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April 2022

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Port Talbot Railway/GWR 813 and GWR 7714 double head at Eardington during the Open House weekend on 2nd April 2022. Matt Fielding

Welcome to your latest edition of Express Points!

The SVR is up and running! We had a cracking start to the 2022 season -  the Open House weekend at the start of April marked the start of a very busy couple of months. Next up will be the Spring Steam Gala, and we've news of a change to the visiting locomotive roster.


Coal – specifically the supply problems arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine - features highly at the SVR this month, just as it does for many heritage lines. It's a testing and rapidly changing situation. We have news of service changes, plus head of engineering Martin White shares his thoughts on the way forward.


It's always good to be recognised, and when a tourism body calls you 'exceptional' you must be doing something right! Read below on our progress to the Visit England national awards for excellence.


Add to that news of the purple locomotive and Jubilee plans, brand new exhibitions, the launch of the 'Unlimited' SVR pass for visitors and a chance for shareholders to participate in a review... and it's another bumper edition!


Have a great month as the running season gathers pace.

Lesley and Patrick, co-editors

The Express Points team is Lesley Carr, Patrick Hearn, Amy Baker and Nicola Fox

Next edition Thursday 12th May

Contents

Scroll down or click on the item to be taken straight to it

What's new?

 

S15 to appear at the bumper Spring Steam Gala

S15 506 at Northside Crossing, credit Kenny Felstead

The Railway has added Urie S15 No 506 to its all-steam gala line up next week, making it the first of its type to appear on the line.

The powerful London & South Western Railway 4-6-0 freight engine (BR power classification 6F) will run all four days of the gala from 21st – 24th April in its Southern Railways guise, alongside fellow guests LNER A4 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley in ‘wartime black’ livery, and GWR 2999 ‘Lady of Legend’.

In the last five years, S15 has celebrated the 100th anniversary of its original build and, in 2019, after an 18-year restoration, it joined the fleet of six other S15s in preservation. 

Unfortunately, Terrier 2678 is no longer available because it requires urgent maintenance. The Railway hopes that the visit of this popular engine can be rescheduled later in the year.

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Head of visitor experience Michael Dunn said: “We’ve got an unrivalled line-up for our first steam event of the year. The gala offers an exciting variety of locomotives and carriages; two of the smallest home fleet engines, 813 and Welsh Guardsman, will double-head, whilst 4498 will be paired with the SVR’s fleet of Gresley teak carriages at selected times during the event.

“Alongside an intensive timetable and traditional hop-on, hop-off style gala, the SVR has brought back multi-day rover tickets allowing passengers to book for more than one day whilst saving money against individual day prices.”

A complimentary Spring Steam Gala souvenir programme will be given to each ticket holder at the event. This is being sponsored by TRACKSIDE magazine. 

Tickets are on sale now and gala details can be found at https://www.svr.co.uk/whats-on/spring-steam-gala-2022/.

506 appears courtesy of owners Urie Locomotive Society Ltd and the Mid-Hants Railway (Watercress Line.)

Photo: S15 506 at Northside Crossing, credit Kenny Felstead

Coal supply shortage leads to service changes

The SVR (Holdings) board has approved necessary measures to safeguard the Railway’s operations this season in view of widespread coal supply difficulties. Managing director Helen Smith told Express Points:


“Importantly, the running days for the forthcoming Easter holidays will go ahead as planned. The Railway has, however, been forced to take the very difficult decision to change the timetable, replacing some steam services with diesels, and cutting the number of days we are running through the school holidays. Another casualty has been to postpone steam footplate experiences.


“This decision is to preserve our coal stocks as long as possible, which should allow the market to settle and alternative coal supplies to be set up by UK importers. We are also testing coal mixed with ovoids.”

 

The reissued working timetable will confirm that running for the Easter holidays will go ahead as planned but the Railway will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the summer holidays. The reduction of steam traction will see A timetable days switched from two steam and one diesel to two diesel and one steam. B and C timetables, which were originally all steam-based, will see diesel replace one and two services respectively. No changes have currently been made to D timetables.

The impact of the coal supply problems has also featured in the media: you can see a report on BBC Midlands Today at https://www.facebook.com/svrofficial/videos/656567322263589


The public timetable has been reprinted for distribution and display in all stations and the changes to the services are to be made clear on the website to minimise confusion. As the operations team continues its work on the switch to additional diesel traction diagrams, detailed updates for operational staff will be circulated through Microsoft Teams. Helen added:


“We know this will be a disappointment, and we ask for your understanding in these incredibly testing times. The situation is still very fluid, please bear with us as we work our way through it. Please keep your comments on social media positive and remember you are all ambassadors for the SVR.”

