4144 is seen soon after departing Hampton Loade with a Kidderminster bound service on the 10th Aug 2019. By Ian Murray
Welcome to your latest edition of
Welcome to your August edition of Express Points – it’s good to have you with us! The past month has had its fair share of thrills and spills, and this is the place to find out what’s been going on.
We are really sorry for the delay in sending out this months newsletter, unfortunately Simon was taken ill and unable to assist for several weeks. Thankfully he is on the mend now and will be fighting fit again very soon!
The normally SVR-based locomotive Bradley Manor suffered what could prove to be substantial damage whilst out on hire at another heritage railway and we hosted some of Hollywood’s ‘finest’ although everything was very much under wraps. The long-awaited donation wall to recognise ‘helping hands for Falling Sands’ is now open to view and we’ve news from many different corners of the Railway, including Bewdley, the Diesel Depot and the Railwayman’s Arms at Bridgnorth.
Please let us know what’s going on in your part of the SVR. Your news is important, and others want to hear it! Email us your news at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please do include a photograph.
If you’re not a working member, but you are an SVR supporter, shareholder, member or just very interested in knowing more about what makes this wonderful Railway tick, please subscribe to our sister newsletter 'Branch Lines' by emailing
Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors
Picture by Ian Murray
Bradley Manor withdrawn from service
Last month locomotive 7802 Bradley Manor suffered a broken piston rod whilst working on the West Somerset Railway, where it was on hire for the summer season. 7802 is normally based at the SVR, and is owned by the Erlestoke Manor Fund. A spokesman said:
“The loco was hauling the 10.15 passenger train from Bishop’s Lydeard to Minehead when the damage occurred. The WSR dealt with the situation very promptly and recovered the train and failed locomotive to Bishop’s Lydeard.
“Unfortunately the locomotive suffered significant consequential damage and had to be withdrawn from service. Preliminary investigations have taken place and the Fund is now waiting for further examinations to be conducted prior to repair. Both locomotive and tender were moved to Tyseley Locomotive Works last Tuesday for assessment to continue. While waiting for this there is little further to report at this stage. However the EMF is very grateful for the expressions of support received from both individuals and the wider heritage movement over the last few weeks - these have been much appreciated.”
For those who would like to support the EMF, please visit https://www.erlestokemanorfund.co.uk/want-to-help
Meanwhile there has been plenty of other activity that the EMF has been able to continue with, not least a concerted push on with the overhaul of 7812 Erlestoke Manor to maintain its progress towards returning to steam. Regular news updates are posted on both the EMF Facebook group and at www.erlestokemanorfund.co.uk
Photo: In happier times, 7802 can be seen here working the Travelling Post Office set at the Great Central Railway earlier this year ( Stephen Bottrill)
Filming at SVR causes a stir
When the Railway hosted a film crew in mid-July, and partially closed the line to the public, it certainly set tongues wagging and prompted a great deal of speculation. It was a ‘closed set’ situation, but the local press reported sightings of trailers, film crews, and a helicopter.
Ideas ranged from it being 'Sherlock Holmes 3,' a film due for release 2021 starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, to the upcoming 'Enola Holmes'. This will be a film about Sherlock's young sister, and will star Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, and Millie Bobby Brown. There was also a suggestion it could be the next James Bond film.
The SVR remained tight-lipped with a spokesperson only prepared to say, “The filming was part of a standard closed set filming contract. We know very little and it's very secret at this stage, not even the volunteers know about it.”
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see… and whatever it turns out to be, it will undoubtedly raise the profile of the SVR, which can only be good for business!
75069 derailed by fallen tree
The recently restored locomotive No 75069 was partly derailed after crashing into a fallen tree near Bridgnorth on 22 July. It hit the obstruction which had fallen during strong winds between Highley and Hampton Loade, and its front guide wheels were derailed. The engine was not hauling any carriages at the time, and no-one was injured.
