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December 2022

The dawn breaks on 2857 at Bewdley MPD on 3rd December 2022. Matt Fielding.jpg
The dawn breaks on GWR 2-8-0 No 2857 at Bewdley MPD on 3rd December 2022. The locomotive will retire from service in January 2023, as its boiler 'ticket' will expire. Matt Fielding

Welcome to your latest edition of Express Points!

Across the SVR the sleigh bells are ringing, and there’s definite festive spirit in the air! The Christmas season is now well underway and that means lots of hard work for volunteers and plenty of smiles from visitors.


Whilst there’s a timely pointer from the managing director towards some tough times expected next year, there’s also a great deal to celebrate at the Railway right now; a gold engineering medal for one of our apprentices, the return of 7812 ‘Erlestoke Manor’, a James Bond-style helicopter demo on our line and preparations for the Bridgnorth Yard relaying project lining up nicely.

Elsewhere in your festive December edition of Express Points, you’ll find news from all corners of the Railway, including the Junior Club, the permanent way team and Falling Sands Viaduct, where a plaque now commemorates the 10 Victorian men who died building the original line. Plus, we uncover (quite literally) the marks of carriage builders from the 1950s, and look at the busy life of a porter signalman 100 years ago.

One of our readers took the time to get in touch after last month's edition. Neil Ewart wrote, “Congratulations on the latest newsletter. Superb production and very informative. In these tricky times skilful marketing and good communications are essential to survive and SVR are amongst the best at both.” Thank you Neil, and thank you to everyone who contributes to making Express Points such a vibrant reflection of life at the SVR.

Whatever your role at the Railway over the Christmas season, we hope it goes well. From the Express Points team, merry Christmas and a peaceful new year. All the very best for 2023!


Lesley and Patrick, co-editors

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

Next edition Thursday 12th January

What's new?

Looking ahead to 2023 – a message from Helen Smith

75069 on a Steam in Lights service at Crossing Cottage 19th November 2022. John Sherratt.j

With the Christmas season now well underway, managing director Helen Smith pays tribute to the dedication of people across the Railway who are making it all happen. And whilst no one truly knows what 2023 has in store, Helen’s determined that the SVR will face it with gusto: 

It’s been an absolute pleasure to see the joy on the faces of our visitors so far this festive season.


As always, we’ve pulled out all the stops for our Christmas services and we’re getting plenty of rave reviews and positive comments. Thank you for playing your part in creating the magic for our visitors.

Yes, 2022 has been a tough year for us all. Not many organisations are finding things easy at the moment, and we’re no different. I continue to be overwhelmed by the support and resilience shown by our staff and volunteers.

I look back with pride at the journey that we have all endured together in the three years that I’ve been at the Railway; to receive national recognition earlier this year with the Visit England award for Resilience and Innovation really was the icing on the cake.

To be absolutely up front about what lies ahead – we’re expecting 2023 to be as challenging and potentially even more difficult than 2022. Already we’ve put in place a range of stringent cost-saving exercises across the Railway. By doing this, we’ve been able to keep our costs near to the original budget, even though we’re seeing continually rising prices for essential goods and services. Across the Railway, there’s no area or activity that is untouched by spiralling costs.

So, next year, as the cost-of-living crisis really hits home for people, we know that our visitors will need to see the value they’re getting when they choose to spend their money with the Railway. We need to improve quality across all the services we offer. We must strive for excellence in service delivery, with a better welcome, food, retail products and more events. In short, we need to keep producing the inspirational backdrop for our visitors to create unforgettable memories here at the Severn Valley Railway.

As well as generously giving your time and hard work, there’s something else you can do to help. Please, bring your friends and family to visit the Railway! More than ever we need you to spread the word, and bring new visitors. Our post-Christmas festive services would be a great place to start, and when we reopen in early March, we’ll have plenty of special events to choose from, alongside the traditional day out on the line. As a working member, you can be one of the SVR’s best ambassadors – please do tell everyone you can how wonderful the Severn Valley Railway is!

I’d like to wish you a very merry Christmas and send my very best for 2023. 

