SVR Charitable Trust

Falling Sands Viaduct

Thanks to a major fundraising campaign, and a generous grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, we are now in a position to move ahead with work to restore Falling Sands Viaduct, an important part of the SVR's infrastructure.

Our 'helping hands for Falling Sands' campaign raised £397,000 from generous individuals, businesses, community groups, trusts and grant making organisations, all of who were determined to make sure the much-needed and extensive repairs to the viaduct can go ahead.  On top of this, we were successful in our bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a further £853,000.  With all the funding in place, the restoration work begins in January 2020, following the Christmas and New Year services.

If you always wanted to know why the Railway needs a Charitable Trust, or what the Charitable Trust actually does, or indeed how you can get involved with us, then look no further – the answers are here.

If there’s something we haven’t covered, please give us a call on 01562 757940. Or check out our website at

Why does the SVR need a Charitable Trust?

This is something many people ask, especially when the Railway takes in a healthy income from ticket sales, and from its shops, cafes and pubs. The fact is that while this income does indeed cover the day-to-day running costs of the Railway, a great deal more funding is needed to pay for the immense and never-ending task of maintaining and restoring the SVR’s extensive rolling stock, infrastructure and permanent way.  And this is precisely why the SVR Charitable Trust was created in 2012; to help fund restoration and maintenance projects, to help arrest the decline of heritage engineering skills and to safeguard the long-term future and operational capability of the Railway. As well as seeking donations from individuals and companies, the Charitable Trust makes applications to various organisations and grant-making bodies, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, for the substantial sums that are required to meet the SVR’s ongoing restoration needs.

How is the Charitable Trust helping the Railway?

  • It funds the majority of the costs of the SVR’s Heritage Skills Training Academy, in which our team of apprentices are acquiring essential engineering skills to keep the Railway in good shape for the future.

  • The Charitable Trust is working towards a £10 million balance for its endowment Future Fund, with the pot reaching £1,200,000 by June 2019. Income from this endowment will allow sustainable investment on the Railway in the years to come. Donate online or click to download an endowment Future Fund donation form.

  • We work with supporters to ensure their wishes are kept when they decide to leave a final legacy to the Railway in their Will. Currently the Trust has £2 million in pledged gifts for the future.

Support on projects

  • Our 'helping hands for Falling Sands' appeal raised £397,000 in donations, and we secured £925,000 of funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund (including an initial development grant of £72,000).  This means the SVR can go ahead with ambitious plans to restore this essential piece of its infrastructure. An important aspect of this project will be to bring alive the history of the SVR since its earliest days, engaging the community in an exciting series of events, exhibitions and educational activities.

  • We secured a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £95,000 towards the restoration of locomotive 4930 Hagley Hall.

  • The Trust made a contribution towards building the Kidderminster Diesel Depot which opened in 2016.

  • The Trust has worked closely with volunteers from the LNER Carriage Group to raise funds for and in conjunction with Carriage & Wagon to complete the final restoration work on three Gresley teak carriages (7960, 24506 and 52255.) These were splendidly showcased when Flying Scotsman visited the SVR in September 2016.

  • We contribute to track re-laying work that takes place each year during the Railway's winter shutdown period. In 2019 we have helped fund repair work at both Borle Viaduct and Sandbourne Viaduct.

  • In May 2016, the Trust secured a grant of £75,000 from the Department for Transport towards a project which will transform the Railway’s facilities for disabled visitors by adapting a carriage to wheelchair use to complete the SVR’s fleet of accessible carriages, and rebuilding a second carriage to provide wheelchair-accessible dining facilities.

  • The Trust paid for lighting improvements in the carriage shed at Kidderminster.

  • Over £10,000 was raised in just over a week during January 2018 to repair two coaches that had been vandalised.

  • Around £10,000 was raised for the Toad brake van 17140, repaired for the Trust by the LNER Coach Fund.

  • Thanks to generous donations to the Trust, we've been able to fund 'Journey through Time', an exhibition at The Engine House, Highley, charting the development of Britain's railways and the SVR in particular.

  • We secured funding from the People's Postcode Lottery to build an enlarged Anderson shelter and outdoor covered shelter at Highely, which will enhance the facilities the SVR offers to more than 10,000 schoolchildren every year.

  • Bridgnorth development - £83,000 has now been received for the project, including £18,000 that has been restricted to restoring the Bristol Bath Road turntable at the station. 

  • The Diesel TMD appeal to improve facilities had raised £27,000 by June 2019.

  • We've established a Commemorative Garden at Highley, where visitors can remember their loved ones, and reflect on their association with the Railway.

What’s the benefit of donating to the Railway through the Charitable Trust?

  • Because the Trust has charitable status, if you’re a taxpayer and make a donation to the Railway through us, we may be able to claim back Gift Aid from HMRC. This means that for every £10 you donate, we may be able to receive a further £2.50 from the Revenue. It costs you nothing extra, but adds considerably to the value of your donation.

  • If you’re considering leaving a legacy to the Charitable Trust, please download our Guardian’s leaflet. Legacies are free from inheritance tax and may help to avoid the payment of inheritance tax on some or all of your estate.

  • To make a donation to the Charitable Trust, please download our donation leaflet. We welcome single and regular donations, as well as donations in memory of a loved one. Families often ask for donations in lieu of flowers at a funeral.


Who else does the Charitable Trust get help from?

We have a number of major donors; individuals who give substantial financial support to the Railway through the Charitable Trust. We also apply to many grant-making organisations such as National Lottery Heritage Fund. And we engage with companies and businesses who pay to be members of our Corporate Partnership Club. In return they receive unusual, memorable and thrilling benefits such as locomotive charters and use of the Observation Saloon for corporate entertainment. Companies may be able to set their membership payments against Corporation Tax.

Isn’t the Trust also the ‘owner of last resort’? What does that mean?

It’s a way of ensuring that various locomotives, coaches and wagons that have been lovingly restored over many years by SVR volunteers can remain at the Railway, in perpetuity. As the members of the many preservation groups inevitably age and their numbers dwindle, items of rolling stock can be donated to the Charitable Trust, in order to be absolutely certain they will remain at the Railway for the long-term. The Trust owns the locomotive 7819 Hinton Manor (awaiting restoration), along with around 20 carriages and a number of wagons.

How can I get involved in shaping the work and future of the Charitable Trust?

If you would like to get more involved in how the Charitable Trust is run, then we’d like to hear from you. We’re always looking for people from across the Railway to become Members of the Charitable Trust and act as a ‘sounding board’ for our Trustees. We’re looking for working members, apprentices, rolling stock owners, supporters and people who have responsibility and expertise on the SVR’s infrastructure or permanent way. We also welcome representatives from external organisations. We see all these individuals and organisations as SVR stakeholders, who can help to shape the direction and focus of the Charitable Trust.

Trust Membership costs £10 a year, and is open to everyone, subject to Board approval. As a Member you will be invited to attend our Annual General Meeting, held every March. Click to download a Charitable Trust Member’s application form.

Shelagh Paterson Director of Development

Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust Ltd

Last updated 3 June 2019

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