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March 2024

GWR Pannier 7714 heads a Footplate Experience nearing Little Rock cutting..jpg
GWR Pannier 7714 heads a Footplate Experience nearing Little Rock cutting. (Alan Corfield)

Welcome to your latest edition of Branch Lines!

The running season is almost in full swing, and with Easter on the near horizon, not to mention a couple of Galas and plenty of other exciting attractions at the Railway, it’s all hands to the pump! 

In this edition we celebrate the SVR’s success at the recent Heritage Railway Association awards, we bring news of guest locos for both the Steam Gala and Diesel Festival, and we’ve an early announcement about a special day for close SVR supporters that will take place in June. 

We also look forward to hosting unique locomotive 71000 ‘Duke of Gloucester’ for testing later this year, and catch up with the SVR Charitable Trust to learn about the projects they’ve been helping to fund. 

There are updates from across the Railway, including the Bridgnorth Yard re-lay project, the Pickford’s building and MPD, details of what’s coming up in the 2024 season and plenty more to keep you busy for a while. We hope you enjoy catching up, and happy Easter! 


Lesley Carr, editor

The Branch Lines team is Lesley Carr, Karen Crick, Amy Baker, Pete Cherry, Nicola Fox and Dave Redbourne. 

Next edition Thursday 11th April

What's new?

SVR triumph at HRA awards 

The Railway scooped three top awards and was highly commended in two further categories at the 2024 Heritage Railway Association awards last month. 

These prestigious awards are held every year and recognize excellence and innovation across the heritage rail sector. 

The SVR was given the Award for Diesel and Electric Locomotion, for its series of events held last year in celebration of 50 years of diesel preservation. 

The SVR-based Class 50 Alliance and the Fifty Fund won the Rail Express Modern Traction Award, and the Class 50 Alliance was highly commended in the Team of the Year category. 

The SVR was also highly commended for its restoration of LMS corridor composite No 24617 in the Morgan Award for Rolling Stock Preservation

Finally, the SVR’s managing director Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster was honoured with the Railway Magazine Preservationist of the Year award, both for his work as a volunteer with the Class 50 Alliance and for his role as MD at the SVR over the past year. 

“Any one of these awards and commendations would by itself be cause for celebration” said chairman Chris Walton. “The fact that the SVR and its associated groups and people scooped this many in a single evening is truly inspiring.   

“It shows the breadth of the SVR’s talents and the depth of its determination to continue as a leading member of the UK heritage sector. These awards will be welcomed by everyone who works or volunteers at, or visits, the wonderful Severn Valley Railway.” 

Heritage Railway Association chief executive, Steve Oates, said: “It was a big night for the Severn Valley team as a whole at the HRA annual awards in Brighton. There was tough competition in every single category, but the fact the SVR has so many new additions to their trophy cabinet is testimony to the hard work and dedication of everyone there. 

“I’ve got to give huge congratulations to Gus and the entire team at the Severn Valley for what they’ve achieved. I look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the next 12 months, and perhaps even welcoming them back on stage at our next awards event.”  

The SVR team win the HRA award for Diesel and Electric Locomotion.             Credit HRA

Jonathan Gus Dunster about to receive his Preservationist of the Year award       Credit HRA

Spring Diesel Festival Guests

Class 70 passing through Sutton Park (Dave Redbourne).
Freightliner Class 59 (Chris Holland)

The Severn Valley Railway has confirmed two more locomotives to the guest line-up for its Spring Diesel Festival, which takes place 16-19 May. 


Freightliner have agreed to the appearance of two of their locomotives, a class 59 and a class 70. 


Only 15 Class 59s were built between 1985 and 1995, and currently Freightliner owns all but one of them. The first five were initially ordered by Foster-Yeoman to work heavy stone trains out of Merehead Quarry in Somerset and became the first privately owned diesel locomotives that were allowed to operate on the UK main line. They are a Co-Co locomotive, which means they have two six-wheeled bogies , where all axles are powered, with their own traction motor. 


