Branch Lines Logo1.png
SVR logo (1).png

September 2022

75069 approaching Pokehill Crossing on the Spa Valley Railway on 29th August 2022. David C
SVR-based BR Standard 4MT 4-6-0 No. 75069 - a BR Southern Region engine - approaches Pokehill Crossing during the Spa Valley Railway's 25th Anniversary Gala on 29th August 2022. Photo: David Chandler

Welcome to your latest edition of Branch Lines

There is no shortage of things to celebrate around the Severn Valley Railway this week! Two very important projects are reaching their official conclusions; yesterday, Bridgnorth locomotive shed was officially reopened after its £475,000 upgrade, and tomorrow 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ will pull its first passenger service for 36 years, following a £1.4 million overhaul. Both are wonderful examples of the SVR spirit shining through and overcoming challenges.

Another challenge that’s come back to both us is the issue of lineside fires. A spate of serious incidents during the past month led to the SVR imposing a third steam ban on 30th August. Branch Lines hears from senior management about how the Railway is planning to tackle this problem, which, under the conditions brought about by climate change, looks like being a regular risk during summer running.

The biggest steam event of the year, the Autumn Steam Gala, is almost here. It promises a great line-up of visiting and home locomotives. We spend a day with the carriage cleaners at Kidderminster, and get an inside look at a fascinating aspect of building 82045 at Bridgnorth. Plus plenty of other news and developments from across the Railway – your September edition of I has it all and we hope you enjoy reading about it!

Lesley Carr & Patrick Hearn, co-editors 

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

Next edition Thursday 13th October

What's new?

GWR 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ set to return to traffic

4930 Hagley Hall on test
press to zoom
4930 Hagley Hall on test
press to zoom
1/1

The Railway is poised for an historic day tomorrow (9th September) when 4930 Hagley Hall will haul its first passenger service in more than three-and-a-half decades. This follows its £1.4million overhaul, and will be the culmination of 36 years of hard work, determination and dedication.

The SVR’s flagship loco will be the centrepiece of a ceremony at Kidderminster Town station starting at 10.45 a.m. The nameplates will be unveiled for the first time in front of invited guests, including SVR volunteers and staff who have worked tirelessly on the overhaul throughout the long years, others who’ve dedicated themselves to helping to raise funds for the project, and those who’ve made significant donations.

At 12 noon, ‘Hagley Hall’ will depart on the first of two inaugural trips to Bridgnorth for invited guests. The second trip leaves Kidderminster at 4 pm. The locomotive will be facing north, towards Bridgnorth.

The SVR is arranging a ‘livestream’ of the loco’s departure on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/svrofficial (no log in is required), so a wider audience will be able to witness this important moment.

A film of the ceremony is also planned for the SVR’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/SevernValleyRailwayOfficial

 

“The overhaul of 4930 has been a combination of hard work, determination, and overcoming challenges,” Mike Ball, the SVR’s chairman told Branch Lines. “It’s also been the stuff of dreams; without a vision and an absolute refusal to be beaten, its return to steam and passenger traffic simply would not have happened. A warm welcome home to the SVR’s flagship loco!”

During August 4930 has been on test trains in its unfinished state. Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and photo credits.

ASG guest locomotives 2022
press to zoom
ASG guest locomotives 2022
press to zoom
ASG guest locomotives 2022
press to zoom
ASG guest locomotives 2022
press to zoom
1/1
SVRCT MASTER 3D LOGO FOR LIGHT BACKROUND.png
 

“Something for everyone” at the Autumn Steam Gala

The SVR is gearing up for its biggest steam event of the year, the Autumn Steam Gala!

From the 15th to the 18th September, visitors can ride behind home and guest locomotives, watch demonstration goods trains, and much more. 

 

Home stars include GWR locomotives 2857, 7714, and recently overhauled 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’, which makes its first in-steam gala appearance in 36 years. BR engines from the home fleet are 1501 and 75069, while the Southern Railway is represented by No. 70 Elizabeth II with 43106, ‘The Flying Pig’ flying the flag for the LMS.  

 

The guest line-up for the gala comprises LMS Stanier Class 5, No. 45231 ‘Sherwood Forester’, GWR-inspired Mogul No. 9351, Hunslet Works No. 1873 ‘Jessie’, and a rare narrow-gauge visitor to the line in the form of ‘Anne’ from the Perrygrove Railway, running in purple livery. While the standard-gauge traction will be handling service trains, dining trains and good trains, ‘Anne’ will be offering carriage rides on specially laid narrow-gauge track alongside The Engine House.