40106 Atlantic Conveyor getting up steam at Bridgnorth on 2nd April 2022. David Bissett.jp

Photos:

Coal notice at Bewdley station, James Pearson

40106 Atlantic Conveyor raises steam at Bridgnorth on 2nd April. The Class 40's train heating has proved to be very useful with increased diesel usage coinciding with colder weather. David Bissett

 
Coal notice at Bewdley station. James Pearson

Unlimited adventures await with the launch of new SVR pass

Phones at the ready, passengers Loving Diesel & Steam, Jason Hood.jpg

Introduction of the new Unlimited Pass, alongside its two-day and five-day counterparts, is encouraging passengers to experience the wonders of heritage rail, time and time again.


Starting at just £150 for an adult and £210 for a family to travel on any standard-fare services throughout the year, the new Unlimited pass represents superb value for passengers who visit the SVR regularly.


Alongside their travel entitlements, Unlimited Pass holders receive a host of benefits including savings against special event tickets, priority booking and discounts in retail and catering outlets. As an added bonus, SVR membership is included.


Meanwhile, existing SVR Members will receive a discount on the price of their pass, with prices starting at just £125 for an adult and £167 for a family.

Head of visitor experience Michael Dunn told Express Points: “We launched the Unlimited Pass at the start of April and it’s had a really good take up. The Railway has so much to offer passengers and we want to encourage them to visit regularly to get the very best experience of heritage rail.


“Our Unlimited Pass is a product in line with what’s offered by other visitor attractions and I’m thrilled to be able to launch this to passengers, just in time for the new season.”


There’s more information about the benefits of an Unlimited Pass at www.svr.co.uk/unlimited

Photo: Phones at the ready, passengers loving diesel and steam at the Open House weekend. Photo: Jason Hood

 
 

Switch off to save money

Energy saving is everyone's job. Geoff and Mike attend to the gas lighting at Kidderminste

Escalating energy costs are hitting households and businesses across the country and the SVR is no different. Head of finance Louise Whitehouse has been crunching the numbers on the estimated utility bills that the Railway will face in the coming year.


“The figures show a stark situation, but it’s something we can all help to address, if we put our minds to it,” said Louise. “Last year we spent around £162,000 on energy and this year we are expecting it to be £241,000 – that’s a staggering increase of 49%!


“Sometimes the simplest actions can have a significant impact on reducing costs, and we all need to step up and take responsibility, and not expect someone else to sort it out for us.”


Some basic actions that will help are:

 

  • Turn off the lights  

  • Shut down your computer at night; computers are one of the biggest energy users so ditch the screen saver and turn off your screen 

  • Do not leave electrical appliances on standby  

  • Only switch on what you need, where you need it 

  • Set thermostats to come on/off so that the Railway is not paying to heat empty buildings

Louise added, “Please control your own areas and ensure that the simple action points above are carried out. Take the time to check around the building at the end of the day. This is everyone’s responsibility, and every single person can make a contribution.


“Remember, if it’s not being used then switch it off!”


Photo: Energy saving is everyone's job. Geoff Smith and Mike Anderson attend to the gas lighting at Kidderminster. Lesley Carr 

A cracking start to 2022

Open House Weekend got the 2022 season off to a great start, as visitors got a peek at the unseen yet essential work that goes on behind the scenes across the Railway.

Timetable C operated on both days of the event with attractions along the line. Carriage sets for 2022 returned to their traditional mix of open and corridor coaches, and buffet car.

Steam was represented by GWR trio 1501, with 813 and 7714 double-heading, and LMR 43106.

 

The cold snap meant that steam-heating 40106 Atlantic Conveyor replaced the rostered 50035 Ark Royal on the CS1 diesel turn on both days, and had the honour of opening the 2022 season at the Valley.

“What a fantastic opening weekend!” said managing director Helen Smith. “We had well over 1,600 passengers, and I saw so many smiling faces everywhere. Thank you to everyone for their efforts and welcome back to the On Train Buffet teams! Staff did a splendid job despite all the challenges of getting up and running again in such a busy period.”

The continuing pandemic unfortunately meant the cancellation of both Saturday performances at Kidderminster by Highley Colliery Brass Band and the demonstration at The Engine House by stonemason Philip Chatfield.

Late additions to the advertised programme included Jack Boskett’s photography exhibition at The Engine House, visiting locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley on view at Bridgnorth MPD (see separate articles), and Bridgnorth signal box open on the Saturday.

As a coal-saving measure, Class 08 shunter D3022 undertook the Highley yard brake van rides, and the steam-hauled heritage goods trains did not operate.

After a winter’s hard work, the line’s infrastructure performed without a hitch.

Food & beverage and retail had a bumper weekend, netting secondary spend sales of £23,000.