Slightly more numerous, 37 Class 70s were manufactured by General Electric. When they were introduced, they replaced the Class 59s as having the highest tractive effort of any Co-Co Diesel locomotive in use in the UK. Managing director Gus Dunster said: 


“Securing one of Freightliner’s Class 70s is a real coup for us; very few have ever appeared at heritage railway galas, and our event offers the rare opportunity to travel behind one as a passenger. At an impressive 3690 horsepower, it’s quite a bit of kit, and we think it’s going to be a big draw. Starring alongside the Class 59, the appearance of these locomotives provides a rare opportunity to travel behind and get up close to the UK’s true freight workhorses.” 


Volunteers and staff at the Railway are still catching their breath after winning the top prize for Diesel and Electric Locomotion at the recent Heritage Railway Association awards and, with three guest locomotives now confirmed, and more in the pipeline, they’re firmly focused on delivering a show-stopping event for 2024. Gus added: 


“After our fantastic year in 2023, we know all eyes will be on us with our first diesel event of 2024, and we’re confident that we will once again excel; we’re building up to something very special.” 


For further information and tickets, go to  

New-build loco 6880 ‘Betton Grange’ to star at Spring Steam Gala

The Railway has revealed that No 6880 ‘Betton Grange’ will star at its Spring Steam Gala on 18-21 April. This marks the first ever gala appearance for the new-build locomotive. 


The in-service debut of ‘Betton Grange’ has been anticipated for more than a quarter of a century, after the construction project started in 1998. Dubbed the ‘81st Grange’, it is the sole representative of the Grange class – all the original 80 locomotives were withdrawn for scrap by British Rail by the end of 1965 and none survived into preservation. 6880 is currently having the finishing touches made to its livery following completion of its construction at Tyseley Locomotive Works (TLW) in Birmingham. 


“We are extremely pleased to be hosting the Gala debut of such an important engine,” explained managing director Gus Dunster. “It really is incredible to think that this will be the first time a Grange class will have been seen in service for 59 years, and we know it’s going to be a big draw. We’re very grateful to the 6880 Betton Grange Society for allowing the SVR to host their loco’s first Gala appearance.” 

Subject to examination and agreement between TLW and the SVR on testing and commissioning of the loco, ‘Betton Grange’ will join fellow guests Terrier No 72 ‘Fenchurch’ and Lambton Tank No 29, as well as members of the SVR’s home fleet. This includes Stanier Mogul 13268, appearing for the first time in its new LMS lined black livery and bearing its new number, and the SVR’s flagship locomotive, 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’. Gus added: 


“Having the brand-new ‘Betton Grange’ and the 152-year-old ‘Fenchurch’ in our line-up means we’re covering a huge span of years with the rolling stock at our spring event. This is going to be the first opportunity to see a Grange on a GWR line since the mid-1960s and with the SVR-based 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ and 7812 ‘Erlestoke Manor’, we’ll have a complete line-up of medium-sized, named GWR classes. 


“It looks like, once again, we’ve got a cracker of a Gala to deliver, and we’re very much hoping to build on the success we had last year.” 


For more information and to purchase gala tickets, visit  

6880 'Betton Grange' at Tyseley Locomotive Works, between coats of paint.   (Credit 6880 Betton Grange Society)

Scott Barnes painting 6880's tender.   (Credit 6880 Betton Grange Society)

Special day for the SVR’s close supporters 

43106 approaches Oldbury Viaduct on August 6th 2023. Keith Wilkinson.jpg

As we go to press, there’s news that the SVR plans to hold a special Supporters’ Day on Friday 21 June, as a way of showing its gratitude to all those who’ve stuck with the Railway through the turbulent past few years.  

“This won’t be a public service day, but the Railway will be open exclusively and free-of-charge to SVR shareholders, members and SVR Charitable Trust donors,” explained managing director Gus Dunster. “It is our way of acknowledging the support that this very special group of people has shown the SVR, through the extremely challenging times we’ve experienced in the past few years, and which we are of course still going through. 

