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October 2018

23/9/18 - The Duchess is seen at Little Rock with a Kidderminster bound service, by Ian Murray

Welcome to your latest edition of Branch Lines!


Of course the highlight of the past month has to be the steam event everyone talks about, our Autumn Steam Gala, thank you for sending in your photos and stories from the event . There has been lots of activity since the gala including works which have on the field car park at Bridgnorth as well as lots of activity in the motive power department.

There’s plenty more to read in your October edition of Branch Lines, so have a browse!

If you have friends or family with an interest in the SVR, please let them know that they too can sign up to Branch Lines. Just go to and select the Branch Lines tick box.  


We’d love to hear your SVR-related news and views. Whether you’re on the other side of the world (as a number of our readers are) or you’re just down the road from one of our stations, please do get in touch with us at   


Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors 


Picture by Ian Murray


Some Autumn Steam Gala images by Ian Murray & Phil Garner

Severn Valley Railway (Wolverhampton Branch) New Book on Wolverhampton's Railways

In 2010 the Wolverhampton Branch of the Severn Valley Railway published “Wolverhampton’s Railways in Colour” written by Simon Dewey, a full colour album of photographs of Wolverhampton railway scenes, locations and locomotives.


The Branch have now published a companion volume, titled “Wolverhampton’s Railways Revisited”. The book, again in hardback, follows a similar format to the earlier book but has been increased to 88 pages with over 100 photographs, again in full colour and each accompanied by an informative caption.


Locations featured include the Low Level and High Level stations, the engine sheds at Stafford Road, Oxley and Bushbury, Stafford Road locomotive works and Wednesfield Road Goods Depot amongst others.


Locomotives, both steam and modern traction, are well covered, with such famous types as “Kings”, “Castles”, “Halls”, “Royal Scots”, “Jubilees”, “Britannias”, Black 5’s, 8F’s and 9F’s included, together with Diesel and electric types , many themselves over half a century old, including Classes 25, 33, 40, 47, 50, 52, 60, 81, 86 and 87.


Wolverhampton as an important railway centre declined with the rundown of steam operations during the 1960’s and the progressive closure of the engine shed between 1963 and 1967 and Stafford Road Works in 1964. Through services from Paddington to Wolverhampton Low Level and northwards to Shrewsbury, Chester and Birkenhead via the old Great Western Railway route ceased in 1967 when the then newly electrified service from High Level to Euston replaced the London-bound trains. The Low Level itself closed to passenger traffic (by that time an infrequent shuttle service to and from Birmingham Snow Hill) in 1972 but lasted in use as a parcels depot until 1981.


The book covers the latter days of steam in Wolverhampton and the electrified railway through the city in more recent times, including “The Old Line”, the original railway through what was then the town, opened in 1837. This skirted the town on its way between Stafford and Birmingham, passing between Bushbury to the North and Portobello to the South. Wolverhampton’s first railway station, at Wednesfield Heath, lay on this line and existed until the late 1960’s.


Much of Wolverhampton’s railway landscape has changed during the last 50 or so years but the new book and its photographs will rekindle memories of both long-lost and more recent scenes.


The book is available from the SVR shop at Bridgnorth station, Waterstones in Wolverhampton, Tettenhall Post Office, Ian Allan Bookshop in Birmingham, Ashwood Nurseries and Hollybush Garden Centre as well other outlets, at £17.99.


Alternatively it can be ordered by post from Severn Valley Railway Wolverhampton Branch, 49 Tyninghame Avenue, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton WV6 9PP for £21.00 including P &P.





Hop on board our ‘spooktacular’ Ghost Train 

Get dressed-up and prepare for a scare. Our famous Ghost Trains are steaming in once again to take passengers on a thrilling ride into the dark…and hopefully back again. 

Tickets are now on sale for the ever-popular spooky services, running on Saturday 27th, Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st October.  There are four departures from Kidderminster each evening, and the trip lasts around 90 minutes. 

It’s bound to be a screech, and these events are always a sell out, so book your tickets now at 

Ghost train services October.jpg
Kidderminster station redevelopment.jpg

West Midlands Railway Kidderminster Station Redevelopment

As many of you will be aware, there is soon to be major redevelopment of the mainline station at Kidderminster. The work will involve the reconfiguration of the existing road and forecourt area as well as demolition and replacement of the existing station building. The project is being managed by SLC Rail and the works themselves undertaken by Buckingham Group contractors. The project is expected to be completed mid-2019.  Whilst there may well be some disruption on site, the SVR will benefit from the hiring of the former Northern Belle compound in our car park for site offices in exchange for some improvements to our car park. Elsewhere, the SVR will receive payment for the temporary re-allocation of 14 car parking spaces adjacent to the Carriage Works  The work was due to commence immediately after the Autumn Gala but a number of logistical problems with the project has resulted in a revised start date of 14th November 2018. The SVR will be in regular communication with the project team and contractors to ensure that there will be no disruption to SVR operations such as Christmas running, in particular the provision of parking at Kidderminster, whilst the work progresses.