On both days, there were short (up to 15 minute) delays with trains being held for SVR staff and the Fire Service to extinguish lineside fires, mostly at the north (Shropshire) end of the line. The delays were recovered in fairly short time due to the excellent teamwork along the Railway. Thanks are due to Shropshire Fire Service for their assistance.

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

43106
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Class 40 40160
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813 and 7714 together
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SVR TTI'S
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Locomotive 1501
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Fireman and Driver of Locomotive 7714
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Class 40 40106
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Eardington station tour
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Bewdley Buffet Staff
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GWR Toad Brake Van
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Bewdley North Signal box
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Signalman Phil Brown
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The SVR wins award for resilience and innovation

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Worcestershire award announcement
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Worcestershire Award
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The Severn Valley Railway scooped the Resilience and Innovation award at the Visit Worcestershire tourism awards last month.

This new award category acknowledges excellence in the ways that organisations adapted in order to survive the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The judges commented:

“This business stands out as being exceptional and truly deserves to be recognised as a winner in this category. They have clearly evidenced improvements in virtual experience, digital PR, collaborations, and wider tourism support as well as business diversification. [The SVR] exceeds expectations in all aspects and is an inspiration to others.”

The achievement came as the Railway was in the final stages of preparing to reopen for the 2022 season, and was welcomed by managing director Helen Smith:

“If the past couple of years have taught us anything at the SVR, it’s been that surviving the impacts of the Covid pandemic required huge amounts of hard work and fresh thinking. I know that we excel in these areas, and it is wonderful to receive this official recognition of our determination and efforts. We still have tough challenges ahead, but we can take a moment to feel proud of what we’ve already achieved. Well done to everyone at the SVR – this is your time to shine!

The success at regional level means the SVR will now go forward to the national Visit England Awards for Excellence, which take place in Birmingham on 8th June.

 

SVR (Holdings) shareholder review

In late March, SVR (Holdings) shareholders with holdings of 125 shares or more received their passes or complimentary tickets. A letter from managing director Helen Smith also announced a shareholder review, following the commitment made at last year’s AGM (see October 2021’s Express Points.)

Shareholders, regardless of the level of their holdings, will be able to engage in the first stage by participating in an online survey that will take place this month (April). Details of how shareholders can access the survey will be sent by post. It is important that shareholders engage with this initial research if they want to be included in the review.

Following the survey, a selection of shareholders who have participated in the survey will be invited to a focus group, with two workshop sessions to be convened in May.

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SVR (Holdings) has appointed Durnin Research Limited to conduct this as an independent review. The key findings from the research will be presented at the AGM on 11th June, 2022.

Helen explained: “This review is being set up to obtain the views of all shareholders on their engagement with the Railway. It will also examine the value placed on shareholder entitlements, both currently and in the future, all in the context of the sustainable future of the Railway. It will capture evidence from, and the perspectives of, the whole of the SVR shareholding community.”

Photo: SVR (Holdings) owned GWR 4930 Hagley Hall nearly finished in Bridgnorth Shed on 2nd April during Open House weekend. John Sherratt.

 

What's coming up?

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee arrives with a purple splash!

A mock up of Taw Valley in its new purple livery, original image taken by Ian Murray.jpg

Tickets are now on sale for the SVR’s four-day bank holiday event to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with the ‘purple loco’ playing a central role, alongside a host of other attractions.

Festivities will take place from 2nd-5th June, as the Railway joins with the nation to celebrate the historic and momentous occasion across the extended bank holiday weekend.

Crowning the first day of the event will be the unveiling of locomotive 34027 with its new name, ‘Elizabeth II’, new number ‘70’, and unique, head-turning purple livery, specially commissioned to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

 

Last week, the Railway received official consent from the Cabinet Office to use the temporary new name, and visitors will be able to see the ‘purple loco’ throughout the four-day event.

On the Thursday afternoon, SVR locomotives at Kidderminster and Bridgnorth will sound their whistles as town criers make a special Queen’s Platinum Jubilee proclamation. 

 

Evening services will transport diners to The Engine House, Highley for a Beacon Banquet, at which the SVR’s beacon will be lit at the same time as thousands of others across the world.

Alongside the stunning sight of the ‘purple loco’ No 70 ‘Elizabeth II’, the appropriately named No 2999 ‘Lady of Legend’ will be making its final appearances at the SVR before it returns home to Didcot Railway Centre. Other highlights include:

  • Flypast on all four days by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s iconic Lancaster 

  • Vintage fairground ride at Bridgnorth 

  • Paddington-themed exhibition courtesy of BrickLive™ 

  • Milk bar with juke box at The Engine House 

  • Jack Boskett photographic exhibition ‘From Railways to Royalty’ at The Engine House 

  • Live music at Kidderminster 

  • Evening concerts at Kidderminster on Friday (rock band) and Saturday (Elvis Presley tribute) 

  • Jubilee-themed floral displays at all stations 

Tickets for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee event are on sale now at SVR.CO.UK, and tickets for the Beacon Banquet and evening concerts will be available from 21st April. 