“Quite simply, we want to say ‘thank you’. SVR directors, trustees and senior managers will be available on the day to meet our supporters, and answer questions. There’ll be the chance to travel the line on steam- and diesel-hauled services, and book onto behind-the-scenes tours. We plan to have 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ and Stanier Mogul 13268 in service and a goods train as well!  

“Tickets will be complimentary and available only to shareholders, members, working members and donors. Each entitled person/couple/family* will be able to bring a guest with them, and the places must be pre-booked, in order to carefully manage numbers. We’ll let you know as soon as we can when bookings go live, but in the meantime, please save the date, Friday 21 June, the day before our Annual General Meeting, which takes place at St George’s Hall, Bewdley, starting at 2pm on Saturday 22 June.” 

*Numbers will be limited to prevent overcrowding, so in order to ensure the day is open to as many members, shareholders and donors as possible, the Railway is restricting the number of guests to one per person/couple/family.  

43106 approaches Oldbury Viaduct on August 6th 2023. (Keith Wilkinson)

71000 makes a ducal visit

71000 ‘Duke of Gloucester’ is to visit the SVR for testing later this year, following the completion of its overhaul, currently taking place at Tyseley.  

The locomotive’s owner, the BR Class 8 Steam Locomotive Trust, has entered into a 10-year partnership with the Royal Scot Locomotive & General Trust, to facilitate the operation of 71000 on the main line. It will be operated primarily by Locomotive Services Group, hauling Saphos rail tours.  

The SVR enjoys a strong partnership with LSG, who have brought several engines to the Railway for testing in recent years. Managing Director, Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster said: 

“Contracts like these bring in very welcome revenue to the Railway, and we’re delighted to be working closely with LSG. This announcement is particularly pleasing, because as you may know, the current Duke of Gloucester, HRH Prince Richard, is the SVR’s Patron.” 

The arrival of 71000 ‘Duke of Gloucester’ will follow a visit from 60532 ‘Blue Peter’, which LSG are also sending to the SVR for testing in the coming months.   

71000 SVR 2009 Ian Murray-resized.jpg

71000 at the SVR in 2009,      (Ian Murray)

SVR Charitable Trust activity – an update 

9581 being turned at Kidderminster during the early stages of restoration on 13th June 201

There have been significant changes for the SVR Charitable Trust in the past 18 months, with the departures of Shelagh Paterson and Ian Jones. The Comberton Place office is now manned on Wednesdays only by volunteers, to save costs.  

“The CT has recently donated significant sums of money to SVR Holdings for several projects,” explained deputy chairman Paul Fathers. “These grants would not be possible without generous donations from individuals and other grant-giving bodies. 

“We’ve been busy over the past 12 months, looking after the administration of the Survival Fund appeal, which so far has raised £466,000. And we’ve fundraised for a number of other projects, which are listed below.  

“Many thanks to everyone involved, who’s either donated or helped with the work. It’s because of you that the CT is able to help, and we want to give sincere thanks to all our supporters.  

“If you’d like to get in touch, please email us on or leave a message on 01562 757940, and one of our team will get back to you.”   

  • As part of the Roof and Crane appeal, £12,000 has been allocated to moving and re-commissioning the CNC lathe in the main part of the workshop. The white-metalling area has also seen just under £2,000-worth of investment allocated to improvements. 

  • Over £8,000 has been spent on the rebuild of 9581, the GWR coach currently being converted by Richard Gunning and his team at Bewdley. This will give the Great Western set a much-needed and appropriate buffet car with improved facilities on board for the disabled.  

  • Nearly £4,000 has been spent modifying GWR door locks to enable many of the GWR coaches to return to use.  

  • Over £22,000 has been spent on underpinning Bewdley South signal box.  

  • A grant has been made to the Diesel Depot for enhancements, together with the purchase of oil-priming pump modification kits for the 08 diesel shunters. 