Photo: 75069 on a Steam in Lights service at Crossing Cottage 19th November 2022. John Sherratt

Looking ahead to 2023

SVR apprentice wins gold medal in national skills competition

One of the Railway’s heritage engineering apprentices has scooped a gold medal in the prestigious WorldSkills UK competition.

Twenty-two-year-old Jack Kerswill is based at the boiler shop in Bridgnorth, and competed in the construction metalwork category.


Before gaining his place in the finals of the competition, he had to undergo a seven-month process of regional heats and intensive training.  

“I’m really happy at how far I’ve come,” said Jack on hearing of his success. “It’s been a long road getting here. The help and support from colleagues along the way has been invaluable, and winning the gold medal makes it all worthwhile.

“The two days of the finals were quite nerve-wracking, but at the same time I enjoyed the pressure of competing alongside others. Our task was to produce four construction metalwork modules, which all came together to make a small stove. This tested us on a range of skills, such as oxyacetylene cutting, welding and using tools such as guillotines and angle grinders.

“We were given a basic set of plates to mark out, cut out and then find an efficient way of clamping it all together, ready for welding, all the time bearing in mind the tight tolerances you were being judged on.” 


Jack is three years into his four-year apprenticeship as a boilersmith with the SVR. He attends a day-release course at Dudley College in the West Midlands.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Jack,” said Duncan Ballard, head of steam engineering. “He’s a shining example of someone who’s not only extremely talented, but is also prepared to work hard for what he wants to achieve. With young people like him coming into the heritage sector, we know that the future of our locomotives and rolling stock is going to be in good hands.”

The SVR has a number of young people within its pioneering Heritage Apprenticeship Scheme. This was established to ensure the continuation of the specialised skills that are needed to overhaul and maintain the Railway’s fleet of steam locomotives and heritage carriages. You can read more at

Jack and Duncan both feature in the SVR’s recently-released YouTube film that takes you behind the doors of the Bridgnorth boiler shop.


Click on the image above to watch it. 

SVR apprentice wins gold medal

Additional support for senior leadership team

Gus Dunster. Credit Ted Dunster.png

Well-known volunteer and deputy chairman of SVR (Holdings) Plc, Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster, has been assisting the Railway more regularly since the start of this month. 


Having retired from the ‘big railway’ in early November after a career of 36 years in operations, engineering and safety management, Gus will be working with managing director Helen Smith and chairman Mike Ball in particular, as they seek to safeguard the future of the Railway. 


Reflecting on the size of the challenges facing the SVR, Gus said, “After emerging from the pandemic,  with high inflation driving utility and materials prices ever higher, coupled with the reduction in people’s disposable income, it is clear that all visitor attractions are facing tough times.

“For the survival of the SVR, we need to look carefully at what we are doing to manage costs responsibly and also seek to diversify and broaden our commercial activities as far as possible. I hope to be able to use my experience and network of industry contacts to help the Railway more than I could previously, now that I have more time available.” 


Gus has been a volunteer on railway since 1992 and a director on the Holdings board since 2010. He lives in Solihull and is married to Christine with two sons; Ted aged 17 who is also an SVR volunteer and Riley aged 11, who is very eager to follow in his father’s and brother’s footsteps! 

Photo: Gus Dunster. Credit: Ted Dunster

Additional support for senior leadership team

'Erlestoke Manor' returns!

After a five-year overhaul, extended because of Covid-19, GWR 7812 ‘Erlestoke Manor’ returned to SVR metals last Thursday, 2nd December.  

Since Express Points published last month, 7812’s progress has advanced rapidly. The in-steam boiler insurance examination took place on 15th November, after the first warming fire was lit the previous week. This led to the first trial movements under its own power since the end of 2017.  

Following an SVR engineering inspection and examination, 7812 was then transported back to the SVR, arriving at Kidderminster last week. Light engine running began yesterday, 5th December, and loaded runs are planned to take place as we publish today, 6th December. 

The recent acceleration in progress has been achieved thanks to a monumental effort by the Erlestoke Manor Fund volunteers, who’ve worked through the final fitting, outstanding tasks, and adjustments. 