Watch our YouTube video showing the careful work that’s going into creating the ‘purple loco’! And STOP PRESS! Don't miss your chance for an early viewing of the 'purple loco' at Bridgnorth over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend!

 

A mock up of Taw Valley in its new purple livery, original image taken by Ian Murray

 

‘From Railways to Royalty’

A fascinating exhibition of images by leading photographer Jack Boskett is on display at The Engine House, Highley.

Jack’s railway work is often seen in the heritage press, but he’s also one of an elite group of photographers on the ‘royal rota’. With privileged access to these two subject areas, he has selected 75 pictures from the many thousands he’s taken in his 12-year professional career. 

 

“I hope this exhibition will give people inspiration,” explained Jack. “There are quite a few quirky ideas here, and I always say you should never be afraid to push the boundaries with your camera. I like to be creative and come up with something different to the norm.

 

“Something I learnt from my dad, who really was the catalyst in getting me started in photography, was that even when shooting digitally, you should treat it like it’s a film camera. Use each exposure wisely. One good shot is better than 10 mediocre ones!” 

Jack Boskett, with some of the images from his exhibition.jpg

Entry to The Engine House is free, and ‘From Railways to Royalty’ will run through the 2022 season. Copies of all images are available to purchase through The Engine House retail outlet

 

Cancellation of the ‘Step Back to the 1940s’ event

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

Shortly after publication of last month’s Express Points the Railway announced that, with regret, it had cancelled the 1940s-themed weekends later this year. Standard timetabled public services will instead operate on those dates.

SVR (Holdings) chairman Mike Ball said: “Like everyone in the country, we’ve been horrified and saddened at the atrocities that are taking place in Ukraine as the result of Russia’s invasion. We understand the disappointment of those who were looking forward to what, under normal circumstances, is an extremely popular and enjoyable event. We are however doing what we believe is the right thing, and feel that the wartime elements would be inappropriate at this time.”

Head of visitor experience Michael Dunn said: “The Railway has contacted all ticket holders for the event and encouraged them to hold onto their tickets which will be valid for a future date, or they can have a refund.

“The Railway also thanks the event management team and 1940s organising committee for their considerable efforts.” 

 

Mike Ball added: “Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and the Railway will make arrangements for a future fundraising event in aid of the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.”

The SVR has contributed items from stock to a Kidderminster appeal for aid (see March’s Express Points).

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

 

New timetable leaflet will keep passengers on the right lines!

This year the Railway has opted to produce separate timetable and promotional leaflets.


A consequence of the evolving coal supply issues and new loco allocations (see separate news item) has meant a reprint of the timetable leaflet, to ensure passengers can plan their day.


Marketing manager Dan Shorthouse said: “The season started in style on the Open House weekend with a bumper crowd. There was a real buzz and it was wonderful to see so many checking their timetable leaflet for the next stage of their journey, rather than a scrap of A4 printed at home!”


The reprinted timetable includes a statement on the current difficulties in sourcing coal, with an explanation about the increased requirement for diesel-hauled services throughout the year. It also features an updated calendar and the cover star is 4930 Hagley Hall, set to return to service this season.


Dan continued: “Clarity and openness is absolutely vital to ensure our passengers can plan their day with ease whilst understanding why they’ll see a greater presence of our fantastic diesel fleet on normal services.


“Although it wasn’t ideal to have to clear out the first iteration of the timetable, we had to adapt to a fast-changing situation and the reprint will stand us in good stead for the season.”


Shareholders, members and other visitors can collect the new timetable for the 2022 season from the booking office when they visit.


The revised timetables were produced with a low unit cost and the printer has recycled the obsolete copies free of charge.

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A separate 2022 promotional leaflet has been produced. More than 160,000 of these have been distributed across the Midlands, Black Country, Worcestershire, Shropshire and the Cotswolds to encourage people to visit the Railway.


Printed with a matching 4930 illustration on glossy paper – a move away from last year’s more subtle matt finish – it will sit in leaflet racks away from the Railway, aiming to capture the attention of families visiting the area.


If you would like to distribute a small number of promo leaflets to your local club, pub, church, venue or local area, please contact dan.shorthouse@svrlive.com and he can get leaflets to you to ‘spread the word’ about the SVR.

 

RailArt 2022

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The Guild of Railway Artists is holding its prestigious RailArt exhibition until Sunday 1st May 2022, once again at its spiritual home of Kidderminster Railway Museum.