  • More than £88,000 was granted to SVRH to support this winter’s significant reconstruction of part of Bridgnorth yard. This included a substantial legacy from the late Bridgnorth volunteer, Dave Chapman. 

  • £7,500 is already allocated for the installation of a toilet for disabled visitors at Bewdley. 

  • Next winter, it’s planned to progress to the next major stage of the Bridgnorth yard rebuild. Around £144,000 is needed - so far, the CT has raised just over £20,000. Further donations would be appreciated.  

9581 being turned at Kidderminster during the early stages of restoration on 13th June 2018. (Mike Cranmore)

What's coming up?

Open House Weekend 

The Railway is holding its annual Open House Weekend on 6 -7 April, when visitors can get a closer look behind the scenes at areas of the Railway not usually open to them. Member discounts and shareholder passes/complimentary tickets are valid for Open House. 

Alongside a busy steam and diesel service, a whole host of attractions will be available between 10am and 4pm, free of charge to ticket holders: 

  • DMU shuttles between Bridgnorth and Highley, stopping at Eardington Station for walking tours 

  • Open access – Bridgnorth Locomotive Works and Yard and Bridgnorth Carriage & Wagon Department. 

  • Guided tours – The Engine House, Bewdley Carriage & Wagon Yard, selected Signal Boxes and a diesel locomotive cab and engine room at Kidderminster. 

  • The Observation Saloon will be at Kidderminster Station for the weekend, where the SVR Charitable Trust will be on hand to welcome and chat to their guardians and patrons over a cup of tea or coffee. 

A special timetable is in operation for the weekend which is at   

Bridgnorth Signal Box    (Anthony Carwithen)

bridgnorth signal box Anthony Carwithen.jpg

New programme of footplate experiences

The SVR has launched a new, enhanced programme of steam and diesel footplate experiences, running from June to October. 


Four different packages will be available, and each one includes tickets for up to 10 accompanying friends and family.  


Steam packages start from £400 and include a safety briefing and detailed instructions and guidance from the experienced crews. There are three levels of steam experiences - bronze, silver, and gold, with the duration of time spent firing and driving increasing with each level from eight miles up to 32 miles.  


For diesel fans, the diesel footplate experience is £600, and participants will take a tour of the locomotive’s engine room and see the start-up procedure take place, before beginning their journey. Under expert guidance, participants take turns as ‘driver’ and ‘second man’, covering the full length of the line in both directions hauling a heavy train. To make a full-day experience, there’s also the option to travel in one of the train’s carriages for a further 32 miles. The experience includes a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Diesel Depot in Kidderminster. 


All four footplate experiences include photo opportunities and a presentation folder with a certificate and memento. Jan Wilkes recently took part in a steam footplate experience, along with her son Aaron and said: 


“The whole experience was way above any expectations I may have had. It was magnificent travelling along the tracks knowing that although under supervision I was actually driving the train. I even got to blow the whistle a couple of times!” 


For more information about the SVR’s footplate experiences, or to book one of the strictly limited places, visit  for steam experiences, and for diesel experiences.  

FE Footplate Crew and participants  (Kevin Whitehurst)

Footplate Experience (Bob Green)

We’ve got some great events – just around the corner

Spring is in the air and we have two events fast approaching! 

This coming weekend, 16 and 17 March, The Engine House at Highley will host a wealth of artisan stalls at its Spring Gift Fayre


Dozens of suppliers will be offering local, hand-made goods, including arts, crafts, cakes, candles and home décor, with stalls nestled amongst the railway’s full-size locomotives and carriages on display. The Engine House, the SVR’s visitor centre, is just a short walk from its Highley station. 

The Engine House will be open from 10.30am – 5pm each day (last entry 4.30pm) to ensure passengers can shop ’til they drop!


The Railway is open for the Easter holiday season from 23 March to 4 April, and to get things off to a great start, a visit from popular children’s character Bluey will take place on 23 and 24 March.  Visitors can take an exciting heritage train ride out into the countryside to see Bluey, who will be appearing at regular intervals throughout the day at The Engine House Visitor Centre, Highley. As we publish, there are only a very few slots with Bluey remaining! 