Work also continues on fellow EMF locomotives, with 5164’s overhaul being planned, and 7802 ‘Bradley Manor’ expected to require another 12 months of work before restoring to steam.

Erlestoke Manor returns! 

How is the commercial picture looking for the SVR right now? 

Arley on 26th November 2022. Michael Dunn.png

It’s the Railway’s busiest time of year, with the greatest potential for much-needed revenue generation. Head of commercial and visitor experience Michael Dunn reports on how things are going as we head into the final run-up to Christmas: 

Black Friday is now a staple in the shopping diary and the SVR’s involvement has brought success again for 2022. We ran with a range of Black Friday offers over the course of November, starting early to help boost sales across our Christmas offering.


We saw some interesting consumer behaviour for our first couple of Black Friday deals; people were engaging with the offers on social media and visiting our website, but then buying tickets without using the offer! More revenue for us, so no complaints there!

In retail, our online shop took almost £6,000 following the launch of our Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. There’s an exclusive discount for members coming very soon, so keep an eye out for a leaflet arriving on your doorstep inside the winter issue of SVR News!

Ticket sales continue to be steady, however the pre-booking trends of the last two years have changed and we’re now seeing tickets bought at short notice. As a result, people can miss out as sales surge in the last few days before an event. We’re encouraging all those who’d like to travel on one of our fantastic festive services, to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Due to popular demand we’ve also extended Steam in Lights run to post-Christmas, on 29th-31st December, with our usual daytime Festive Services running 26th December-2nd January.

Secondary spend is a vital source of income to the SVR and we’re pulling out all the stops this year to give our passengers better choice and availability. We’ve moved our catering operation at Bridgnorth to a purpose-built marquee just outside the station to help streamline the catering operations. Initial takings from the first few weekends of Steam in Lights show that catering spend is double what it was for the same period last year – a very positive result there.

We’ve also expanded our catering facilities at Arley, meaning that customers have better choice and a full range of hot and cold options, as well as retail to browse whilst they are queueing for the marquee. More positive news is that the revenue at Arley is almost triple what it was for the same period last year! 

Photo: Arley on 26th November 2022. Michael Dunn

How is the commercial picture looking? 

A sight for ‘saw’ eyes! 

Last month you’d be forgiven for thinking the Railway was being used as the location for filming the next James Bond movie*! But, you’d have been wrong. The helicopters flying over the line close to Arley were demonstrating how aerial saw technology could be a solution for the UK’s main line. The SVR was not only paid a contribution for its time and trouble, but also received some otherwise unaffordable arboreal improvements for absolutely nothing!

See how it all worked in the film on the SVR’s YouTube channel – and don’t forget to join the 14,100 current subscribers from across the world, and be the first to know when a new film is released.

*A similar helicopter-mounted saw really did appear in the 007 movie The World is not Enough, released in 1999!

A sight for ‘saw’ eyes! 

Bridgnorth Locomotive Yard progress

Bridgnorth Yard progress.jpeg

This vital project to replace all the yard track, upgrade track drainage and provide a new loco inspection pit is one of the Railway’s major works this winter. The delivery team is moving from planning and preparations to physical works on the ground for phase 1, as volunteer project manager Nick Yarwood tells Express Points: 

During December, permanent way volunteers will dig out the sleeper beds of the turn-out at Cleobury Road bridge on the approach to Bridgnorth station, and also the cross-over between the yard head shunt and platform 2. Also, the SVR’s portable welfare unit will be moved into position.


Locos and rolling stock, including those needed for the works, will all be moved to the right locations before the track is lifted.  

Since the Railway was built, settlement has taken place in the approaches to Cleobury Road bridge and, being a fixed structure, differences in level have developed.

To prevent future settlement behind the bridge abutments, localised earth-strengthening works will be carried out before the track bed is prepared to receive the new turn-out.

To speed up the operation, stone back-fill and ballast is being loaded into one-tonne bags at Eardington and moved to site this month. The newly arrived road-railer (see separate article) is being put through its paces, to give us full confidence in its reliability before working at Bridgnorth. 

Everything will then be ready to secure the boundaries of the work site and start lifting point rodding and track from 4th January. 

