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January 2018

Happy New Year!

Visiting Standard Tank 80072 emerges from Bewdley Tunnel on 16/12/17, by Ian Murray

Welcome to your latest edition of

Express Points!


Let’s get 2018 off to a positive start by wishing you a very happy New Year, and declaring that despite some significant challenges which have presented themselves in the past few weeks, folk at the SVR are united in their determination to keep calm and carry on!

The trains may have stopped for the next month and a half, but the dark winter months are as busy as ever behind the scenes, as we embark on track re-laying and other maintenance projects, so that we’re in great shape for the start of the new season on Saturday 17th February.

We’re fairly sure you will have heard that things weren’t entirely peaceful at the SVR over Christmas, as two of our carriages came under attack by vandals. However, an appeal to meet the £10,000 costs has been launched by the Charitable Trust, and as we report in this month’s Express Points, work is already underway at Kidderminster C&W to get these vehicles back in service as quickly as possible.

Also, we report on the Santa season, our busiest and most important time of year in terms of generating income. We say farewell to two familiar locomotives, and get updates and news from around the Railway.

Following last month’s edition, Paul Fathers emailed to comment, “Just a note of thanks for the latest edition of the news. The quality continues to improve and is just what is needed to keep everyone informed. Thanks for all your efforts.”


Please let us know what’s going on where you are. We rely on working members across the Railway to let us know what’s happening, and if you get in touch with your news, we’ll publish it in next month’s Express Points. Please remember to include a photograph! You can email us or drop us a message on Facebook!


Each month we have a draw for a £20 voucher to spend on the Railway, and because it’s Christmas, this month there are four winners. Check to see if you’re one of them here.


For SVR supporters, shareholders, members or those with a general interest in Railway operations please sign up for our supporters’ newsletter 'Branch Lines' by CLICKING HERE


As we complete the first year of the working members’ newsletter as an online-only publication, we’d like to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and all the very best for 2018.


Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors

Picture by Ian Murray










£10,000 appeal launched after vandals attack two SVR heritage carriages

The Charitable Trust is appealing for donations to help meet the £10,000 cost of putting right the shocking damage caused by vandals to two carriages during the Christmas period.


The attacks were discovered early on Boxing Day, when staff arrived to find spray paint covering the carriage sides. General manager Nick Ralls said, “This was not what we expected to come back to after our Christmas Day closure. It’s heart-breaking to think that in just a few minutes the people who carried out this attack have caused hundreds of hours of extra work for our volunteers and staff. However, we’ve dealt with worse before, such as the devastating floods of 2007, and we’ll deal with this too.”


Work has begun to put right the damage to the first affected carriage, 2701, a teak-bodied vehicle designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, and owned by the Charitable Trust. It entered the Carriage & Wagon paint shop at Kidderminster, where it will remain for up to a month. Supervisor Hugh McQuade explained, “Our first task was to remove the spray paint by sanding down to the varnish. Fortunately, the layer of soot acquired during the carriage’s service in December, has acted as a protective layer, stopping the cellulose-based spray paint from reacting with the varnish and our own white spirit-based painted lining and gold leaf lettering. We’ll need to touch up the lettering and lining in a number of places, but the main job now is to prepare the undamaged remainder and apply several coats of new varnish to the entire side of the carriage.


“I’ve been humbled by the response of volunteers to this setback, and I have a willing and able team who are more than capable of tackling the job. The main problem is that we won’t be able to carry out the planned essential work on other carriages, and this will set us back several months in our schedule. The knock-on effects of it all will be felt for a long time to come.”

Remedial work on the other vandalised carriage, No 1146, owned by the SVR-based 813 Preservation Fund, will begin in February, and is likely to take a month to complete.

As the Charitable Trust launched its appeal for donations for help restore the damaged carriages, director Shelagh Paterson said:

“As soon as the news of the attack broke, we started receiving offers of help from people who were clearly as shocked as we are. On the first day alone, nearly £1,000 was donated online. We very much hope that this generous support will continue to help us meet the total cost of £10,000 to get these important carriages back into service as soon as possible.”


Donations can be made online at or by phoning 01562 757940.


As soon as the news broke on Boxing Day, the vandalism brought widespread condemnation on social media; the original Facebook post alerting people to the event has reached well in excess of half a million people and has been shared more than 2,700 times.


Photo: Richard Herington (photo showing volunteers at work on 2701)

Another successful Santa season


Although heavy snowfall impacted on one of the Railway’s operational Santa days, the 2017 season was extremely successful, attracting well over 30,000 passengers.


The decision to cancel services on Sunday 10th December was taken for safety reasons. Thanks to a huge team effort by volunteers and staff, additional Santa Herald trains were scheduled on three further days to accommodate passengers who had been unable to travel because of the cancellation.