The incident led to a partial closure of the line for two days, in order to replace and re-align sleepers and chairs. During this time, services ran between Kidderminster and Highley only, with an amended timetable and a vintage replacement bus service between Upper Arley and Bridgnorth station.
Happily, services returned to normal on 24th July. An initial assessment has revealed a list of damage Martin White’s update from the MPD elsewhere in this issue gives more detail on this. A more detailed assessment will be carried out in due course.
Photo: Keith Wilkinson
Another award at the SVR
Staff at the Railwayman’s Arms at Bridgnorth station were celebrating, after scooping a prestigious award for the quality of their beer.
Manager Samantha Hayward and her team were awarded the Cask Marque accreditation for serving the perfect pint of cask conditioned ale.
Samantha explained: “We are delighted to have won the award, it’s a great endorsement for us. Lots of our customers visit the pub especially for the cask ale and it’s good to know that we are getting the formula just right.”
Backed by 50 of the country’s leading brewers and pub companies, Cask Marque accreditation is only awarded to licensees whose ale passes a series of rigorous independent quality audits of both the beer and the cellar standards.
New equipment in the diesel depot
Generous donations to the SVR Charitable Trust have enabled the funding of a raft of new equipment for the Diesel Depot. As diesel volunteer Roland Bull explains, it’s mostly aimed at making the work there safer and more efficient:
“There’s an auto hook that we can use to lift and move the huge jacks inside the depot. Previously, this would have been a two-person job, with one person climbing up and down ladders to fix the hook to the jack. Now it can all be done by one person, without the need to leave ground level.
“There’s also a pipe threading machine and completely new LED lighting to illuminate the entrance and side of the building. The new equipment is worth around £15,000 and we are very grateful for the support of the Charitable Trust.”
Please donate to enable further support for the diesel depot at https://www.svrtrust.org.uk/index.php?page=Make%20a%20donation
Photo: The new pipe threading equipment
Young SVR volunteer to feature in TV competition
Sixteen-year-old Harun Bashir has been volunteering at the Railway for around two years, and is set to take centre stage as a contestant in the Great Model Railway Challenge on Channel 5.
Harun’s been sworn to secrecy about what happens during the series, but the producers are happy for us to tell readers that he will be appearing as a member of a team called the ‘Titfield Thunderbolts’.
Over six weeks, teams are provided with modelling resources they’ve only previously dreamt of, and are given the chance to create Britain’s ultimate model railways. Each episode explores a theme which the teams will interpret in the most exciting and unexpected ways possible. Each programme will culminate in a classic ‘reveal’ of these created worlds, before the judges scrutinise the layouts, to determine the victorious team.
The next series is provisionally scheduled to start on Friday 30th August, but the production company was not able to confirm when Harun's episode will air.
Thank you from Kidderminster station staff
Kidderminster station master Geoff Smith and assistant station master Roger Panter have asked Express Points to pass on their thanks to everyone who pitched in to help after this year’s 1940s big band show evenings:
“We would like to express our sincere thanks to the volunteers, some of whom we didn’t even recognise, who lent a hand at the conclusion of the two Saturday night events, clearing the platforms of seats, litter, plastic glasses and bottles. This meant we could use the platforms the next morning. On both occasions the mess was cleared away in a very quick and orderly fashion, and we were extremely grateful. We were able to leave for home earlier than anticipated, after what were two very successful evenings.”
Photo: Ken Witherow
Bewdley bus rally
Station master James Pearson is reminding staff about the parking restrictions that will be in place at Bewdley during the bus rally event, which takes place on Sunday 1 September. James advises:
“The event will be using the whole of the main car park, the drive and the bottom car park. This year it is expected that up to 25 buses will be attending.
“Should you wish to park your vehicle at the station during the evening or overnight before the event, we shall require you to park in the yard (not to obstruct emergency access) or in the station forecourt where space allows.