Plant and track components are on order and by the time that the new point-work arrives later in January, the track bed will be ready. Intense activity will continue into February and March assembling the track, ballasting, connecting track circuits and point rodding. It sounds simple enough, but the reality is that there’s a huge amount of work to be done by all involved – paid staff, volunteers and team leaders. It will be a seven-days-a-week operation before the planned handover to Operations on 15th March.  

Inevitably, some aspects cannot be under direct control. Severe weather is one, another would be late delivery of the point-work from the manufacturer. We’re keeping in close contact all the time so that we have some assurance on progress. In either event there’s a buffer of a couple of weeks in the programme – let’s hope we don’t need it! 


Volunteers are a vital part of making this project work, and new offers of help are always welcome. If you would like to offer your services, there's also an online portal for this project, where you can click on a sign-up link, find out which jobs are coming up and how things are progressing (NB: help is urgently needed for this weekend, so don't hold back!)

We will still need more donations to be ready for Phase 2 in 2024, supported by the Charitable Trust’s appeal, and you can read more and donate at 

Bridgnorth Locomotive Yard progress

SVR in the running for two tourism awards

The SVR has once again been singled out as a finalist in the Visit Worcestershire Tourism Awards, the winners of which will be announced in March 2023. 

The Railway is a finalist in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category, whilst the On Train Dining experience has been selected as a finalist for the Taste of Worcestershire award. Head of commercial and visitor experience Michael Dunn said: 

“We’re very proud to have been recognised in this way. It is a testament to the hard work of the staff and volunteers, and I want to thank everyone for their efforts.” 


Last year the Railway won the Resilience and Innovation category in the Visit Worcestershire awards, and then went on to win a national prize, in the Visit England awards for excellence.  


As an important contributor to the local economy, the SVR has also joined the strategic local Tourism Advisory Group, which is being established to support attractions through the current challenging commercial environment. 

On train dining on 20th July 2022. Sophie Poutney

On train dining on 20th July 2022. Sophie Poultney.jpg
SVR in the running for two tourism awards

What's Coming Up?

 SVR Branch meetings

SVR Wolverhampton branch continues its season at the Old Wulfrunians Club, Castlecroft Road, Castlecroft, Wolverhampton, WV3 8NA, commencing at 7.30 pm. Details and future events are on the branch website at   

  • 12th December - ‘Kent Coal: 1970s – 1990s’ - a look at coal rail movements in the region and the Kent coalfield, presented by David Hayes.   

  • 9th January - ‘Trent Valley Railway - Birth, Building and Opening’ – an illustrated talk by Robin Mathams and Dave Barrett. 

SVR Stourbridge branch’s talks will continue as below at the Bonded Warehouse in Canal Street, Stourbridge, DY8 4LU, commencing at 7.30 pm. A small charge of £2 is made to cover room costs. 

  • 4th January - ‘Pictures of the Black Country 1958–1963.’ Rediscovered pictures from the Terry Hyde archive, presented by Keith Hodgkins. 

  • 1st February - ‘An audience with Jack Boskett.’ 

  • 1st March - branch AGM, followed by a speaker who will be announced shortly. 


The meetings are open to all.

Photo: Jack Boskett held an exhibition of his photos at The Engine House visitor centre, Highley earlier this year

Jack Boskett exhibition 16th July 2022. Jack Boskett .jpg
SVR Branch meetings

SVR gets festive for the post-Christmas week

In a first for the Severn Valley, the Steam in Lights (SiL) service has been extended and will now continue into the post-Christmas festive period. Head of commercial and visitor experience Michael Dunn told Express Points: “SiL trains will now additionally operate from Thursday 29th to Saturday 31st December, departing Bridgnorth at 6.45 pm and 8.30 pm.

“For 2022, this experience has a completely re-imagined concept. And, to give our visitors that all-important added value, each child travelling on Steam in Lights will receive a voucher for a free return visit in 2023.”

The Railway will also be running its traditional daytime post-Christmas festive services between Boxing Day and the New Year bank holiday on Monday 2nd January. After this date the line will close for its winter break.