Admission is free, and opening times are 10 am to 5 pm daily (except the closing day, when it will close at 2 pm.) Any changes to these arrangements will be announced on the Guild’s website at https://www.railart.co.uk/.

Kidderminster Railway Museum has hosted the Guild’s exhibitions since 1994. This popular exhibition makes a welcome return, since the 2020 and 2021 exhibitions could not take place because of the pandemic. 

 

 

Visitors can combine their visit with a ride on the Valley as trains run daily until 24th April, and then on 30th April and 1st May.

 

The SVR goes ‘small scale’ for big modelling event this spring 

Following the success of last year’s ‘O Gauge Get Together’ at The Engine House visitor centre, Highley, the Railway is doubling up its model railway weekends with a pair of bumper events planned this year.


The first will first take place on 7th-8th May, bringing together around 30 dioramas from creators across the region, building in a variety of different gauges. There’ll be displays based on many different areas, including the western region Dawlish Warren, Trinity Dock Street Bridge in Hull, Snowy River Railroad in Maine, USA and – closer to home – Halfpenny Green and Norton Heath.

 

Display builders will be on hand to answer questions and inspire visitors to build their own displays. Timetable C will be in operation, offering journeys from both ends of the line to Highley. Please note parking at Highley is extremely limited.

All SVR shops will continue to stock their fantastic array of model railway essentials from Hornby, Bachmann and Peco in all gauges.


Entry is free to holders of valid tickets and passes. A full list of displays and attractions, and a link to purchase travel tickets, is at https://www.svr.co.uk/whats-on/spring-model-railway-weekend/.


Following the spring event, the O Gauge Get Together will return on 24th-25th September. Last year’s event saw hundreds flock to The Engine House to see displays such as Ventor West and Burlish Road alongside a variety of stores, workshops and new technology.


You can watch a video about the 2021 O Gauge Get Together here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XogLR72QJ0s

 

Across the Railway

Celebrity modern traction visits the SVR

The SVR worked with some industry partners to host private ‘corporate days’ over two days in late March, with the operations team taking the lead.

 

This saw some interesting locomotives and modern stock appear on the Railway.

69002 ‘Sir Bob Tiller CM&EE’ is in large logo BR Blue livery and is the second of this ‘new’ class of locomotive to enter service.

 

Prototype 69001 was tested at the Railway last year (see Express Points March 2021).

66796 'The Green Progressor' carries celebrity ’going greener’ colours. The loco was previously in use in mainland Europe, was purchased for use in GB and underwent the necessary conversion works. It has only recently started operations.

These locos also brought HYA ’Cemex’ bogie hopper wagons 371098 and 371112.

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

69002 Bob Tiller CM & EE
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69002 Bob Tiller CM & EE
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66796 The Green Progressor
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Ovoids arrive at the SVR

Preserving history requires adapting to modern times, as head of engineering and Bridgnorth's volunteer shed master Martin White reports:


The 2022 season has started and once again looks as if it is going to be anything but ‘normal’ due to the current coal supply situation. We ended 2021 with approximately 60 tons of coal in our storage bunkers, a deliberate decision as there were already indications that there might be some supply issues early in 2022.


Unfortunately, the situation in Eastern Europe resulted in a rapid escalation of the difficulties in supply. Thankfully, 300 tons of lump coal was sourced, with as much of this secured and delivered to SVR as early as possible. At their maximum, the MPD at Bridgnorth and the loco coal pile at Kidderminster combined can hold about 110-120 tons. So, alternative arrangements have been made, including creating a stockpile at the rear of Kidderminster car park. Conversations have taken place with a number of UK coal suppliers and factors, to determine the availability of supplies of lump coal for the rest of the year. In addition, we are investigating the availability of alternative fuels.


The primary choice is ovoids, a product that some older members will know as ‘briquettes’. Ovoids are a form of compressed coal dust and a binding agent. The opinions gathered from other heritage consumers is that ovoids are a viable product, especially when mixed with lump coal, although careful footplate management is needed.


Deliveries of ovoids have commenced into the stock pile at Kidderminster whilst provisions are being made at Bridgnorth for a second storage bunker to keep ovoids separate from the lump coal. Ovoids are a proven product but new to the SVR, so over the next few weeks, testing will be carried out to establish the best ratio of ovoid to lump coal required for peak locomotive performance. The expectation is that different formulae may be required for different locomotive types.


Another product which is increasingly referenced in the media is ‘eco coal’ or ‘ecoal’. This is another type of compressed fuel which includes a percentage of renewable plant material, typically crushed olive stones. There are multiple different versions of both ovoids and ecoal, a number of which have been trialled in the heritage rail environment, with varying results. Preparations are currently being made for us to conduct our own trials of ecoal on the SVR.