Bridgnorth MPD update September 2018

‘What’s been going on in the works?’ Martin White, Bridgnorth Shed Master gives us an update..


In the boiler shop 75069’s boiler is back inside for the boiler lagging and cladding sheets and various fittings to be fitted and then it can finally go into the frames. Visitors to Bridgnorth may have been able to glimpse it through the main doors recently, but if you haven’t the picture shows it’s condition on Thursday 27th September.


Meanwhile, out in the main shed, a casual glimpse might make one assume that a massive leap forward has been achieved on Hagley Hall. The frames are now painted black. We took the decision to have them, and various other components, shot-blasted and given an initial coat of primer sprayed on by the shot-blaster. Since then various gangs of volunteers have followed this up with a second coat of primer, plus two coats of black undercoat and the glossing will begin shortly. This doesn’t mean that the work on the frames are finished. We know there are some loose rivets and fitted bolts that will need to be replaced. But the whole structure is now well protected from going rusty, whilst the work continues. Shot blasting costs money and causes quite a lot of disruption (it needs an exclusion zone and it causes a lot of mess). But having the frames down to bare metal and very clean, speeds up their examination and should result in a very good paint finish. However,…….. whilst it might look like a massive leap forward in the overhaul, all we have done is to tick off half a dozen jobs in an overall program of work that contains hundreds of tasks.


On the running fleet, various snags and minor failures have been attended too. For example, a spring problem on 7714 and an injector problem on 34027 resulted in each loco missing a scheduled round trip. But, they were fixed quickly and the locos did the remainder of their booked duties. 813 has had it’s annual insurance examinations.


The gala visitors arrived, were inspected by ESMP staff and passed fit, they performed and have left again, the Q6 coming in and leaving by road. That’s four heavy haulage manoeuvres and associated shunting that had to be dealt with at Bridgnorth. 70000 ‘Britannia’ also undertook testing and running in which also necessitates ESMP staff involvement as part of our SMS (Safety Management System – our documented processes).


Coming up soon; 7802 will shortly be stopped for a valve and piston exam, which should hopefully take just a few weeks. 1450 will have similar work when it’s booked work for the season ends in a few weeks, but it’s work may take a little longer as we don’t need the loco back in traffic this season. Both 43106 and 1501 will require the same exams in the closed season after Christmas, along with some remedial work to the motion etc.


Holdings Board Director David Owen Retires

After many years as a Holdings Board Director, David Owen OBE has taken the decision to retire from his position on the Board effective from the 18th September 2018 Holdings Board meeting. David has played a pivotal part as a Director of Severn Valley Railway Holdings Plc and whilst he may be stepping away from this particular role we are delighted David will become a Trustee of Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust. We would like to take this opportunity to thank David for all his support as a Director since the infancy of the SVR. With the departure of David from the Holdings Board we are pleased announce that Graeme Bunker-James was co-opted onto the Holdings Board of Directors as of the same Holdings Board meeting last night. Graeme is an active volunteer at Bridgnorth MPD and brings with him a wealth of experience from his work with mainline Train Operating Companies and with the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. I am sure you will all join me in welcoming Graeme and wish David all the best for the future. 

Simon Hart, Company Secretary

A great day out with the kids as PAW Patrol stars visit the SVR 

Earn yourself some brownie points with the children or grandchildren, and bring them along to the Railway on the weekend of 20th and 21st October.  Stars from the children’s TV programme PAW Patrol are appearing at The Engine House Visitor Centre at intervals throughout the two days, and youngsters will be thrilled to meet Marshal and Rubble for themselves. 

Family entertainer David Oakley from A Box of Tricks will be wowing the crowds with his fast and funny magic shows during the event and The Animal Man will be bringing a selection of little critters and creepy crawlies for families to meet. 

And there are of course many other interactive exhibits at The Engine House, including jumping on the footplate of a real steam locomotive, sorting the mail in the travelling post office and meeting Gordon the big blue engine! A full, family menu will also be on offer at the restaurant and kids can burn-off some energy on the outdoor adventure playground. 

More information and tickets are at 

PAW Patrol events.jpg

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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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