The festive timetable will be six full-line services with two steam locomotives and the train-heating boiler-fitted diesel 40106 Atlantic Conveyor. These services will operate at standard fares and will be the last chance to use any expiring passes and 2022 ticket vouchers, so do check those dates. As Helen Smith has said above, we’d love to see you!

It’s hoped that GWR heavy freight locomotive 2857 and ex-WR pannier tank 1501 will, subject to availability, operate on some days. These will be their final trains before being withdrawn at the end of their boiler ‘ticket’ for future overhaul. Keep an eye on the SVR’s website and social media nearer the time to see the Festive locomotive roster and grab the last chance for some time to ride behind them. 

A happy Steam in Lights visitors meets Rudolph, aka Jan Sturt, who usually volunteers in t

For more information and to book tickets for SiL trains and festive season services, please head to!

A happy Steam in Lights visitor meets Rudolph, aka Jan Sturt, who usually volunteers in the Bridgnorth shop. Tony Bending

SVR gets festive for the post-Christmas week 

2023 dates for your diary!

As mentioned in our festive season news item, the Railway will close after trains on Monday 2nd January 2023 for its winter break.  


The 2023 season will start on 4th March, with the first two weekends operating between Kidderminster and Highley only. This is to allow work about 600m north of Country Park halt in Alveley Woods, intended to take out the ‘dip’ following land movement in that section which has been a cause of concern for a while. [Editor’s note: this ‘dip’ is not related to the slip area that Geobear treated, described in August’s Express Points]


Full line services will resume on 18th March for two weekends (18th and 19th and 25th and 26th March). Our Easter opening will start on 1st April, and then we’ll be running every day though till the Spring Steam Gala from 14th to 16th April. 


Other dates are: 

  • The Spring Diesel Gala will be held 19th to 21st May. 

  • 1940s weekends are 24th and 25th June and 1st and 2nd July  

  • Vintage Transport Extravaganza is 12th and 13th August 


All the above is correct at the date of publication. Please keep an eye on the SVR’s social media and for further announcements. 


We’ve selected images of locomotives we hope will appear in 2023 special events, taken some years ago. Please click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits.   

2023 dates for your diary!

Across the Railway

Recognition of Severn Valley Railway’s ‘forgotten heroes’

A century and a half after they perished during the construction of the Severn Valley Railway, 10 navvies have been honoured with a commemorative blue plaque.  


Victorian railway construction was extremely hard and dangerous work, which resulted in many accidents, and significant numbers of fatalities.


Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the blue plaque honours the 10 navvies known to have died constructing the Severn Valley Railway. Managing director Helen Smith said: 


“Unlike today, health and safety measures were not considered important; for the Victorian navvy, danger was just an occupational hazard. It is fitting that we’re now commemorating these forgotten heroes, who constructed most of our rail system by hand and who, until now, have received little recognition.” 

Helen Smith at Falling Sands Viaduct 3. SVR.jpeg

As well as restoring this vital piece of the SVR’s infrastructure, the Falling Sands Viaduct project also included the creation of two permanent exhibitions telling the story of the construction of the original line and the more-than-1,000 navvies who built it. 


The installation of the plaque marks the completion of the £1.3million project to restore the Railway’s Falling Sands Viaduct.

Detail, showing the text on the new commemorative plaque at Falling Sands. SVR.jpg
Recognition of SVR's ‘forgotten heroes’

Porter signalmen – the job for the employee who seeks variety!

Porter signalmen Fred Jones and Jim Watson in the small garden by the station entrance in

The November issue of Express Points took a look back at staffing on the Railway 100 years ago, bringing to light the role of porter signalmen. The role was in effect at various stations across the Severn Valley Line. 


The role is an unusual one, employed at stations which could not justify engaging both a full-time signalman and a porter, and so combined the roles into one.  


We've since had further insights into this grade of worker. According to the Arley station book of working instructions from 1895, the roles of the porter signalman, referred to here as the ‘signal porter’ were wide and varied.


In addition to the duties of staffing the signal box, (operating the frame, attending to the block and needle instruments, and keeping a record of train movements in the log etc), the porter signalman was also expected to carry out station duties, such as keeping the station clean and tidy, lighting the fires in the waiting rooms in winter, and lighting and extinguishing station and signal lamps as required.

