50035 approaches Little Rock from the south with the 14:45 from Kidderminster on the 6th June 2017 - By Ian Murray
Welcome to your latest edition of
The Railway is positively buzzing with activity; whether it’s a happening with a paintbrush, a trowel or a welding torch, we’re certainly having a busy summer. This edition of Express Points looks at the care and attention going into getting the brickwork just right for the new Bridgnorth building, and we hear about the FAQ page that’s been set up for people who want to know more about the Share Offer in support of the Bridgnorth Project before they commit to buying. There’s news from the Charitable Trust about a new source of funding for the Heritage Skills Training Academy and various other reports from across the SVR.
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Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors
Picture by Ian Murray
Bridgnorth: Brick by brick
As the walls continue to grow at the Bridgnorth Development site, Infrastructure Manager Chris Bond explains how the bricklayers are taking a great deal of care to get things as authentic as possible, whilst still meeting modern building regulations:
“We have to remember that originally the GWR would invariably have built a nine-inch solid wall, without the insulating cavity that’s required nowadays. They created the traditional English Bond pattern by laying alternate rows of ‘stretchers’, with the long side facing out, and ‘headers’, with the short end facing out.
“When we build a modern cavity wall, the stretcher row is straightforward, but when it comes to the header rows, we have to cut every brick in half so they don’t fill the cavity. We’ve had to cut around 13,000 bricks, and the project team are determined to make sure that this is done to the highest standards. We’re devoting time and care to this technical challenge to make sure the finished product is as close to GWR practice as possible.”
Another sign of progress has been the erection of scaffolding on the platform elevation in readiness to work upwards, once the block work behind has been tied in.
Furthermore, contractors are now preparing the way for all the services to be bought up to the area outside the station. They’ve excavated a quantity of spoil in readiness for the trench that will bring the underground ducts up alongside the Donkey Gallop. At the same time, they have extended underground ducts up to the bottom of the Donkey Gallop from the road, and made arrangements with the relevant utility companies to set dates for the provision of their services up to their terminating points.
See our separate article for news on how the Share Offer, in support of the Bridgnorth Development project, is progressing.
Questions about the Share Offer? The answers are now online
As the 2016 Share Offer enters its final three months, and hovers tantalisingly close to the £1.5 million mark, the Railway has developed a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page on its website. This comes in response to queries from people interested in buying shares, and is written by volunteers involved with the Bridgnorth Development.
Tony Bending is one of the team marketing the share offer, and explains why they decided to compile the FAQs:
“We have received almost 3,000 web enquiries which is very encouraging, and 20 per cent have already converted to share sales. Along with our existing shareholders and members these have helped to take our current fundraising tally to just under £1,500,000, which will enable us to complete the new refreshment room and refurbish the existing station building.
“We would, however, really like to achieve our target of £2,500,000 so that the second phase of the Bridgnorth project, including the installation of a turntable, can become a reality.
“The Share Offer must close on 31st October and it’s apparent that some potential purchasers want to know more before they buy, so we’ve created a list of questions and answers on our website for all to see. And, of course, we are more than happy for anyone to call us on 01562 757900 should they wish.” Follow this link to the Bridgnorth Share Offer page: http://www.svr.co.uk/ShareOffer1.aspx where the FAQs are hosted.
The answers will be expanded over the coming weeks as required if other questions are raised by potential shareholders.
Grant funding boost for the Heritage Skills Training Academy
There’s been great news recently for the Heritage Skills Training Academy, and for one apprentice in particular. The Charitable Trust has secured a generous donation of £9,500 from the Hendy and Pendle Charitable Trust towards the costs of training 19-year-old George Brogan.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, who founded the Hendy and Pendle Charitable Trust, said he and his fellow trustee Sue Pendle are extremely enthusiastic about this opportunity to get involved with the Railway:
“The SVR’s scheme fits very well within our Trust’s remit. As well as regular progress reports from the Academy, we get opportunities to visit the Railway and see for ourselves how the apprentices are getting on.”
Just such an occasion happened recently, when Sir Peter came to Kidderminster as part of a wider visit to the SVR. He spent time chatting to George, who is coming to the end of his second year of apprenticeship and is currently on placement at C&W Mechanical. As the chairman of Network Rail, Sir Peter took great interest in the detail of the training programme that George and his fellow apprentices are undergoing, as George himself explains:
“Sir Peter had lots of questions about my training, and said it’s important to invest in apprentices, so that heritage rail has a future. It’s good to know that as well as the SVR supporting my training, there’s an extra seal of approval from an outside organisation too.”
(Photo by Bob Sweet)
Ever wondered why canvas roofs are painted white?
Volunteers and staff at Kidderminster Carriage & Wagon finished off the last of four coats of paint this week on the canvas roof of 24105. It’s all part of an ongoing major overhaul programme for the Gresley-designed teak carriage, as paint shop supervisor (and Charitable Trust chairman) Hugh McQuade explains:
“We use bitumen paint rather than gloss because it can stretch and shrink with the frequent British temperature changes. Traditionally, the LNER would have used white lead paint. The white colour shows up any nicks or cracks, making them easier to detect and monitor.
“People often ask why white paint is used, when something like grey would hide the inevitable dirt rather better. In fact, the Great Western Railway used red paint until the early 1900s, and then switched to white like everyone else. I suspect that using white was more of an image thing than anything else. LNER would have been keen to outdo rival railway companies, with the smartest presentation for coaches that they could muster!”
Whilst the roof canvas itself should last for up to 40 years, C&W will apply a fresh coat of white paint to each of the Gresley carriage roofs once every five years.
LNER Gresley Tourist Open Third (TTO) No 24105 is owned by the SVR Charitable Trust and is one of the Railway’s fleet of wheelchair-accessible coaches.