Santa event organisers have paid tribute to everyone who supported the Railway’s biggest income generator of the year. Diane Malyon said, “I’d like to thank all volunteers and paid staff alike who worked so hard to make the Christmas season on the SVR the best it could be, considering there were some very challenging times during the event at all locations. Thanks also to those who maintained a great sense of humour right up to the end of each day, including Severn Communications who decided to call me ‘Mrs. Christmas’!”


Lewis Maddox added, “Thanks to everyone who made sure we gave a first class experience to tens of thousands of excited passengers this Christmas, and special thanks to the wonderful people who supported our Santa Heralds and this year’s new services, the Santa Sleigh Expresses. Stan Jones and I could not have managed without you!”

Farewell to two friends

On the very last day of 2017, the ever-faithful No 7812 Erlestoke Manor made its final runs along the Severn Valley, before it was withdrawn from service. With the boiler ticket about to expire, it’s time for the loco’s ten yearly overhaul. This is taking place at Tyseley locomotive works, and there’s more about the restoration at

And we also bid farewell on 2nd January, the very last day of our festive services, to No 34053 Sir Keith Park, which is moving to Swanage Railway. Affectionately known as ‘Skip’, this loco joined the SVR’s fleet in 2012 following overhaul, and steamed for the first time in preservation on this Railway. It’s seen plenty of memorable moments in its time with us, including the Steam and Morgan car challenge in October 2012, and its inauguration ceremony in August 2013.

All 2016 shares now dispatched

The team organising the 2016 share offer for Bridgnorth report that the final share certificates and travel passes where applicable were posted to shareholders before Christmas. If you have not received yours, please get in touch so that the matter can be investigated. If necessary, replacements will be arranged. Please contact , or call 01562 757900 during office hours.

On behalf of the organising team, Tony Bending explained, “The share offer for Bridgnorth was extremely successful, raising a total of £2,548.505 over its 12-month sales period. In the final two months, the volume of sales was extremely buoyant, with purchases of £857,000 being made in October alone.

“With such a large number of sales in that short period, it took Neville’s, our registrars, a few weeks to process all of the transactions. However, this work is now complete, and we would like to thank everyone who has supported this worthwhile project, which will help transform Bridgnorth into a station of which we can all be justifiably proud.”




Inter-Rail passes now available

As a volunteer or employee, you can apply for an Inter-Rail pass which will cover both yourself and one accompanying person and is valid for travel on the majority of preserved railways and preservation sites in the UK, subject to certain restrictions.

The passes are valid for one year and cost £30. You can apply in person at the main office at Comberton Place, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, or phone 01562 757900, selecting option 1.


NB: This is in addition to, and does not replace the Reciprocal Travel Scheme operation in conjunction with certain other preserved railways.

Bewdley buffet facilities during the 2018 shut down


Bewdley’s assistant station master Dai Phillips has asked Express Points to let working members know that during the January/February shut down period, the Bewdley buffet will be open between 8am and 2.30pm to cater for volunteers’ needs. Public passers-by are also welcome.

Each month we hold a draw for a £20 voucher to spend on the Railway, check if you are the lucky winner here

Vacancies for front of house staff at Kidderminster

The Railway is recruiting full- and part-time front of house staff for the King & Castle pub and Valley Suite in Kidderminster. There is an immediate need and we also anticipate recruiting more staff from March 2018 onwards. Previous experience is preferred, however the biggest attributes you can bring to the team would be enthusiasm, passion, positivity, fun and a great team ethic. There is a job to do and ensuring standards, compliance, cleanliness and the highest customer service is essential.

Our goal is to ensure that every customer who walks through our door receives a great experience. As this involves bar work, only applicants aged 18 years or over will be considered. Please apply with CV to by Friday 12 January 2018. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. If you require any further information, please contact Gavin Chance on

Engineering Services Manager's responsibilities now cover Carriage & Wagon

The General Manager has announced that as from 1 January 2018, Neil Taylor will be appointed as Engineering Services Manager with responsibility for Engineering Services Carriage & Wagon Department and Motive Power. Nick Ralls said, “Bringing our engineering teams at Bridgnorth, Kidderminster and Bewdley under one senior management lead will enable further collaboration and co-operation across paid and volunteer colleagues who jointly are responsible for the overhaul and running of our entire fleet of steam locomotives and carriages. Neil’s week will be split between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth.”

Neil joined SVR in November 2016. He is a chartered engineer and a fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and has over 30 years of engineering experience in the aerospace and defence sectors. Over the past 12 months, he has taken every opportunity to immerse himself in the complexities of overhaul and maintenance of the SVR’s steam fleet.