From there, the list of jobs becomes more varied still, the porter signalman being responsible for the labelling of passenger luggage, filling the tanks for urinals and water closets, and assisting with shunting operations as well as unloading goods traffic. Should cattle wagons or horse boxes pass through the station, it was also the porter signalman’s job to sweep these out too!

The book of working instructions also lists ‘all other outside work’, so it’s reasonable to expect that the porter signalman also had a hand in tending the beautiful gardens at Arley, which were as resplendent with flowers then as they are now.  

Despite the station’s quiet nature, the combination of these two roles must have kept the porter signalman who worked at Arley very busy, and certainly never bored!  


No photos of porter signalmen from the 1920s could be found, but here’s one from the 1950s, which we discovered in The Severn Valley Railway at Arley by Barrie Geens. Fred and Jim appear very happy in their roles! 

Porter signalmen Fred Jones and Jim Watson in the small garden at Arley by the station entrance in 1952. Gladys Billingham

Porter signalmen

HOPS update

Implementation of HOPS (Heritage Operations Processing System) is now well underway, albeit transferring the data takes time and the Railway is still some way from full implementation. Health and safety manager Richard Morris tells Express Points more: 


As your user account is created, a verification email is sent for you to validate your email address: it’s not spam! Please click on the link within the seven-day timeframe to create your account and set your own password.

HOPS significantly increases the Railway’s ability to record and demonstrate competency for all paid staff and volunteers. HOPS will also assist with training and e-learning modules. The Office of Road and Rail issued an improvement notice last year to another heritage railway, as it could not demonstrate that all footplate personnel were competent in all their duties. It's vital that competency within a role or element is backed up by evidence.

Richard Morris using the HOPS system. credit Lesley Carr.jpg

We will shortly be implementing HOPS’ time register. You will use this to sign on/off electronically each time you work on the Railway using your personal mobile devices or via tablets at key signing on points, rather than paper signing on sheets. 


For issues relating to accounts and user logins, please contact or phone 01299 401776, or or who will be able to assist. 


If you have any issues regarding your department or competency, please contact your head of department or department admins. 


Please refer to NBI-H-1015 for more details

Richard Morris using the HOPS system. credit Lesley Carr

HOPS update

Starting young as first responders

Should you suffer an injury, and spot a youngster heading towards you… don’t panic! Last month, members of the SVR Junior Club attended a highly informative and entertaining first responder course, run by SVR guard and senior paramedic Martin Eaton on 12th November. Martin is also ex-junior Josh’s dad!


“We covered a range of potential situations,” explained Martin, “including general dangers and accidents, cardiovascular problems, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), defibrillators, loss of consciousness, recovery position, cuts and dressings. We ended with some simulations and treatment of a casualty outdoors using space blankets and heat loss-restricting emergency bags." 


Each attendee has been awarded a prized ‘SVR First Responder’ card.

Young people can get involved in the Railway from the age of 11, under the guidance of our volunteer youth leaders. Some of the Juniors are helping during Santa running this year, assisting with on-train present distribution.


“If you feel like dipping a toe in the Junior Club water, we’d appreciate a couple more supervisors,” said Club leader Nick Willcox. “Looking forward, for the post-Christmas programme we shall be after more folk to assist with supervision. The more help the Club’s leaders can get, the lighter the load will be!” 

Please click on the gallery for larger images.

Starting young as first responders

Kidderminster Points No 42 replacement

Despite atrocious weather, a joint project by full-time staff and volunteers of the permanent way (PW) and signal & telecomms (S&T) departments pulled out all the stops to complete the replacement of points No 42 at Kidderminster. 


Head of infrastructure Chris Bond told Express Points: “This was a significant project with work running over two weeks. It was finally completed when the S&T technicians had their work signed off by their volunteer qualified signal testing engineer Tony ‘Fred’ Cotterell around 5 pm on Friday, 25th November, just in time for the weekend's Christmas services! 


“This is great news, and with all routes now available it signals (pun intended!) a welcome return to increased operational flexibility at Kidderminster. This is needed over the busy Christmas season.” 