Over the same weekend, Bridgnorth station is hosting a free mini gala. It’s packed with fascinating railway- and steam-themed attractions, including a display of full-size and miniature traction engines, Wolverhampton & District Model Engineering Society’s ride-on miniature railway, an O gauge model railway static display featuring Bridgnorth station and several SVR-based locomotives, the chance to encounter the replica of Richard Trevithick’s 1808 locomotive ‘Catch Me Who Can’, various historical photographic exhibitions, and on Saturday only, short guided walks with an SVR archivist to uncover the history of Bridgnorth station. Activities run from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 23, and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 24.  

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits

2024 on-train dining experiences – new dates added 

SVR dining experiences are always a popular choice, and additional dates are now added to the calendar, giving you lots of options to tempt your taste buds.

You can now book and treat friends and family to the Oriental Express, with Chinese-inspired on-train dining, a Father’s Day Lunch or the Bistro Express midweek special. 

Extra dates have also been added for Afternoon Teas, the Spice Train, Gin Trains and Sunday lunches, so there’s something to please everyone who wants to splash out on some stylish luxury.  

For more information, and to book tickets, please visit  


SVR volunteer makes aid trip to Ukraine

An SVR volunteer has recently taken part in a humanitarian aid trip to Ukraine. Gary Essex is normally found on the Railway as a member of the permanent way team, but was inspired to take part in the 1,350-mile trip, as a co-driver in a convoy of aid vehicles. The trip was organized by the registered charity Pickups For Peace. 

Gary travelled to Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, in a convoy of 27 vehicles, packed with supplies and humanitarian aid. 

“I found the experience very sobering. Usually as a photographer (my everyday work role) the camera isolates you from the subject, and I’ve photographed numerous demos, riots and environmental actions. 

“However, when I visited the cemetery, the scale of which reminded me of those from WW1, I didn’t feel isolated. That was probably the moment that I felt I must do more.” 

Gary has written a blog about his experiences and has set up a JustGiving page to fund further trips.  

Gary, in the centre of Lviv, before the handover of the aid

The convoy on its way to Lviv. (Gary Essex)

Across the Railway

Partnership working solves major access problem at Pickford’s building

The SVR has benefitted from cutting-edge Network Rail technology to carry out a drone survey of the Pickford’s building at Kidderminster, where Carriage & Wagon is based. This has saved the Railway in the region of £5,000, solved an extremely tricky access situation, and has further cemented partnership working between the two organisations. 

Part of the problem with Pickford’s is that it’s situated right next to the main running line, as volunteer structural engineer Antony Bartlam explains: 

“Getting access to the building is very difficult, and would normally require overnight possession of the main line. And we know that the condition of the building and its roof are not good, and an inspection was badly needed. 

“Network Rail offered to help with their survey drone, and in late February their team completed a thorough daytime visual inspection of the back face of the Pickford’s building, with no disruption to main line services. 

“Their drone is highly sophisticated and has both infrared and normal cameras which can operate at high resolution, even with a 200x zoom applied. The drone is self-stabilising and can hold position so that the camera can pan along a section of building such as a gutter to provide high resolution video and photos. 


“Alongside the operator, I was able to see footage in real time, as we inspected the whole of the back of the building, checking the condition of brickwork, gutters, windows and down water pipes. The whole operation was completed in just 30 minutes! 

“We’re still processing the images and ascertaining the extent of any works required but this has saved the SVR considerable money and time.”  

The SVR hopes this exercise will lead to further collaboration and the possibility of surveys of other structures on the Railway, such as bridges and other difficult-to-access buildings. In return, the SVR could offer Network Rail training access for its new drone pilots.

There’s also a possibility of utilising new NR technology, including 3D laser surveys, to help in monitoring infrastructure such as tunnels and bridge abutments.  