For those wishing to dine in style, a morning breakfast service will run on all dates and can be purchased from the stewards on 7960, and a pie and mash service can be purchased from the booking office on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

 

Additional activities include the option to ride in a brake van between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade, journeying to Eardington in a vintage bus to watch trains storming through Eardington Halt, and taking in the Coalyard Miniature Railway which will be open 12 – 5pm on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th. Finally, visitors to Kidderminster station can see the Railart exhibition at Kidderminster Railway Museum, peruse the market stalls on the station concourse, and get up close to GWR 7325 which will be on display in one of the station platforms. All ticket holders will receive a complimentary souvenir programme, published in partnership with TRACKSIDE magazine. 

 

“We really have pulled out all the stops for this event,” said managing director Helen Smith. “Not only will we see the first Gala appearance for 36 years of our flagship loco 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’, but there’s a superb line-up of guests joining our varied home fleet. There’s truly something for everyone, and it wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of all the team at the SVR.” 

 

Tickets can be booked through the SVR website and advanced booking offers visitors a 10% saving against on-the-day prices. For more information visit: https://www.svr.co.uk/events/autumn-steam-gala/ 

 

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and photo credits.

ASG guest locomotives 2022
press to zoom
ASG guest locomotives 2022
press to zoom
ASG guest locomotives 2022
press to zoom
ASG guest locomotives 2022
press to zoom
1/1
295922695_5133149910067148_4667163412794955497_n.jpg
 

Bridgnorth locomotive shed is back open for business!

The culmination of months of hard work and meticulous planning came yesterday, with the official re-opening of the newly refurbished locomotive shed at Bridgnorth. The £475,000 project was delivered on time and on budget and will transform the way the engineering team looks after the railway’s fleet of steam locomotives.

 

Engineering team leader Will Marsh pressed the button to set the overhead travelling crane in motion, watched closely by some of those who’d made significant donations to the £475,000 project, along with volunteers and staff who’d helped deliver the project. 

Jenny Constant and her husband Graham were amongst the invited donors. She said, “We’ve been in here so many times and seen how dark and wet it is and we thought this is something that would benefit the work force from day one. 

Fellow donor Robin Childs added, “I saw the impossible conditions that people here were working in. They’re preserving the locomotives that I love, so giving some money to the new roof and facilities was obviously going to help.”

The £475,000 required for the project was raised by the SVR Charitable Trust, attracting thousands of donations and several awards from grant-making organisations.

It includes a new insulated roof with translucent panels as well as insulated cladding on the walls. State-of-the-art LED lighting now provides infinitely better illumination and will also be many times more efficient to power, which is particularly welcome as energy costs soar. The second-hand 6.3 tonne crane will save the team time and money every month.

“The difference the translucent sheets have made to the light inside the shed is remarkable,” said volunteer project manager, Antony Bartlam. “Paired with the new lighting, this will make a positive difference to the working environment. The fact that we now have the crane in place will make lifting heavy components much simpler and easier, and will avoid the complex shunting operations that used to be necessary.”

“The expertise that Antony has brought as our volunteer project manager has been key to the success of this work,” said Helen Smith, the SVR’s managing director. “He’s delivered this major project on time and on budget. A special thank you also to the many other volunteers who’ve assisted at different stages; without their help we would have faced much higher costs. This is a wonderful example of teamwork at the SVR, and is truly something to celebrate.”

An extra ‘flash fundraising’ appeal by the Charitable Trust raised a further £16,000 in just two weeks towards the cost of installing an epoxy resin floor coating. This provides a much more robust and safer surface than the old, damaged and uneven one.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated to fund this much-needed project,” said the CT’s executive director Shelagh Paterson. “Because of donors’ generosity, the SVR now has a lighter, brighter and safer workplace, helping to safeguard the future maintenance and overhaul of its steam locomotive fleet.”

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and photo credits.