‘KR42’ are the points at the south end of platform 2 run round (Up loop to No 2 Engine Line) and were one of the sets of points at the south end of the line that were taken out of use in 2022 because of their condition. 


Chris added: “We are hugely grateful to all those involved in this project, to those in operations who supported it, and to Story Contracting for the loan of a lighting unit to extend the working hours available. 


“This follows on from other recent work at Bewdley where two sets of points have been brought back into use, as we continue to maintain and improve our infrastructure in difficult times.” 

Please click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits.

Kidderminster Points No 42 replacement 

Important safety notice - Chainsaws and powertools

Bewdley P-Way removing a fallen tree at 'Miners crossing' on 27th November 2021. Rob Stewa

An important notice has been issued by health and safety manager Richard Morris.


The unauthorised use of chainsaws on the Railway must cease with immediate effect. It is essential that:  

  • You hold an in-date competency and the SVR has a copy of the certificate of competency recorded on its database.  

  • Users of chainsaws are equipped with and wearing the appropriate PPE and safety equipment.  

  • Before undertaking any task, a full risk assessment and method statement (a document detailing how you intend to carry out the work safely) has been submitted for approval to your work party team leader.  

  • Following approval, the contents of the risk assessment are to be read and understood by all members of the working party. Working party leaders are expected to obtain the signatures of all those involved to demonstrate that they have read, understood, and will comply with the contents.


The instruction also applies to power tools in general. You are not permitted or authorised to use equipment for which you have not been trained. This includes items or equipment which are personally owned and have been brought in from home. If you are using it on the Railway, the Railway is legally responsible. 


Photo: Bewdley P-Way preparing to remove a fallen tree at 'Miners crossing' on 27th November 2021. Rob Steward  

Important safety notice

A draining time of year

In late November the Railway operated the annual ‘drain train’ in partnership with contractors Draincure. 


As in previous years, Draincure’s lorry was backed onto GWR 'Loriot Y' Machinery Truck No 41990 at Eardington, although a new and slightly larger lorry made it a tighter fit than usual, performed by a 500 point turn to achieve this as well as removal of its rear bumper!

The aim has been to carry out a full inspection of the Railway’s culverts to note any problems or blockages, and where time allows clear these and carry out general maintenance.

The train first ran south, jetting culverts, before heading north undertaking the camera and suction work which, with shovelling and washdown, cleared some blocked drains.


Some of the recently installed catch pits near Country Park halt were already found to be full of silt and were sucked out. We will likely have to resort to more regular de-silting at this location. See before and after pictures of a typical drain service by Brent Cleeton.

The SVR also provided Class 08 D3022 for the traction and Regent Oil Aviation Fuel Tank Wagon No 345 for the water. A brake van completed the consist.

This operation further reflects the enormous amount of behind-the-scenes maintenance that's underway to maintain the Railway’s infrastructure.

Please click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits.

A draining time of year

Improvements to lighting and railings at Bridgnorth

New period-style railings and lighting are improving the public route from the upper (west) car park to Bridgnorth station, as station master Chris Thomas told Express Points:

“Three Great Western (GW) design no 2 lamp posts and luminaires have been erected along the fence line on concrete foundations, including holes cut in the 82045-assembly concrete pad.”  


“The fence panels comprise railings recovered from various parts of the Railway, and several pieces have been completely dismantled with the good bits plus new bits welded together. All needed a thorough cleaning and painting. They are mounted on specially-designed cranked intermediate posts to provide sufficient clearance to the adjacent siding.” 


The lighting continues a project begun back in 2009, largely through donations to the Bridgnorth station fund, which has seen GW-designed lamps installed across both platforms and in the lower car park and access road. 


Chris continued: “Once the 82045 Trust is able to fully relocate to the engineering services (ESMP) site, we will complete the fence line, resurface the footpath to a smooth and firm walking surface, and develop some planting, which will all considerably enhance what is currently a rather unattractive area. 