It should be remembered that not all coal is the same. During the opening weekend of the season there were numerous lineside fires, believed to be a direct result of the type of fuel being burned. This was coal from the final deliveries of 2021 (originating from Kazakhstan) which had been observed to produce a large volume of small sparks from locomotive chimneys, which remained glowing for a considerable period of time. Coal from a new source may be discovered to have different properties.


It will be apparent that there are a lot of uncertainties right now. Unfortunately, one thing that is certain is that the cost of coal products has increased significantly since last year.

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

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Wagons loaded with coal in platform at Bridgnorth on 23rd March 2022, waiting to be moved south. Joh
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Welsh Guardsman guards the coal pile at Bridgnorth on 19th March 2022. Peter Hassall
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Pace increases for the Roof and Crane project

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After months of preparation, work at Bridgnorth is accelerating to ensure the shed is cleared and ready for contractors to begin work at the start of May. The remaining jobs include final stripping out of the shed (including the old lighting), erection of scaffolding, and taking delivery of contractors’ cabins.


“The project is now reaching a critical stage,” said volunteer project manager Antony Bartlam. “We have a deadline to meet to clear the shed ready for the contractor and with only just over two weeks to go, there is still plenty to sort. Everything is in place with contractors and materials; in fact some of the materials were ordered over six months ago. I would like to thank all the volunteers who have helped so far. Without their efforts, this project would not be where it is. I’m sure there will be plenty of videos and articles once the works commence on site to keep everyone up to date with progress.”

The arrival of the contractors on May 3rd will see further scaffolding and safety netting put up, ready for stripping the roof the following week. The expectation is that work on the roof will be completed by the end of June, followed by work on the wall cladding through to the completion of the project.


At the same time as work commences on the roof, the crane bases will also be cast. Provided the project meets no obstacles, the installation of the crane is scheduled for 11th July. The necessary steel work will be erected on the Monday and Tuesday, with the intention of lifting the crane itself into place midweek.


Final jobs will then include installation of shed lighting, completion of the wall cladding and the return of the necessary shed contents.

 

Can you hear me?

Hampton Loade is to have a starring role in a new film, directed by Simon Hunter.


Written by Charlotte Radford, who also takes one of the lead roles, ‘Can You Hear Me?’ is a mystery romance set during the First World War, and has been largely filmed in Shropshire.

 

Due for release later this year, the film features respected stage and screen actor Sir John Standing, Peter Facinelli, Matt Barber, and James Cosmo.

 

813 and two toplight carriages were used for the day’s filming, which commenced around 6 am, meaning a red eye start for the locomotive crew, who signed on at 3.30 that morning!

 

According to all involved, the day went very well and by 7 pm the cameras had all been turned off and the locomotive put to bed.

813 and 7714 double heading.  At the delightful station of Hampton Loade on 3rd April 2022

In addition to the income generated by the filming, ‘Can You Hear Me?’ will provide publicity for the SVR - especially as Hampton Loade retained its name for the film – and should also boost tourism to the wider Shropshire area.

Photo: star of the show was ex-Port Talbot Railway/GWR 813. seen here double-heading with 7714 at the delightful station of Hampton Loade on 3rd April 2022. Scott Anderton

 

Getting closer to bridging the gap

Work on the replacement of OWW FB104 Bridge continues at Kidderminster, with good progress on constructing the west pier. Concrete was ‘material of the month’, with much poured for the base and the casting of the pier itself. Meanwhile work on the east side has slowed somewhat due to an ongoing issue with the electrical supply cabinet for the Network Rail points heating, however by the end of the month, the east pier base had also been poured. The contractors are now planning towards lifting the new span in, which, as reported in last month’s Express Points, is expected to place over an overnight possession in May.

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

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Kidderminster footbridge
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Rolling stock news

SVR 46443 Fund – ‘The People’s Engine’

46443 at Bewdley
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46443
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The SVR 46443 Fund is updating its records. The Fund’s Roger Scanlon told Express Points, “We are aware many shareholders have moved since the locomotive was purchased.

 

"Furthermore, we only have a small number of email addresses and wish to correspond via email, rather than incurring costly postal charges and depleting our funds.

“To keep everyone up to date on developments we would be grateful if all Fund members would email 46443fund@svrlive.com with their current email address and any change of postal address.

 

“Alternatively, please send details to the Hon Secretary, SVR 46443 Fund, 18 Vestry Court, Wollaston, Stourbridge, DY8 3SF.”

Ivatt-designed LMR Class 2MT 46443 is nicknamed 'The People's Engine' after the fundraising efforts to purchase the locomotive.