“Any staff wishing to park at the station on the day of the event should arrive as early as possible and make use of the station forecourt or yard where space allows. The Bewdley School & Sixth Form Centre on Stourport Road will also be available for staff and public parking.
“Should you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you in advance for your co-operation. ”
Good news, ‘The Pig’ is back! Bad news, 75069 is out of traffic
Volunteer shed master Martin White has this month’s update from Bridgnorth MPD
After a prolonged period of valve & piston work, 43106 has returned to traffic. Some light engine test runs towards the end of July revealed that a few adjustments were necessary. These were carried out and a loaded test run on 1 August resulted in the locomotive formally rejoining the operating fleet on Friday 2 August. Coincidentally, this was 51 years exactly since its arrival on SVR. It’s interesting to consider that the loco had 17 years of service on British Railways and has now been in private ownership, based on SVR, for three times as long.
The return of 43106 is welcome good news following the previous week’s bad news. Whilst running light engine from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster on Monday 22 July, 75069 collided with a large tree which had fallen across the line between Hampton Loade and Country Park Halt. The leading bogie wheelset was de-railed and some damage resulted to the trackwork. On the locomotive itself, in addition to the derailed wheelset, considerable damage was inflicted on the front footsteps, guard irons, lower running plate grab handles, right hand cylinder drain cocks, steam heat pipework and wheel flats on the main driving wheels, arising from the loco sliding during a heavy brake application ahead of the collision. A full and more detailed assessment of the loco is to be undertaken following which a plan for repair can be determined.
With the work on 43106 already being just a few days from completion, the running maintenance team focused their attention on completing that work and getting the loco back into traffic, rather than assessing the damage to 75069, which will at best take a few weeks to rectify.
Elsewhere on the running fleet, 2857 has successfully passed its annual boiler insurance examination. Some work on the firebox was carried out ahead of the exam, as it was known that there were some rivets in the rear corners that required attention. All of this was scheduled and completed in time for the loco to feature in the filming work which took place on the south end of the railway in the middle of July.
Now we are in the main steam running season when a minimum of three steam locomotives are required every day and as many as five, or even six, being used if there are charters, footplate experience trips and loco swaps scheduled. Boiler washouts and running repairs are fitted in around these and hence it’s a very busy time. Behind the scenes, all sorts of activities have to take place just to keep the works operating. During the last few months, annual PAT testing of electrical equipment, six monthly insurance inspections of lifting gear, maintenance and repairs of water treatment plants, JCB, fork trucks, etc and other essential tasks have all needed to be fitted in around the loco work.
As I often say, there is never a dull moment in the MPD and works.
Volunteers needed for Bridgnorth station
You have a good working knowledge of the SVR and its history, and the way that railways and steam locomotives work. You can talk about the Railway’s history and the role that Bridgnorth station has played. You could lead a site tour, pointing out original features and where things have changed – including the coal staithes and the tunnel – and explaining why our main station building is the only listed structure on the Railway.
You might be interested in training to be a platform inspector, and thus be qualified to despatch our passenger trains.
You will be good with a screwdriver, or maybe a paint brush, trowel or a hammer. Working with our Tuesday or Saturday gang, you’ll assist in construction and maintenance around the whole station site. You’re a practical person who will derive pleasure from standing back with your team mates with pride to admire a job well done.
If you’re interested in either of these roles, please contact Barry Moreton at the volunteer liaison office on 01299 406507 or email email@example.com
More recollections of ’Ratbag’
Last month’s article looking at how 6960 Raveningham Hall got its nickname of ‘Ratbag’ has prompted one reader to get in touch. Volunteer Simon Marshall says he was amused by Martin White's description of Raveningham Hall, which brought back several memories:
“Martin is right, it was the non-authentic approach to 6960’s apparently rushed restoration which fitted so ill with the SVR's high standards. Other sources of annoyance were a bell on the front, à la King George V, a weird shade of green paint with a hint of turquoise in it, the number plate brackets still in position on the smoke box door despite it being supposedly in GWR livery, and the front buffer beam decked out in numbers in the same font as the cabside cast number plates - not the correct sans-serif style, and an error I have seen on other preserved locos.
