have also benefited from donations, such as £5,000 last year to restore the wooden bracket signal in Bewdley to keep this rare and historic style of early GWR signal in operation.  

 

In addition to the funding to support the Railway in the present day, £1.24 million has been raised for long-term investment in the Trust’s Future Fund endowment, which currently sits at £1.83 million. As this grows, it will play a key part in supporting the SVR in the future. Executive director Shelagh Paterson said: 

 

“The 10th anniversary of the Charitable Trust is a great time to celebrate the incredible £8.74 million in donations that has been raised for the Railway over the last decade. We would like to thank all of our donors for helping us preserve the precious history and heritage of the SVR.”

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813 crossing Falling Sands c John Whitehouse

Jacob Cox apprentice Loretta Milan

 

A trio for the Charitable Trust 

LNER 43612 in Bewdley paintshop.  John Chitham.jpg

The Charitable Trust has announced the funding of three new projects. 

 

After success with the apprenticeship scheme and the Falling Sands Viaduct project, the Charitable Trust has now secured over £100,000 to fund a large-scale education project at The Engine House at Highley.

 

The funding will support work to draw in more visitors and encourage people of all ages to take a greater interest in the Railway’s heritage. 

 

Carriage 43612, one of the SVR’s beloved Gresleys, is due an overhaul and following a donation of 10 seat cages, the Charitable Trust is providing £1,312 to support the work. The moquette is already in stock, having been acquired during a previous vehicle re-fit, and the work will be carried out by a volunteer upholster. 

Funding of £3,750 is being made available for the purchase of an LMS chassis which will be used to provide spares to maintain the Railway’s LMS carriages.  

 

“We want to say thank you to everyone who made a donation to support these important projects,” said Shelagh Paterson, the CT’s executive director. “The funding for these three projects is being provided as part of the latest £700,000 grant from the Charitable Trust to the Railway. This also covers the Heritage Apprenticeship Scheme, the roof repairs, lighting and crane at Bridgnorth locomotive works – following the successful recent appeal – as well as Bridgnorth Station lighting, Bewdley signal bracket and engineering support required because of Covid-19.”

LNER 43612 in Bewdley paintshop. John Chitham

 

SVR teams rise to meet the challenge

Between 16th and 21st February, Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin caused huge damage and disruption through Shropshire and Worcestershire, not least in the Severn Valley, where there was considerable flooding. The Railway was able to assist the authorities and local communities facing this emergency. 

West Mercia Police declared a major incident in Bewdley and strongly urged residents to evacuate the area. This followed a severe flood warning as the Environment Agency warned of a significant flood risk at Beales Corner, where water eventually breached the top of the barriers. 

Bewdley station master James Pearson told Branch Lines: “I received a call from the Police asking to use the station for an Incident Command Post for both the emergency services and the Environment Agency, as they needed somewhere as a base nearby on the Wribbenhall side of the river. Given the urgency of the situation, I immediately authorised them to use the station buffet as this was an ideal size for their needs as well as having plug points and Wi-Fi.

“Last time Bewdley flooded, several vehicles caught in the flood water were written off. This time, the station car park was left open for residents to park their vehicles for free until flooding subsided, which lasted until the Saturday evening, 26th February.” 

Storm felled tree, 18th February 2022. Brent Cleeton.jpg

At Hampton Loade, the road down to the village and Unicorn Inn flooded. Assistant station master Sam Lench told Branch Lines: “As a gesture of goodwill we opened the station so that residents could park their cars safely until flooding subsided. We were happy to do what we could to help.”

The offers of assistance at both Bewdley and Hampton Loade were widely communicated, with very appreciative feedback from the communities across social media as “an example of excellent community spirit.”

James added: “I am pleased to see our offer to host the Incident Command Post and to use the car park was well received and we wish all those affected by the flooding all the very best as they begin their recovery from this event.”

 

On the Railway itself several trees came down, with staff and volunteers managing with their usual skill and efficiency. Infrastructure manager Chris Bond added: “With the river in flood we will be keeping a close eye on the usual areas of concern.”

Storm felled tree, 18th February 2022. Brent Cleeton

 

V1 10th March 2022

V2 10th March 2022 correction, there are three Terriers that are currently in working order in preservation

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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.