It last operated in 2011 and is currently on display in The Engine House at Highley. These photos will hopefully remind people of the role 46443 has played on the Railway.

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

 

‘Sir Nigel’ on test

As announced in March’s Express Points, Spring Steam Gala guest locomotive LNER ‘A4’ 4498 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ has been undergoing contract testing on the SVR.

Light engine runs were followed by air-braked loaded testing, using its main line support coach and Mark 3 sleeper, along with day coaches currently stabled at the Railway.

The locomotive has had a few minor issues, which is what the testing is designed to uncover. Those who visited the Open House Weekend were able to see the ’A4’ in Bridgnorth MPD works, where some rectification work has been taking place by the loco’s custodians. Subsequently further light engine and loaded testing has taken place.

 

The Railway anticipates all will be well for its appearance at the Spring Steam Gala this month.

Many photographers recorded the testing, as this gallery shows.

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

4498 Sir Nigel Gresley
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4498 Sir Nigel Gresley on test on 28th March 2022. Alan Campbell
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4498 Sir Nigel Gresley
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People

Training to deal with on train emergencies

During the annual shutdown period, a number of guards and travelling ticket inspectors (TTIs) spent a day undergoing training to deal with a variety of emergency situations. The chance of any of these occurring is relatively small, but it’s important that train crew are prepared and ready to act.

“The role of guards and TTIs is very much more than simply waving a flag and checking tickets!” said Kyle Daisley, train crew manager (guards.) “The often unseen role carried out by train crew involves making sure that passengers are safe as well as enjoying their day out.

“Luckily most of the time nothing goes wrong, but if it does then it is important that guards and TTIs know exactly what to do. With that in mind, we developed a series of scenarios including on train fires, medical emergencies, drunk and disorderly passengers and the full evacuation of trains.

“Training days like this build stronger working relationships between the guards and TTIs, and this is paramount to the safe operation of our trains.”

The exercise took place between Kidderminster and Highley. The photographs show staff running through a number of the scenarios. There are plans to include scenario training as a major part of initial training for both guards and TTIs.

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

Emergency training exercise # 1
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Emergency training exercise # 2
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Emergency training exercise # 3
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Emergency training exercise # 4
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Emergency training exercise # 5
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Emergency training exercise # 6
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Emergency training exercise # 7
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Emergency training exercise # 8
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A new face in the infrastructure department

Ian Stokes has joined the Railway as a part-time facilities assistant. Ian is already known to many on the Valley as a regular volunteer at The Engine House in Highley.

 

Head of infrastructure Chris Bond said:

“Ian comes with a background in facilities maintenance and repair, and is a fully qualified electrician. He will take on the multitude of jobs to rectify reported faults across the Railway in a more cost-effective way, with the increasing costs of employing contractors to carry out both reactive and planned facilities maintenance.

“I hope you will join me in welcoming Ian to the wider SVR as he goes about his repair work.”

Please note that Ian will only carry out repairs that have been reported via the FRM 0191 fault reporting form, to ensure the costs are correctly allocated.

Ian Stokes, part-time facilities assistant.jpeg
 

SVR Wolverhampton branch restarts

Hinton Manor ready to head back to Kidderminster.jpg

In December’s Express Points the Wolverhampton branch committee invited expressions of interest in resuming branch meetings in 2022.

The committee are ‘testing the water’ by holding meetings on Mondays 9th May and 13th June (the second Monday of the month.) These will determine the viability of the branch restarting a full programme in September.

Meetings are open to all. Please attend either or both of these meetings as a show of interest.

Meetings are held at the Old Wulfrunians Club and more details are on the branch website at http://www.svr-wolverhampton.org.uk/.

Photo: The branch was the major shareholder in the Hinton Manor Fund, which passed ownership of locomotive 7819 to The SVR Charitable Trust (then called the SVR Rolling Stock Trust). Here is the locomotive in August 2018 returning from static display in the McArthurGlen shopping complex, Swindon

 

Other news

SVR Charitable Trust celebrates donors’ incredible support

As the SVR threw open its doors for the Open House weekend, SVR Charitable Trust staff and trustees also welcomed donors to the GWR 80972 Inspection Saloon (observation carriage.) to thank them for their support.


“The team were delighted to be able to see everyone and thank them in person for their incredible support, particularly through the challenges over the last couple of years,” said the CT’s executive director Shelagh Paterson. “This support has made a huge difference by not only helping to provide emergency funding to prevent the Railway grinding to halt, but also ensuring important initiatives could still proceed, including the restoration of wheelchair buffet carriage 9581, the Heritage Apprenticeship Scheme and the essential crane and new roof at the Motive Power Depot.”