“It also had a green running plate which was wrong for GWR livery. As a compromise the owner then allowed the SVR to paint it in very early BR green livery, with 'BRITISH RAILWAYS' on the tender, for which the green running plate was correct. However, he then insisted on fitting a cast brass smoke box number plate, so we SVR perfectionists were still frustrated!
“There may be other things people can remember, but for all that it didn't half GO! We could forgive it an awful lot once we had found that out!”
Photo: On 13 July 2019, 6960 crosses Oldbury Viaduct with a footplate experience (Ian Murray)
Many Bridgnorth based volunteers will remember the names John and Val Pedrick, and will further recall that John was station caretaker with Val volunteering with on train buffet. Due to health issues, Val transferred her volunteer expertise to Bridgnorth booking office and subsequently retired from active service about three years ago. However Val's interest in the Severn Valley Railway was maintained and with a fellow local historian she used her considerable professional expertise to complete a history of the early Severn Valley Railway with particular reference to Bridgnorth. The book is yet to be published. Sadly Val passed away recently, and we send condolences to her family. Barry Moreton, VLO
Review of ‘Railway Day Trips’ by Julian Holland
Freda Griffith reviews this popular Collins book, first published in 2017 and now in its second edition.
This handy book helps you plan and discover 160 classic train journeys around Britain. The front cover shows the preserved ex-LNER Class ‘A3’ 4-6-2 No 60103 Flying Scotsman as it exits Bowshank Tunnel on the Borders Railway. This beautiful photograph is just the beginning of many well-placed pictures throughout the book, some of which are railway and locomotive-based for the enthusiasts to admire, while others are scenes of the various locations recommended as destinations for your railway day trip.
A handy map on the back cover gives you an idea of all the journeys that are described in the book. This map is repeated inside on the first few pages in more detail so that you can find the relevant page number for your day trip and see nearby routes that might tempt you to more than one outing. The comprehensive contents pages show the book is organised by general British areas (for example Central England or West Country) and would help you plan several routes in conjunction with each other, making if you wished, quite an extensive series of railway journeys using mainline and heritage routes to cover most of the British Isles mainland.
Within the pages of this useful book (104 to be exact) you will find the planned day trip that uses the Severn Valley Railway to complete a journey from Birmingham Snow Hill to Bridgnorth. Here the author manages to encapsulate Severn Valley Railway’s unique way of combining nostalgia, through recognition of the heritage they manage, with a thoroughly modern tourist attraction and functioning transport link.
What I most appreciate about this book is the combination of mainline and heritage routes that benefits everyone and encourages complete rail travel rather than just seeing Severn Valley Railway as an ‘attraction’ to be driven to in a car and used like a museum. After using this book to try the SVR as a continuation of the mainline, I am already thumbing through the pages to discover other gems and to reach out to an area I never dreamt I would discover using rail, and all within a single day!
Cover price £14.99, but ‘The Works’ are currently selling at a hugely discounted £5!
Donation wall is ready
The Charitable Trust has announced the opening of the SVR’s donation wall, in recognition of the thousands of contributions made to its ‘helping hands for Falling Sands’ appeal. The wall has been manufactured locally and displays nearly 3,000 names. The Trust is writing to everyone who donated to let them know it is ready for inspection as well as posting announcements on SVR social media platforms. The Trust’s Lesley Carr explained more:
“The wall has been installed on the outside of The Engine House at Highley, facing out to the track. At 23 metres long and 2.5 metres high, and containing seven arches just like Falling Sands Viaduct itself, it’s going to have considerable visual impact, and is a fitting testament to the determination that exists to save an essential part of the Railway’s infrastructure.