Official reopening of Bridgnorth Locomotive Works 7th September 2022
press to zoom
Official reopening of Bridgnorth Locomotive Works 7th September 2022
press to zoom
Official reopening of Bridgnorth Locomotive Works 7th September 2022
press to zoom
Official reopening of Bridgnorth Locomotive Works 7th September 2022
press to zoom
Official reopening of Bridgnorth Locomotive Works 7th September 2022
press to zoom
Official reopening of Bridgnorth Locomotive Works 7th September 2022
press to zoom
Official reopening of Bridgnorth Locomotive Works 7th September 2022
press to zoom
Official reopening of Bridgnorth Locomotive Works 7th September 2022
press to zoom
1/2
 

Lineside fires… an ongoing issue

Between Tuesday 30th August and Friday 2nd September the SVR returned to diesel-hauled services only , followed a spate of lineside fires. This was the third ‘steam ban’ the Railway had imposed during the past two months. 

There was a return to steam over last weekend’s ‘purple-themed’ event, albeit with a reduced timetable and enhanced diesel haulage on the Saturday (3rd September).

“This year has seen very protracted periods of hot, dry weather,” said managing director Helen Smith. “Along with other heritage railways, we’ve been forced to suspend steam haulage at times in order to avoid lineside fires. We have to take these steps in order to act responsibly; it’s not acceptable to keep calling on the fire services to deal with these unfortunate incidents, and we have to think about the effect of fires on our neighbours.

“Fortunately, our visitors do, by and large, understand why there aren’t any steam locomotives running at certain times, but we know it can be disappointing for some. We have to face the fact that climate change means we can expect more hot, dry weather during future summers, and it’s important that we think carefully about how we could mitigate against the need for ‘steam bans’.

“We are very fortunate to have the SVR heritage diesel fleet, which has been boosted by additional locomotives on hire. Thank you to everyone involved for stepping in to ensure we could keep running passenger services.

“We need to find better ways of dealing with the excess vegetation alongside the line and we’re actively investigating how we can tackle this, including creating a pro-active vegetation management policy. We’re also looking at ways of modifying our locomotives in order to reduce the spill of cinders and sparks.”

Head of steam locomotives Duncan Ballard added: “All of our steam locos are fitted with smokebox spark arrestors*, which are checked daily by the footplate crews for fit and for potential defects. Many of our locos also have ashpan sprays** fitted as well, to dampen hot embers that fall into the ashpans. We’re working through the operational fleet to make these a mandatory fitting, as well as additional mesh screens*** on our dampers during the driest, high-fire risk spells that we encounter.” 

*Photo shows the wire mesh spark arrestor in 7714. Sparks from the fire have to pass through the 6mm mesh before being ejected from the chimney. Only very small particles can be therefore ejected which are less likely to remain hot by the time they land on the ground.

**The water damping spray is controlled by the fireman on the footplate 

***Dampers control the flow of air beneath the fire grate. There is the possibility of embers falling through the dampers, and fitting mesh screens will reduce this risk 

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and photo credits.

7714's smokebox spark arrestor. Martin White
press to zoom
Lineside fires at Eardington bank on 30th August 2022. Brett Cleeton
press to zoom
Diesels taking the strain
press to zoom
Diesels taking the strain
press to zoom
Diesels taking the strain
press to zoom
Diesels taking the strain
press to zoom
Diesels taking the strain
press to zoom
1/1
 

Autumn Diesel Bash guests announced

The recently repainted Class 56 56098. Tony Middleton
press to zoom
55009. Gus Dunster
press to zoom
D9009 Alycidon at the 2014 diesel gala. Ian Murray
press to zoom
1/1

The Railway has announced two visitors to its Autumn Diesel Bash as the pair get set to light up the event, which will take place from 29th September – 2nd October.

Deltic 55009 ‘Alycidon’ arrived in August, courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society, and has already hauled some passenger turns. It previously visited in 2002, 2013 and 2014. It’s in BR blue livery and this is the first time it has appeared on the SVR in this colour scheme.

A Class 56 locomotive from the main line will run on the Saturday and Sunday of the event courtesy of GB Railfreight, although a specific numbered locomotive hasn’t yet been rostered. With GBRf converting their fleet of Class 56 locomotives into Class 69s fairly soon, this may be the final opportunity for passengers to journey behind a GBRf Class 56. The first converted Class 69 was tested at the SVR on behalf of GBRf last year. 

 

Alongside the guests, the SVR will be using a selection of its home fleet including Class 50s, Class 52s D1015 Western Champion and D1062 Western Courier, and Class 14 ‘Teddy Bear’ carrying its British Steel Corporation No. 50.