With the Trust’s 10th anniversary approaching, this event provided an opportunity to share the tremendous impact made by the £8.74m raised during this time, and the projects that donors have made possible.

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

 
SVRCT donor event at Open House weekend
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SVRCT donor event at Open House weekend
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SVRCT donor event at Open House weekend
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Reciprocal travel update

The SVR has welcomed the Llangollen Railway back to its reciprocal travel scheme.

Reciprocal travel officer Phil Ralls told Express Points: ‘I’m pleased to welcome them back after their unfortunate recent events. Usual conditions apply with free travel on normal operating days and reduced rate (Llangollen Railway member rate) at galas.

 

"There are the usual exemptions, with no concessions at Santas etc."

 

Details of the reciprocal travel scheme for SVR working or retired working members can be found at: 

https://www.svrlive.com/reciprocal-travel

Photo: GWR 1450, then based on the SVR, visiting Llangollen Railway in March 2015. Photo credit 'Lesbardd', creative commons licence CC BY-SA 4.0. 1450 is currently being overhauled on behalf of its owners at The Flour Mill, Forest of Dean. 

GWR 1450, then based on the SVR, visiting Llangollen Railway in March 2015. Photo credit '
 

Rare bracket signal post returns

Bewdley South bracket signal post has been recently replaced, thanks to £5,000 in donations to the SVR Charitable Trust after the previous post became rotten.

 

 

The signal post is one of hundreds of heritage assets for which the Railway is renowned. This rare survivor from the 1930s features wooden signal arms.

 


The new post, made from African hardwood, is set to be longer-lasting and, despite a number of challenges posed by the weather and equipment availability, hard work ensured it was fitted on time so it would be ready for service in time for spring.

 

 

Chief signalling engineer Paul Marshall said:

 


“The S&T department are very grateful to everyone who supported this project, practically and financially, enabling us to restore this iconic example of GWR signalling."

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

 
Bewdley South bracket signal replacement 2021/2022
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Bewdley South bracket signal replacement 2021/2022
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Bewdley South bracket signal replacement 2021/2022
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Bewdley South bracket signal replacement 2021/2022
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Bewdley South bracket signal replacement 2021/2022
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Falling Sands Viaduct lights up the night

Falling Sands Viaduct lit up the night sky to the rhythm of songs and poems written and performed by young people from Kidderminster and District Youth Trust. It all took place at a special illumination event featuring images of the Railway’s construction and the Victorian navvies who toiled to build it.


The Charitable Trust worked over several weeks with the Youth Trust, which provides activities and clubs for young people in the area. The aim was to inspire their creative writing by sharing historical stories, insights, and facts around the 1879 building of the loop line that connects Bewdley to Kidderminster.


The illumination event was part of an educational programme designed to create a wider understanding of the heritage that’s being preserved with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Executive director of the Charitable Trust Shelagh Paterson said: “Despite freezing temperatures, much shivering and foot stamping, the unique event proved an enjoyable one and it was great to see the youngsters’ work come together in such a vibrant way.”

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

Falling Sands illuminated as part of the NHLF educational grant funded community programme
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Falling Sands illuminated as part of the NHLF educational grant funded community programme
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Falling Sands illuminated as part of the NHLF educational grant funded community programme
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Falling Sands illuminated as part of the NHLF educational grant funded community programme
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Gallery

Our contributing photographers have shared a wealth of images this month, and we thought you'd enjoy seeing more from (and in some cases off!) the Valley. Thank you to the many photographers who support us.

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

46100 Royal Scot
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1 Tamping machine from Trackwork of Doncaster and its very unusual method of unloading
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2 Tamping machine from Trackwork of Doncaster and its very unusual method of unloading
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3 Tamping machine from Trackwork of Doncaster and its very unusual method of unloading
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Tamping machine on 15th March 2022
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7960 Mother's Day afternoon tea 27th March 2022. Lucy Ann Kelly
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Greenly Pacific No. 7 'Typhoon'
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Greenly Pacific No. 7 'Typhoon'
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Greenly Pacific No. 7 'Typhoon'
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BR Mark 1 Corridor Second
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2857
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Hydroshunter H3802 and D821 Greyhound at Kidderminster TMD on 19th March 2022
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Hydroshunter H3802 at Kidderminster TMD on 19th March 2022. Jonathan Dunster
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50007 (as 50034) and 50049 at Hodgehill on way to Wembley on 25th March 2022
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D1062 Western Courier and 33108 at Kidderminster TMD on 19th March 2022. Jonathan Dunster.
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Class 11 No 12099 at Kidderminster TMD on 19th March 2022. Jonathan Dunster
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V1 16th April 2022 edited to remove 43106 from Gala

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A dedicated newsletter for SVR supporters - Branch Lines

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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.