Photograph: Apprentice Emma Harrison and Paul Brunet, who is on work experience from his engineering company in France, painting 24105. By Richard Herington
‘Peep’ pulls in the punters
Hundreds of visitors got the chance to get up close to many of the restoration projects currently underway at the Railway on Saturday 15th July, at the annual ‘Peep Behind the Scenes’ event.
There were opportunities to see rolling stock restoration projects at Kidderminster, Bewdley and Bridgnorth, and to see inside various signal boxes. Not to mention the sight of a goods train hauled by 813!
This year, proceeds from the sale of entry wristbands went to the Charitable Trust, raising well over £2,500. Many visitors also made donations directly to individual projects on the day.
The Trust’s Shelagh Paterson was very pleased with how things went:
“The ‘Peep’ event was a great event all round, and on behalf of the Charitable Trust, I would like to thank the many volunteers who were involved in putting on such an exciting day for visitors. Not only did hundreds of people gain a fascinating insight into the skill and dedication that are needed to keep the SVR rolling, but we’ve also raised a significant amount of money that will go towards projects at the Railway.”
Social media during the event was buzzing, and here’s a flavour of some of the reviews left by visitors: “very hands on”, “very knowledgeable and friendly staff”, “thank you for a very warm welcome”, “an excellent day out.”
Vacancy for Stations Manager
The Railway is inviting applications for the post of Stations Manager. Duties include:
· Ensuring the safe operation of all our stations in line with the Rule Book
· Working closely with all Station Masters, acting as a mentor to each of them
· Regularly reviewing and maintaining training of safety critical standards
· Commissioning and undertaking enquiries into disciplinary procedures as necessary within the department, and being available to sit on a board of inquiry panel for other departments.
· Taking responsibility for the administration and record keeping of station staff, ensuring data protection policy is observed at all times
· Aiming to provide the department with sufficiently qualified personnel for the needs of the company
You will need to be able to communicate clearly, accurately and politely with members of the public, whether or not they are passengers, as well as with all members of SVR staff. The ideal candidate will have previous station supervision experience and/or operational experience. The ability to manage staff is essential. Some of the duties performed by the Stations Manager are safety critical and subject to qualification and periodic requalification, in accordance with the SVR Rules and Regulations. The successful candidate will be expected to maintain a high standard of adherence to the Rules and Regulations, and to assist other staff in achieving the same.
If you are interested in the above position please send a letter of application for the attention of Tammy Ferris at Severn Valley Railway, Number One Comberton Place, Kidderminster, DY10 1QR or email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 18th August 2017.
Steam on the Road event Sat 12th and Sun 13th August
If you’re not on duty next weekend, pop along for something a little different at the Steam on the Road event. In addition to the traction engines, we’ll also be hosting a number of road steam vehicles at Kidderminster for our Steam on the Road event.
There’ll be a traction engine ‘play pen’ in the car park and up to 10 full-size and two miniature engines on display and in operation.
Highlights include a Saturday road run through Kidderminster, culminating with a climb up the hill to the station, the ‘Plimsoll’, a Land Rover that operates on the road AND on the rails, a Land Rover Series 1 gathering at Highley on the Saturday, and Sunday brakes van rides at Kidderminster between 10.30 and 4.30 for a donation.
New wheelchair ramps in place
A new set of lightweight wheelchair ramps has been installed across the Railway’s wheelchair accessible fleet of carriages, and will replace the old-style wheeled ramps for general use.
The Railway has bought these as part of a larger project to improve wheelchair accessibility, funded by a grant from the Department for Transport to the SVR Charitable Trust.
A training and familiarisation programme in underway, so that all relevant staff can become familiar with the ramps, which are simple to use. It is important that the ramps are correctly positioned with the top bent section firmly on the carriage doorway bottom ledge.
The SVR’s safety advisor, Mel Cook, has provided a set of instructions for staff in how to use the ramps correctly and has issued this across the Railway in an NBI.
All station masters have been asked to thoroughly check the old-style wheeled ramps and to dispose of any that are rusted or worn. Those that are in acceptable condition will be retained as spares.
Discount for SVR colleagues at Specsavers Bridgnorth
The Bridgnorth branch of Specsavers is offering eye tests to Severn Valley Railway colleagues for the discounted price of £5 (a saving of £17 on the usual fee), as well as a 10% discount on their 2-4-1 spectacle promotion. Specsavers have confirmed that the voucher applies to all employees and volunteers from any part of the SVR, even though it refers to ‘employees within Bridgnorth town’. The voucher expires on 31 December 2017.
Remember as an SVR Working Member there are a number of benefits available, please CLICK HERE for details.
Please note that other opticians and other branches of Specsavers are available. Promoting this discount to colleagues does not endorse this retailer, their services or products or suggest any partnership or sponsorship between them and the SVR.
Reciprocal travel for our Working Members
Have you checked out the list of heritage railways that offer free or discounted travel to SVR working members? Please visit http://www.svrlive.com/reciprocal-travel for full details.
Craftsmanship set in stone at Bewdley
Stonemason Philip Chatfield is making good progress with the renovation work at Bewdley, as this photograph from Assistant Station Master Dai Phillips shows.
Philip has carried out extensive work to the front bay of the Signals & Telecoms building, after which the window itself has been fitted. He’s also replaced the sills below the front booking office windows, and will continue replacing further worn stonework where necessary.
Vacancies at the Railway
There are usually a number of vacancies for paid staff at the SVR and you can find full details at http://www.svr.co.uk/Employment.aspx Please let friends and family know about these opportunities.
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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 either Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) PLC. which owns the Severn Valley Railway, or Severn Valley Railway Company Limited, the members of which are responsible for its operation.