Nick continued, “David Mead will continue to be involved in key C&W projects and strategic planning in a part-time capacity, reporting directly to Neil. He will also continue with his other roles as a member of the SVR Charitable Trust Board and the Heritage Skills Training Academy Board. Thanks to David for his tenure as C&W Manager and the progress he has made during this time.”

Charitable Trust attracts further corporate support as new film is launched

Last month, three more companies strengthened their involvement and support for the Railway through the Charitable Trust’s Corporate Partnership Club. Estate agents Nock Deighton became new gold level members, and Allelys Heavy Haulage took out new silver membership, whilst HotelshopUK renewed its membership, upgrading to gold level.

These announcements followed mfg Solicitors’ decision to take out gold level membership in autumn 2017, and clearly show that companies are increasingly seeing the benefits of being associated with the region’s leading heritage attraction.

The latest corporate recruitments came as the Charitable Trust released a promotional film, which specifically targets businesses, showing them the benefits of involvement with the SVR. You can view the film at by clicking on the ‘Corporate Partnership’ film icon on the right hand side.

Additionally, in the past month, the Trust has also received support from two grant-making bodies. The RD Turner Trust has given £3000 towards the cost of 1950s moquette fabric for the restoration of carriage 24105. This vehicle has just gone back into service and is the latest of our carriages to be adapted for wheelchair access. Additionally, the Lady Forester Trust has given £5,000 towards the restoration and adaptation of 80776. This will be the SVR’s premium wheelchair-accessible dining carriage, laid out in an innovative zig zag design, and will make it possible to accommodate groups of up to 16 wheelchair users to dine.



If you work for or know of a company that could benefit from corporate partnership with the Railway, please encourage them to watch the film and to visit

Photo: mfg’s Peter Copsey and Maynard Burton are welcomed to the Railway by the Charitable Trust’s John Leftwich and Shelagh Paterson.

In Memoriam 

Chris Boxall

I’m sorry to advise colleagues that Chris Boxall passed away on the 14th December following a major heart attack. Chris joined us in the signalling department in 2001. He first qualified for Highley in 2002 and then over a period of time progressed to Kidderminster. Chris had always been an active member of the department, acting as a trainer and covering a wide range of turns. He was a friendly chap who was always ready to have a chat and discuss the details of the operation of the SVR. He also helped behind the scenes on occasions by reviewing timetables in particular. His last foray to the SVR was on Sunday 10th December when he spent a day at Kidderminster with his friends Phil Sharpe and Paul Marshall. As evidenced on our signalling Facebook site he will be sadly missed and we would like to pass our condolences to his wife Liz. Chris’s funeral will take place on Monday 15th January at 1pm at Robin Hood Crematorium, Solihull, B90 3NL, and afterwards at Catherine de Barnes Village Hall, B91 2TJ. To help his family make the requisite arrangements, please advise me of your intention to attend email to Peter Davenport Signalling Manager

Alan George

We regret to report the death of Alan George, aged 88 years, of Daniels Flour Mill, Bridgnorth, on Tuesday, 28th November, after a serious illness. Alan was a staunch supporter of the SVR Society in the early years of the preservation effort, and indeed was a popular member of the Society committee. He had worked at Bridgnorth station in British Railways days, and as one of the early group of volunteers possessed unique knowledge of the site. Alan drove a large lorry, which he used to procure a variety of useful railway items and materials to restore the station, and he often took the volunteer lead in such exercises. His late wife Joyce was a respected Bridgnorth councillor, and was able, in her own way, to support the Society's efforts. They both continued their support for the Railway throughout their lives, although restoring the family-owned Flour Mill to working order as a visitor attraction took up increasingly more of their time. We extend our condolences to his children, Peter, Anne and Ian in their sad loss. David Williams Chairman SVRG

Tim Godfrey

It is with sadness that we report the death on 7th December, after an illness, of the SVR Charitable Trust LNER Group’s illustrious Vice President, Tim Godfrey FCIM, F Inst D, FFB. Tim was one of Sir Nigel Gresley’s grandsons and was a great friend and supporter of our Group since his appointment as Honorary Vice President in 2008. Tim’s funeral is expected to be on 26th January, and any readers wishing further information should contact me on

Two of Tim’s more recent SVR visits included officiating at the roll-out of former Brake Pigeon Van 70759 after its costly re-roofing to remedy the ravages of time and corrosion. That vehicle is now in regular SVR service carrying passengers as Brake Third 24506 in our teak set. It joined the set just in time for the visit of Gresley A3 Pacific 60103 Flying Scotsman in 2016.