Also be on the roster will be long-term visitors currently residing at the Railway: 20048, 31466, 40106 ‘Atlantic Conveyor’ and Class 46 No. D182.

Gus Dunster, deputy chairman of SVR (Holdings), said: “We’re grateful to GBRf for their support with our event and are looking forward to seeing a Class 56 run on the SVR. We were also disappointed that ‘Alycidon’ missed out on our spring event and are delighted for it to be here.

“We’ve got a fantastic line-up ready to impress passengers and rack up those all-important diesel miles.”

A full-colour programme will include the timetable with loco allocations, and will be available free-of-charge to passengers on the day from booking offices.

Traders’ stalls will be situated on Kidderminster Town concourse.

Kidderminster TMD (Diesel Depot) guided tours only will operate hourly. Passengers will be able to purchase tickets from the Fifty Fund stall at Kidderminster Town station for a suggested minimum donation.

The Coalyard Miniature Railway at Kidderminster Town station will be open on all four days.

Before its starring role at the Autumn Diesel Bash, ‘Alycidon’ is set to host diesel footplate experiences at the Railway, with a very limited number of slots left as Branch Lines published.

"The Bash will be a great opportunity for our diesel groups to really enjoy themselves," said managing director Helen Smith. "It's a chance to celebrate after supporting the timetabled services for the whole season this year as we have worked through several steam bans and the difficulties with coal prices and supply. We couldn’t have got through this year without them." 

Tickets for the Autumn Diesel Bash are available at https://svr.digitickets.co.uk/category/42243 or by calling 01562 757 900. Footplate experiences can be booked by phone on the same number.

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and photo credits.

 

What's coming up?

Hurry along to Bridgnorth Beer Festival 

After a three year gap due to the pandemic, Bridgnorth CAMRA's Beer Festival is being held again at SVR's Bridgnorth station, and runs until Saturday 10th September.

Entry is free. You can check out your beers, ciders and perrys in the organisers' The Beer Festival programme.

Supporting the festival is a gin and wine bar from the Railwayman’s Arms and a new street food menu will be available in the Refreshment Room.

 

Behind the scenes at the SVR for Heritage Open Days 

813 dismembered outside Bridgnorth MPD. Tours will be available as part of the open day
press to zoom
55009 Alycidon - Kidderminster TMD on 3rd September. . Tours will be available as part of the open d
press to zoom
1/1
Heritage open days logo.jpg

The SVR will be throwing open the doors to some of its normally hidden areas this weekend, as it takes part in the nationwide Heritage Open Days event. 

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest annual festival of history and culture and is taking place between 9th and 18th September 2022, with a variety of venues opening their doors to unveil hidden histories and rarely seen areas. 

On the 10th and 11th September, the SVR will be welcoming visitors to areas normally not accessible to the public – including the newly renovated locomotive shed at Bridgnorth. 

Visitors will be able to take a guided tour of the locomotive shed and motive power depot at Bridgnorth, where a variety of engines are undergoing work including 82045, 4150 and 813. The newly overhauled 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ will also be on display ahead of its starring role at the Autumn Steam Gala later this month.  

Meanwhile at Kidderminster, the state-of-the-art diesel depot will also be open for tours, showcasing the amazing work put in by diesel volunteers, whose contributions have been so vital to the SVR this year.  

Across the rest of the line, visitors to Bewdley will be able to see restoration works on a variety of the Railway’s carriage fleet, and locomotives on display at Kidderminster and Bewdley will be offering footplate visits. 

All behind-the-scenes tours are free, however visits to the Bridgnorth locomotive works and Kidderminster diesel depot have limited spaces and must be pre-booked in advance. Lewis Maddox, the SVR’s events manager, said:  

“It’s an honour to be involved with Heritage Open Days and celebrate the incredible industrial history that surrounds us here at the Severn Valley Railway. 

“As part of this unique look behind-the-scenes there’ll be opportunities to chat with our knowledgeable volunteers, ask questions, and discover the work that’s needed to keep a heritage railway alive.” 

Free places for tours are being snapped up and only a few spaces remain for each time slot. Tickets to visit for Heritage Open Days, plus all other SVR events, are available at svr.co.uk or on the day from any SVR booking office.  

Find out more about Heritage Open Days at heritageopendays.org.uk  

 

O Gauge Autumn Model Railway Weekend returns for 2022

In 2021, following the Covid-cancellation of the Gauge O Guild’s ‘Guildex’ exhibition, a small group of SVR volunteers successfully organised an impromptu ‘O Gauge Get Together’ event (see August 2021 Branch Lines).