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits

Against the odds, progress is being made at Bridgnorth Yard

Despite plenty of bad weather and an overstretched permanent way team, there's been a lot of visible change recently at Bridgnorth Yard, and the current phase of work is nearing completion, as volunteer project manager Nick Yarwood writes:   

Roads 1 and 2, nearest to the station, have been laid and ballasted. They’re ready for test loading to bed them in, and then jacking-and-packing. 

Meanwhile, the concrete panels next to the pit have been progressively poured, and are currently curing to full strength. In total, 23 cubic metres have been laid by volunteers. Now that the scaffold platform has gone, the floor surface of the pit will be raised, with the work programmed for the day Branch Lines is published, 14 March. 

The delivery of ready-mixed concrete has enabled a number of coincidental jobs to be completed, such as drain and manhole surrounds by the side of the shed and in-filling of the redundant axle turntable inside the loco shed. There's always a little concrete left over from any pour, so these jobs made good use of it. Thanks go to the Wailing Wall volunteers at Bridgnorth for doing the drainage items. 

So, Phase 2A is very nearly complete! There's some concreting and the ash-drop on the approach to the pit to be done, once the track has settled down and is fully packed to level. This should go ahead in the next couple of weeks, people resources permitting. 

One of three turnouts needed for the next phase, 2B, is stacked up opposite the end of platform 2. This includes components salvaged and donated by the Lowdham Signal box project, reported previously. 

We just need to source two more. They are B7.5 designation in bullhead rail, if anybody knows where to find some?  

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits

Rolling stock

What future lies ahead for D3022?

Then numbered as 08015, the Class 08 at Swindon, before it came to the SVR. Richard Sylves

D3022 is one of the SVR’s Class 08 shunters, and is based at Kidderminster, where it carries out vital work behind the scenes, without which the Railway would struggle. 

The Class 08 Society is now keen to get in touch with anyone who contributed funds towards its purchase.  

“Time has now moved on considerably since we first purchased the locomotive,” explained Trevor Davies. “We very much want to discuss its future. I’d like to ask anyone involved in the purchase to get in touch with me at so we can make some decisions. 

“I hope you enjoy the photograph, which was taken in the 1980s, when the loco was still at Swindon works. Sadly, a couple of the members in the photo are no longer with us. I believe it was taken by Richard Sylvester, a founding member of the group, who was a British Rail employee at Swindon Works.” 

The loco was acquired in April 1983 by the Class 08 Society. Then numbered as 08015, it was moved to the SVR the following month. 

Since spring 1984, it’s seen valuable use as a permanent way vehicle, a shunter at Bewdley and subsequently at Kidderminster, where it remains. Notably, it deputised for a failed 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ in 1985, becoming the first preserved Class 08 to haul a passenger service.

Then numbered as 08015, the Class 08 at Swindon, before it came to the SVR.    (Richard Sylvester)

Big leaps come from little steps at Bridgnorth MPD 

While the larger milestones capture the attention of the public, the lion’s share of work required during locomotive maintenance and repair often goes unnoticed, as Bridgnorth’s volunteer shedmaster Martin White reports: 


SVR steam haulage is currently being provided by ‘Hagley Hall’ whilst routine maintenance is carried out on 7714, and winter examinations, repairs, and maintenance on 75069 are drawing to a conclusion. Amongst other things, 75069 has had most of the grate components replaced and a new big end bearing fitted.   


Within the works, 813 has made a big leap forward. The new dragbox and frame stretcher casting has been fitted, and the trailing wheelset reinstated. When heavy repairs are undertaken on a steam locomotive, it can seem as if progress comes in sudden bursts of action, but the reality is very different. There have been hundreds of hours spent beavering away behind the scenes to allow this apparent ‘sudden progression’, with 813 and its components (new and old) receiving much attention. This hard work simply becomes noticeable when the work culminates in a big reassembly.  