“This is about recognising the generosity of supporters who contributed a total of £397,000 towards restoring the viaduct between Kidderminster and the rest of the line. The success of the ‘helping hands’ appeal played an important part in unlocking a further £853,000 of grant funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who got behind our campaign.”
Working on the restoration of the viaduct will begin early next year, and an exciting programme of associated activities and educational events is already underway. Although all the funding for the viaduct’s restoration has been secured, more is urgently needed for other SVR projects. Please visit https://www.svrtrust.org.uk/index.php?page=Make%20a%20donation to donate.
Online shopping can raise funds for SVR
Volunteer Jim Seaton got in touch to ask if we would help him highlight a very easy way of raising funds for the SVR Charitable Trust. Recently, Jim booked a hotel room using the EasyFundraising website, and raised nearly £5 for the Charitable Trust without it costing him an extra penny. Over to Jim:
“if you shop through EasyFundraising, using one of the hundreds of online retailers, insurance and travel companies that have signed up to their scheme, you can choose to have donations made to the charity of your choice whenever you spend. Of course, as a keen SVR supporter, I nominated the SVR Charitable Trust, and when I booked a couple of nights at a Travelodge, EasyFundraising donated £4.75 without it costing me anything!
“There are a surprising number of companies that take part – eBay, Argos, Sainsburys, Amazon, M&S and John Lewis to name but a few – and if more of us did this, it could really pay dividends to the Railway.
“Imagine, if everyone who’s an SVR member made a similar booking to mine, we’d raise almost £60,000 in one go! Plus, when I made my transaction, I was given a link to refer other people. If you use this to sign up as a new user, then a bonus £5 will go to the Charitable Trust, on top of what you ‘earn’ for the charity with your own transaction. “
The link to use for the referral bonus donation offer is: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/invite/8FAAJY
Falling Sands Viaduct activities are underway!
A travelling exhibition in a Stove R carriage, a build your own viaduct challenge at The Engine House and a project to record people’s memories of the SVR are just some of the activities taking place over the next two years as part of the Falling Sands Viaduct (FSV) project.
From early January 2020, when phase 1 of the restoration work gets underway, right up until May 2021 there will be lots of exciting opportunities for people to get involved as volunteers, visitors and participants. The Charitable Trust’s Laura Hines, responsible for the events and activities programme, explains more:
“Recently, we hosted a class from Sutton Park Community School, who took part in a session with our wonderful education team on site at Falling Sands. They learnt about the lives of the men who built the bridge, the types of tools that were used and how children of their age and younger would have been involved. They also sketched and photographed the viaduct and surrounding area, creating artwork that will feature in the first FSV exhibition at The Engine House this September. Make sure you don’t miss it!
“Then, in the autumn, we’ll be kicking off both the FSV research project and the SVR memories oral history project. These mini-projects will give volunteers the chance to learn new skills, uncover untold stories about the SVR and be part of something that both present and future generations can treasure and enjoy.
“I’m really keen to hear from anyone who’d like to get involved or who has a general question about any of the projects.”
Contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07539 366820
Photo: Helen Russell and Paul Hallett from the education team working with a class from Sutton Park Community Primary School at Falling Sands Viaduct (Laura Hines)
A facelift for Kidderminster’s sleeper car
Volunteers have recently finished painting one side of this Charitable Trust-owned coach No 9084 which resides at Kidderminster. It’s used as sleeping accommodation for volunteers who come to work at the Railway from often considerable distances. Soon, the coach will be turned so that the other side can receive the same restorative treatment.
Please donate to help fund more restoration projects at https://www.svrtrust.org.uk/index.php…
Photo: Ronan O’Brien
Beautiful craftsmanship at Bewdley
The SVR’s resident stonemason Philip Chatfield continues to work his magic around Bewdley station. He’s currently working on a centre lintel for the bay window in the house to the right of the ticket office entry. The photo shows how he has been working from a carefully created paper plan, to transfer a GWR roundel onto the stone, using traditional carving methods. Everything takes place on site, as Philip explains:
“I often attract quite a crowd as I’m working, and I think both staff and the general public like to watch as they don’t get to see this sort of work done these days. I use simple hand tools, just a hammer and chisel, pencil and card. I take lots of joy from the work. On paper, I draw to full scale exactly what I’ll be carving – in this case the GWR roundel – and then I work from the drawing. I also carve by eye as well, it’s really quite simple.”