 

This year it’s returning to The Engine House, Highley on 24th and 25th September and an organisers’ Facebook page gives more details (no log in required) at https://www.facebook.com/SVRGaugeOshow/. Timetable C is running on both days, and entry is free with a valid ticket or pass.

 

Co-organiser Tom Clarke told Branch Lines: “This year will be bigger and better, and with more time to plan, it’ll be better organised! Nine wonderful layouts are booked, including the following already announced: Harpenden East, Chipped Lane and Stodmarsh (see images for descriptions).

“In addition, there’ll be three displays and seven traders in the scale, along with stands run by Warley model railway club and the Gauge O Guild.”

 

Fellow organiser Harry Bradley added: “It’s surprising how many Railway volunteers are modellers and, more so, how many dabble in O gauge. This scale is attractive because of its size and durability. Not too big that it takes up lots of space, and not so small that you strain your eyes. You can use authentic three-link couplings too!

 

“A small group of Bewdley MPD volunteers bought a second-hand layout back in 2018 and the craze escalated from there; others have done it for many years, Martin Wood, for example, has built enough wagons to fill a small county” (apparently only a small exaggeration! – Ed.) 

 

“We’ve had a lot of interest from the O gauge fraternity and the Guild have advertised our event at their shows and in their magazines. The SVR’s marketing team produced some great posters, which are displayed across the Railway. Feedback has been positive, and we’re sure it will be a success.” 

 

Tom continued: “Organising this show isn’t easy! Modellers and layout owners all have their own ways. Insurance, owners’ and operators’ accommodation and transport of bulky layouts take a substantial amount from our budget. Squeezing all of this into The Engine House becomes a logistical puzzle, it would be so much easier if there were no trains in the way! 

 

“But, when it comes together it makes for a friendly, small-scale event where everyone is there for one common aim, to build and operate O gauge trains, and that, to us, that makes it a pleasure to organise.”

 

You can purchase tickets at https://www.svr.co.uk/whats-on/autumn-model-railway-weekend/ or on the day from booking offices.

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and photo credits.

O Gauge Autumn Model Railway Weekend
press to zoom
O Gauge Autumn Model Railway Weekend
press to zoom
O Gauge Autumn Model Railway Weekend
press to zoom
O Gauge Autumn Model Railway Weekend
press to zoom
O Gauge Autumn Model Railway Weekend
press to zoom
O Gauge Autumn Model Railway Weekend
press to zoom
O Gauge Autumn Model Railway Weekend
press to zoom
O Gauge Autumn Model Railway Weekend
press to zoom
1/1
 

SVR Branch meetings

Michael Clemens.jpg

SVR Wolverhampton Branch starts its new season on 12th September at the Old Wulfrunians Club, Castlecroft Road, Castlecroft, Wolverhampton, with a presentation by Keith Hodgkins entitled ‘A Black Country Steam Photographer Rediscovered’, the photographic archive of Terry Hyde.

 

The meeting will start at 7.30 pm and finish around 10.00 pm with midway break of 20 minutes for drinks and a raffle. More details are on the branch website at http://www.svr-wolverhampton.org.uk/

The SVR Stourbridge branch committee’s programme of talks will continue on 5th October with 'UK and Spanish steam' presented by Michael Clemens 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.

The meetings are open to all.

Photo: The cover photo of Michael Clemens’ 2014 book shows ex-LMS LMS Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2T 41209 at Bridgnorth in June 1963, having worked the 5.30 p.m. from Shrewsbury.

 

Across the Railway

A ‘clean sweep’ through the SVR’s carriages

The SVR’s team of carriage cleaners works out of the carriage shed as part of the engineering department. As he settles into his new role as head of traction and rolling stock engineering, Martin White rolled up his sleeves and joined the team early one morning to find out what they do, how they do it, and what problems they face:

 

A 7 am rendezvous in the Kidderminster porters’ room, and the morning gang - Rob, Andy, Keith, Roland and myself - collected the tools of the trade, brushes, brooms, cloths, cleaning materials etc, and headed out to the platforms where two sets awaited interior cleaning. The LNER set was scheduled to be the first departure so we tackled that first. However, the dining kitchen and trailer were attached to it, and needed to be dealt with as they’d been in use the day before. Rob set to work on the diners whilst Keith explained that the main rakes are cleaned in a well-organised sequence. 