It may be one of the SVR’s smaller locos, but 813 has one of the biggest leaf springs; a single spring which fits beneath the front of the new casting to support the trailing axle. A special jig was designed and manufactured within the works to ease the installation of this spring – a great example of just one of those ‘behind the scenes’ activities! The target now is to have 813 back in traffic for the Spring Steam Gala, but a great deal of work still needs to be completed to achieve this. 


Now with its full complement of wheels, 813 has been shunted off the workshop lifting jacks and replaced by 7812’s tender, which is having its spring hanger brackets replaced. This precautionary activity follows the failure of a couple of these brackets in recent years and, by making use of the works facilities while they are available, reduces the risk of any failing during the main operating season. 


In the paint shop, the transformation of Stanier mogul from No 2968 into 13268 is making good progress. Large areas of gloss paint, and the application of lining, numbering and gold leaf are progressing well.   

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits

Recruitment drive for the Stanier 8F Locomotive Society 

The Stanier 8F Locomotive Society is recruiting new members to take an active part in the story of this uniquely well-travelled locomotive.  

After completing over 150,000 miles in Severn Valley Railway service, 48773 was withdrawn from traffic in 2008 and is currently awaiting overhaul.  

During selected special-event weekends on the SVR, 48773 will take part in a series of dedicated sessions in The Engine House at Highley, to give prospective volunteers a taste of what they could be involved in. The weekends will take place on 6/7 and 20/21 April and also on 4/5 May. Stanier 8F Locomotive Society publicity officer Bill Northrop told Branch Lines

“Stanier 8F 48773 has a glorious past in both war and peace, and the Society is intending to return her to working order - but to do that, we need your help. During our special ‘Meet the Engine’ weekends, the footplate will be open to visitors free of charge, and they will have the opportunity to meet existing Society members who will be able to recount more of her story. We look forward to meeting you there!” 

Discounted membership fees for the Stanier 8F Locomotive Society will be available to visitors on the day. Discounted memberships are available for under 25s. For more information visit  

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits

Other news

Jacob’s Track Time fundraising success 

A young Bewdley train enthusiast’s idea to raise funds for his beloved Severn Valley Railway has inspired support from more than 100 people.  


Eight-year-old Jacob Holden invited like-minded youngsters and their families to join him for an afternoon of model-railway fun at St George’s Hall in Bewdley. Through their donations, he’s raised more than £200 for the SVR’s Survival Fund. 


Jacob owns a wide collection of model-railway track and rolling stock, and wanted to share his hobby with others, whilst raising money for the heritage line at the same time.  


“Jacob has had a real passion for trains since he was tiny,” explains his mum, Danielle Oakley. “We recently moved to Bewdley, and he had an idea, just out of the blue, to do a fundraiser for the Severn Valley, and he said he wanted children from all over to come and play with his trains.” 

Jacob Holden with the SVR's Kidderminster station master Geoff Smith. Lesley Carr.jpg

“That was my dream come true, seeing all the people there for the afternoon,” added Jacob. “It was amazing! Diesels are my favourite, and I love how they arrive at the platform so gently. When I’m old enough, I would like to be a volunteer and I would like to drive a diesel.”  


Jacob, who usually visits the Railway with his family twice a month, was treated to a tour of a diesel cab during a half-term visit to the SVR as a thank you for his support. 


“We are really proud of him,” said his dad Jason Holden. “It feels important that the local community should support the SVR, making sure it keeps going, because it’s a fantastic experience for everyone to enjoy.” 


Commenting on Jacob’s efforts, managing director Gus Dunster said: 


“We’re completely delighted, and extremely grateful for Jacob’s support, it’s wonderful that a young person has such a passion for heritage rail, and what’s more, to see the efforts he’s gone to in order to help us. We want to thank Jacob, and everyone else who’s donated to our Survival Fund.” 


The SVR’s Survival Fund has so far raised more than £470,000. For more information and to make a donation, visit  


Jacob Holden with the SVR's Kidderminster station master Geoff Smith.     (Lesley Carr)

Visitor leaflet for 2024 

2024 Leaflet.jpg

This important leaflet provides a useful guide for anyone who’s not familiar with the Railway, but is thinking about planning a visit. It also gives information about when our popular events are scheduled in the 2024 season. 