The lintel is now finished, and Philip is waiting for a crane to lift the stonework into place across the top of the window.
Photo: Philip Chatfield
Art auction to raise funds for SVR
Paintings by the late Douglas Phillips, including some fine steam railway examples, are on exhibition at St George’s Hall café in Bewdley, prior to an auction on Saturday 7 September at 5.30pm. The collection also includes work by Douglas’s wife Florence, and a painting by Roland Spencer-Ford. Entry is free.
The event is the brainchild of Douglas’s daughter, Hazel Phillips, who is kindly sharing the proceeds from the auction between the SVR Charitable Trust and the Bewdley-based organisation ‘Art and Chips’.
As well as a number of railway-themed paintings, there are landscapes, animals and still life subjects, and some items relating to the famous railway artist Thomas Cuneo, including a 1984 auction programme, signed by the man himself.
Hazel said: ”My father, who would be 100 if he were alive today, spent half of his life painting. Many people enjoyed and bought his work. He would have been delighted to know that his work was being auctioned to raise money for worthwhile causes. He was a life member of the Severn Valley Railway.”
There are further details and an online auction catalogue at https://thehall-bewdley.org.uk/live/108-auction-of-paintings-for-bewdley-charities . The auction takes place in St George’s Hall, Bewdley between 5.30 and 7.30pm on Saturday, 7 September.
Photo: Hazel Phillips with one of her late father’s railway paintings
MEMBERS OF THE RECIPROCAL TRAVEL SCHEME
AVON VALLEY RAILWAY NORTH YORK MOORS RLY
BLUEBELL RAILWAY RAVENGLASS & ESKDALE RLY
BO’NESS & KINNEIL RLY SEATON TRAMWAY
BODMIN & WENFORD RLY SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY
DEAN FOREST RAILWAY SPA VALLEY RAILWAY
EAST LANCS RAILWAY STRATHSPEY RAILWAY
EMBSAY & BOLTON ABBEY RLY SWANAGE RAILWAY
GLOUCS & WARKS RLY TALLYLLYN RAILWAY
GREAT CENTRAL RLY VOLKS ELECTRIC RAILWAY
GWILI RAILWAY WENSLEYDALE RAILWAY
ISLE OF WIGHT STEAM RLY
KEIGHLEY & WORTH RLY
KENT & EAST SUSSEX RLY
LAKESIDE & HAVERTHWAITE RLY
LEIGHTON BUZZARD RAILWAY
MID HANTS RLY (WATERCRESS)
MID NORFOLK RAILWAY
NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY
Wensleydale Railway is back in the travel scheme
The SVR’s reciprocal travel officer Philip Ralls would like to highlight some good news to working members:
“I'm pleased to announce that following a change of circumstances at Wensleydale Railway, they have agreed to rejoin our reciprocal travel scheme as from 1st August 2019.
“The normal conditions apply, namely free day rover 'standard' class travel on the normal timetable days, but no concessions at special or gala events. These conditions also apply to their own working members. When you visit, you’ll need to go to a booking office with you working member’s pass, in order to obtain a free ticket.
Click here for a full list of members of the reciprocal travel scheme
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Dedicated Newsletter for SVR Supporters - Branch Lines
A monthly newsletter dedicated to SVR Supporters has been created, this will allow Express Points to be directed solely to our Working Members, content will be appropriate and different to that of Branch Lines.
CLICK HERE for the latest edition of Branch Lines.
If you're a Supporter of the SVR, but not a Working Member then please email BranchLines@svrlive.com to be added to the distribution list
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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.