 

Firstly, the brushing down of seat upholstery, tables, and window frames onto the floor whilst at the same time looking out for litter or lost property left on luggage racks. Dog hairs on the seats are a pain! Following behind the brush are the sweepers, one doing the ‘under’ (beneath seats and tables etc), the other following behind brushing the corridors and gangways. The rubbish is left in little piles in each vestibule for collecting later. 

carriage cleaners.jpg
content (2).jpg

Once completed, the tables and woodwork can be wiped down, followed by someone cleaning the toilet cubicles, pans, seats, sinks, grab handles and so on with different coloured cloths for the different areas. Then the mops and buckets, (one colour for the toilets and another for the public areas) and lastly, if there’s time, the window cloths come out to tackle the interior glass….. grubby hand prints and dog snouts primarily! The gang change over roles as the tasks and sets are completed. The pace of all of this is astonishing and relentless, enough for me to get a sweat up. “Blimey you’re fast,” I say to Keith, who responds with a laugh saying “No, you’re slow!”

 

The LNER set finished, and as Rob finishes off the diners with the hoover, we moved onto the LMS set; a repeat of the previous sequence, with the team kindly pointing out bits of glass that I have failed to polish. 

Shortly after 9 am the sets were finished. Quicker than usual the guys explain to me, as there has been four of them this morning (plus myself) whereas sometimes there might only be two cleaners, for example when some of the team are needed for carriage shunting. The gang head off towards the carriage shed, where for the next few hours they’ll be doing other work, like hand-washing of the stock or deeper cleaning of the vehicles not in traffic this week. 

 

This daily work is unseen by most of us, but important to every single fare-paying passenger. They’d soon notice if it wasn’t done! 

Lower photo: LNER Teak Restaurant Car 7960 in sun at Kidderminster 27th August. John Sherratt

 

Rolling stock

Update from the motive power depot

Step back in time…7714 crosses the viaduct at Bewdley with a train for Bridgnorth on 21st August. Ke
press to zoom
2857 is the first loco in the refurbished Bridgnorth Loco Works & MPD
press to zoom
75069 on the Spa Valley Railway on 30th August 2022. Matt Dines
press to zoom
1501 at Barrow Hill
press to zoom
1/1

This summer the SVR has been really feeling the heat, as Bridgnorth’s volunteer shed master Martin White reports: 

 

The dry summer has continued to cause us concerns and disruption. Following some serious fires at the end of August we commenced our third self-imposed ‘steam ban’ of the year, which stretched into early September. The rains that were forecast arrived late, and were perhaps a bit more sporadic than expected, which led to some of the scheduled steam footplate experience sessions being cancelled in the week commencing 5th September. However, by Monday evening the rain finally started to fall in a reasonable volume. 

 

The dry weather and steam ban had the knock-on effect of curtailing the loaded test runs of ‘Hagley Hall’ at a time when it was necessary to have the loco worked hard to ensure that everything was well bedded in. The loco had really started to settle down when the ban came into effect, and so we keep our fingers crossed that the official launch and appearance at the September Gala will be trouble-free. 

 

The supply of coal has improved since earlier in the year, although the price hasn’t! However, we cannot tell how each newly-delivered batch of coal will behave until we try it. The latest coal, from Kazakhstan, is a case in point. During the tail end of 2021 we had Kazak coal which was observed to produce large volumes of sparks from the chimney; these continued to glow hot as they floated to the ground. Unfortunately, some of the recent coal supplies have demonstrated similar properties. The glowing sparks are really quite small, having got through the fine 6mm mesh of the spark arrestors that are fitted to all of our locomotives. But these small, hot sparks, landing on tinder-dry lineside vegetation, are still a recipe for an impromptu fire. Beneath the fireboxes, efforts are underway to improve the ashpans, to reduce the possibility of hot cinders falling out through dampers and doors. 

 

Routine work on the steam fleet has seen a number of boiler washouts and minor repairs taking place, although with the reduced steam mileage the washouts are not as frequent as in previous years. For example, ‘Taw Valley’ aka ‘Elizabeth II’ has only just reached its first washout mileage of the season. 

 

The refurbished shed is being repopulated with tooling and machinery, some of it brand-new. For example, in the welding and fabrication bay, new fume extractors (on four-metre long flexible arms) have been installed and this is to be followed up by a new extraction system for a relocated white metaling hearth. In order to maintain a tidy and efficient layout, the decision has been reached that, for the moment, tool cupboards for individuals or loco groups, will be stored away from the main workshop. 