“Our station team is looking for new members - you'll be made very welcome on Saturdays and Tuesdays. If you’re interested in finding out more, please contact 

Lighting and railings at Bridgnorth

Rolling Stock

Transports of delight – more carriage works news

81013 Ex grotto 4 from Arley. The faint lines still showing through the new floor paint. I

After Martin White’s reports on 24617 and 43612 in November’s Express Points, Hugh McQuade provides further news:  


An unfortunate shunting incident damaged the gangway of London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Restaurant Composite (first- and third-class) 7960. The ‘Pullman’ gangway faceplate buckled, but we straightened this quickly using a permanent way (PW) track-bending tool called a Jim Crow, now donated to our care.


7960 saw work on afternoon tea duties attached to a variety of trainsets. Also, a gas engineer has isolated two burners on the oven and installed heat-resistant extraction fans, which now allow 7960 to offer hot-work cooking when chartered. 


The gangway on attached London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) Third Open 27218 was quite mangled and stretched, and it took three weeks to rebuild its LNWR-inspired scissors mechanism. Blacksmithing of bent rods was needed to straighten them all out, and buckled knuckle joints had to be reformed by judicious use of a stout hammer. The canvas bellows required stitching repairs too. 

Carriage shed train repairers Gary and Matt have repainted the corridor side of Great Western Railway (GWR) Corridor Brake Composite 6913 in time for the Christmas services. Next spring, the other side should get attention. 


Our newly-repurposed British Railways (BR) Gangwayed Brake 81013 made its public debut on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR), who hired it in for a Harry Potter-themed event. It returned to have large angle-irons bolted to the floor to secure two generators, just in time for our Steam in Lights trains. 

81013. The finished article. Sitting in Bridgnorth earlier in the year after its conversio

Previously the generators had been carried in the luggage cage of BR Mk1 Brake Second 34562. This has one pair of luggage doors locked out of use with a broken door stile, and other doors are showing signs of distress. An overhaul in 2023 may be on the cards, so it’s fortunate we built its replacement. 

Stand-in BR Brake Second Open 9220 had lots of attention this summer. It was put on accommodation bogies while its own wheelsets went to Bristol for tyre turning. Meanwhile we examined all 10 doors and carried out lock and strikeplate renewals plus minor repairs to door panels and jambs. 9220 returned to service in November.

As we approach the winter shutdown and its annual round of fitness-to-run examinations, nearly 40 sorted door locks and partner strike plates have been overhauled in advance from stocks in store. This will give us a head start, compared with last year when we had to turn out 96 to make up for the Covid-19 furlough. We also have a small batch from the KWVR for contract work. 

With fewer volunteers after Covid-19 restrictions, we have seen a pleasing number of new volunteers, eager to learn about coach restoration and general railway work in general.

81013 Ex grotto 4 from Arley. The faint lines still showing through the new floor paint. I wonder how many families have seen Santa in here.

81013. The finished article. Sitting in Bridgnorth earlier in the year after its conversion back to a BG. Sharing the company of another ex grotto vehicle. 

Transports of delight – more carriage news

An echo from the past

Hugh McQuade continues: 


As mentioned in last month’s Express Points, LMS-designed Corridor Composite 24617 of 1950 is the Carriage & Wagon paintshop’s big job to end this year. Having not missed a season of traffic since it arrived in 1968 fresh off its last BR overhaul, this means we are giving it the biggest overhaul in its 72-year life. 


While the seats are out, this is the ideal time to rewire both above floor and below. Interior decorating is also having a major revamp, with the ‘brown soup’ varnish being stripped from all veneered panels to reveal their true beauty.  


With veneer panels and some ceiling panels removed, we’ve found a lot of pencilled scribblings on the exposed walls, from those who built the coach. Some form of spelling test appears to have been going on in one compartment, while piecework rates were calculated elsewhere, and a roll call of the assembly team appears on another wall!

Such social history is a fascinating thing to see, and Colin Harsley will document all the original graffiti in the coach. It will all be hidden behind veneer panels when the current work is complete, but will remain untouched. We have added to one wall the 2022 team roll call of volunteers and paid staff that have worked on the carriage, for future generations to discover! 

Please click on the gallery for larger images, descriptions and credits.

An echo from the past