“We’ve printed a whopping 175,000 copies of the 2024 leaflets,” said marketing manager Karen Crick. “These are now being packaged up, ready for distribution during the 2024 season.   

“We have these distributed by specialist companies within a two-hour drive time of the Railway, as well as displaying them at our stations, and various venues where they’re placed by volunteers. 

“In the coming weeks, the SVR leaflet will start appearing in racks in a whole range of venues including accommodation providers, supermarkets, community venues and other visitor 

SVR night life!

Following the very successful Bewdley night photo shoot in February, further dates are being added to the SVR diary! 


On 23 and 24 February, 30742 Charters ran a steam photo charter at Bewdley station, to the delight of railway photography enthusiasts. Originally only one date, the event was an instant sell-out and so a second date was added to meet demand.  


Participants were given a safety briefing, then locomotives 7812 ‘Erlestoke Manor’ and GWR pannier tank 7714 were posed at various points around the superb Great Western location of Bewdley station. 7812 took on the role of heading a passenger train, while 7714 hauled a goods formation. Both locomotives had been in steam either side of the event, for footplate courses.  


“As a keen photographer myself, I’m really pleased that we’re able to offer these events in conjunction with 30742 Charters,” said visitor engagement manager Lewis Maddox. “The SVR has an unrivalled fleet of locomotives and rolling stock, and these charters allow us to evoke moments from the past in a way that can’t be achieved during normal service running.  


“We recognise the importance of the enthusiast market, and it makes great financial sense to run these charters by utilising locomotives that are already in steam for existing events, such as footplate experiences. We’re excited to be able to offer more of these events in the future.” 


The next evening photoshoot available will be a five-hour event on 29 March, at Arley and Bewdley stations. Organised in conjunction with 30742 Charters and Matt Fielding Photo Charters, it will star 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’, matched with two beautiful GWR carriages dating back to 1928. Photographers will start and finish their evening at Bewdley, travelling on the train between locations. 


Numbers are strictly limited. Book your place at  

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits

Full 2024 timetable unveiled 

Timetables Announced - Jason Hood - Resized.jpeg

The Railway is stepping up its passenger services from 26 March, as it prepares for what managers hope will be a very successful season. 


An off-peak timetable ran for February half-term; however things will change in the run-up to Easter, with more steam and diesel-hauled services. In addition, the ever-popular Diesel Multiple Unit, (DMU) which has recently returned to service following extensive repairs, will run allowing for a mid-morning first departure from Bridgnorth, something which was greatly missed in the 2023 season. 


The Railway will operate three timetables, A, B and C, designed to expand and contract the number of services in anticipation of lower or higher numbers of passengers. For example, timetable C, which will usually operate on high-season Saturdays, will feature three steam and one diesel-hauled service. 

“Last year was all about survival,” head of operations Steve Wainwright told Branch Lines. “We were faced with huge uncertainty over passenger numbers as well as spiralling costs, and we had to be extremely cautious with our timetables. 


“As we approach our main running season in 2024, we can be a little more optimistic. Our expert timetabling team has taken all the factors into account, including the need to provide a great visitor experience, to keep costs under control, to fully man our trains, stations and signal boxes from our pool of volunteer staff, and to make best use of our small resident operational steam fleet.”  


“We’re delighted with what the timetabling team has devised,” added visitor experience manager Lewis Maddox. “Their plans allow for an innovative timetable, within a realistic budget, which can be comfortably managed within the constraints of our fleet and pool of staff. Plus, we’ve built in the capacity to earn extra revenue from charter trains.” 


For more information on timetables visit Details of special-event timetables for 2024 are still being finalised and these will be released as soon as possible.  

Beware Of Trains! 46045 prepares to leave Kidderminster Town (Jason Hood)

v1 14th March 2024

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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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