 

The official reopening of the shed will be followed by tours during Heritage Open Weekend, when we can proudly show off our terrific, new facilities.

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and photo credits.

 

Behind the scenes with new-build 82045

The SVR’s cameras recently joined members of the 82045 Trust on a momentous day at Bridgnorth, to capture the weighshafts being cryogenically fitted to the lifting links.

 

The resulting film shows the fascinating process taking place and marks an important step forward in the progress of this new-build locomotive.

If you’ve not already done so, please like and subscribe to the SVR’s YouTube channel on https://www.youtube.com/c/SevernValleyRailwayOfficial.

 

In other news

Put SVR-exclusive goodies on your Christmas list!

Alice Moorhouse and Bev Hickman  with the SVR Top Trumps packs. Dan Shorthouse.jpg

The SVR’s shops are taking delivery of some very exciting and exclusive merchandise, which could be just the thing to add to your Christmas wish list. It’s also the chance to get ahead with your own Christmas shopping.

Bespoke Severn Valley Railway versions of popular games will soon be available. SVR Top Trumps features a range of SVR-based steam locomotives, whilst SVR Monopoly lets you steam, dream and scheme your way to riches!

Either of these would make the perfect Christmas Gift for any heritage railway fan. They’re now in stock and can be collected from the SVR’s on-site shops, or posted directly from Monday 12th September.

There’s also a bespoke ‘Hagley Hall’ range to celebrate the return of 4930, with pin badges, magnets, t-shirts and cups.

“We’re building our retail range so that we have more bespoke products, that are unique to the SVR,” said Michael Dunn, head of commercial and visitor experience. “We know that they’re popular items and people enjoy their quality, and the special feeling that owning a unique ‘piece of the SVR’ brings. We’re expanding the range over the coming weeks and months, so please keep a close eye on svrshop.co.uk, where you can subscribe to receive regular updates on new products, ideas and inspiration.”

Profits from everything sold in the SVR’s shops goes directly back into the preservation of the Severn Valley Railway, and SVR members receive 10% off when they visit the Railway’s on-site shops.

Photo: Alice Moorhouse and Bev Hickman with the SVR Top Trumps packs. Dan Shorthouse

 

Purple Event brings summer season to a close

The Railway was thrown into a festival of a ‘certain colour’ on 3rd – 4th September to celebrate the last weekend of the summer season.

 

Inspired by the new livery of No. 70 ‘Elizabeth II’, a variety of colourful attractions brought an eye-catching festival of fuchsia (and lavender, plum, violet, mauve, lilac) to the line – including a last-minute guest at Kidderminster Station.

 

Around 1,200 fare-paying passengers visited for the weekend event, along with many more with passes of various types. They were joined by a purple Massey Ferguson tractor, No.70 ‘Elizabeth II’ and purple road-rail Land Rover, ‘Plimsoll’.

 

Kidderminster station had purple diesel locomotive Class 67 67007 on display, courtesy of DB Cargo, which arrived unexpectedly on the Friday before the event, following the last-minute cancellation of the locomotive’s railtour.

 

Lewis Maddox, events manager, said: “We’ve had a summer season to remember, with a busy calendar of events and No.70 Elizabeth II making global headlines, bringing in passengers from far and wide as a result.

 

“We knew we wanted to cap off the summer holidays in style, and we certainly achieved that! It’s now on to autumn and Christmas, with a calendar unrivalled by any attraction in the local area.” 

 

To encourage visitors to add a splash of colour of their own, the SVR team activated a fantastic offer giving passengers 33% off tickets when they wore a purple item of clothing to the event.

 

Lewis added: “Times are tough with the national cost-of-living crisis and we knew we needed to find new and innovative ways to get people into booking offices and to pre-book their tickets in advance. The Fab Friday offers that have been running since July have been successful and we wanted to put a spin on that, for the final offer of the summer!” 

Click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and photo credits.

Plimsoll - All Change!
press to zoom
67007 among the furniture
press to zoom
1/1
 

V1 September 2022

Need to contact us?

Thanks for reading!

If you receive our monthly newsletter by email and wish to unsubscribe from our newsletter please click the link at the bottom of your email or alternatively use our contact form.

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.