Tim spent a day with us in September 2016 at the SVR Charitable Trust’s historic fund-raising VIP event. This was the first time since 1964 that a Gresley locomotive (co-incidentally Flying Scotsman each time) had hauled a complete train of nine Gresley teak carriages. It also marked the end of the SVR’s Gresley teak train’s 42-year restoration phase.

We salute Tim’s memory on the occasion of his passing and are forever in his debt for all that he did to support the Severn Valley Railway’s LNER restorers.

(This is an abridged version of a more detailed article in the LNER Coach Group’s newsletter No 65. You can read the full version at Richard Hill, LNER Coach Group

Malcolm Whittaker

It is with much sadness we announce the death of Malcolm Whittake, a familiar face of the Paddock Railway at Hampton Loade Station. Malcolm was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and, despite putting up a brave fight, passed away on 25th November 2017. Having been involved with the Paddock Railway since it was founded in the late 1980s, Malcolm was the public face of 'The Paddock', regularly to be seen at the entrance gate talking to visitors most Sundays of the year over the past three decades. He was a keen railway photographer and published several calendars and books over the years. Malcolm is survived by his wife Judy, Hampton Loade Station Staff and son Paul, also of the Paddock Railway, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies. Sam Lench, Hampton Loade Station Fund secretary

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 for full details.

Toad van restoration approaches completion

As 2017 drew to a close, the volunteers of the Charitable Trust’s LNER Coach Group have been busy at their Bewdley base, bringing their current project, Toad van 17410, into its final stages of restoration.


Group member Richard Hill explains, “We’ve now carried out all of the major bodywork repairs, repairing or replacing many steel and wooden fixtures. The brake linkage has been bushed and pinned, and the interior painted and decorated to a high standard.

“We still have the running boards to finish, and once this is done, the volunteer-led portion of the project will be complete. We then require professional input to deal with overhaul of the vacuum brakes, re-profiling the wheels and finishing the paintwork and lettering to the 1940 GWR-livery style.”

If you would like to make a donation to assist the final stages of the project, please visit

Photos: Exterior photo David Chown, whilst the interior image is courtesy of Richard Hill.

Bewdley barrow crossing is back

The period presentation committee asked Bewdley stationmaster James Pearson to approve the reinstatement of the porters’ barrow crossing between up and down main, platforms 1 and 2.


This was duly granted, and a team from the station’s P-way department have put it back in place.

Vacancies at the Railway

There are usually a number of vacancies for paid staff at the SVR and you can find full details at Please let friends and family know about these opportunities.


Fire marshal and fire fighting training

After securing funding for fire marshal and fire fighting training, SVR safety advisors plan to run courses for working members and paid staff, starting in February 2018. Fire safety officer Mel Cook explains more, “The objective of the training is to help protect our staff, passengers, rolling stock and structures from any potential threat of fire, giving greater confidence in tackling a fire and evacuation techniques.”

Dates will be confirmed as soon as possible and course places should be booked via your manager who will contact . At present, a total of 48 places are available, across four dates, but there may be further opportunities if there is sufficient demand.

‘Near miss’ incident highlights hazards of working at height

A recent incident involving a volunteer working in Bridgnorth shed has again highlighted the hazards of working at height and the importance of all staff members taking adequate precautions and thinking about their actions. In light of this latest incident, ESMP planner and SVR Safety Committee member Martin White is urging all staff to view the Railway’s new working at height awareness film, which will shortly be available. He explains more about what happened at Bridgnorth:

“Whilst assisting with some boiler repairs on 2857 the staff member slipped from the running plate, fortunately landing on both feet, and only suffered some grazing to their leg. The consequences could have been considerably worse had they landed more awkwardly or come into contact with other infrastructure and equipment close by, and in that respect, this could be considered a ‘near-miss’. It is important to note that the individual concerned had earlier this year attended an ESMP half day working at height awareness course and, in order to carry out the maintenance work on the locomotive, a step ladder tied in position was being used correctly to access the front running plate. However, the incident occurred when the staff member was walking around the running plate to climb down the locomotive side steps, which necessitated negotiating a number of additional hazards including tools and equipment and some sections where parts of the running plate had been removed.

“This ‘near miss’ occurrence highlights that even with training and using the correct equipment, we are still not infallible. All individuals must consider their own safety at all times, but especially when any working at height is taking place. Always consider how best to work at height, use the right equipment then, as in this case, make sure you use these methods at all times, even if this is more time consuming.”

Working Member Benefits

We have some great offers available to Working Members, including Travel, Gym Membership, Specsavers Eye Tests, Pomodoro Restaurant, Style Hair Salon and this month we welcome Doddingtree Estate Agency. 


Full details can be found on our Express Points Benefits Page. 

Thanks for reading!

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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.

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