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July 2023

Lumberjills, Women's Land Army Timbercorps Volunteers chopping wood at Bewdley on 25th Jun
Lumberjills, Women's Timber Corps re-enactors chopping wood at Bewdley on 25th June 2023, during the first of the 'Step Back to the 1940s' weekends. John Sherratt

Welcome to your latest edition of Express Points!

July’s Express Points kicks off with exciting news about the SVR’s forthcoming autumn enthusiast events. The first visiting locomotive has been announced for the Autumn Steam Gala, and there’s a ‘Magnificent Seven’ theme for the Autumn Diesel Bash, with diesel-hydraulics taking centre stage, bringing together a record-breaking gathering of Westerns, Warships and Hymeks in preservation. 

SVR Holdings managing director Jonathan 'Gus' Dunster talks about the growing importance of moves to diversify the Railway’s income streams by working closely with main-line rail companies, outlining some notable recent successes and looking to the future. In another article that carries on with the diversification theme, we report from the recent Rail Live event, where the SVR was well represented, both by locomotive and human delegates! 


Plus there are plenty of other stories from across the Railway to make sure you’re properly updated on all things SVR. From safety to donated turnouts, from the decision to ban e-scooters to a wonderful selection of photographs captured at the recent 1940s events, it’s all here in your July edition of Express Points!


Lesley and Patrick, co-editors

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

Next edition Thursday 10th August

What's new?

‘Mayflower’ to star at Autumn Steam Gala 

LNER Thompson Class B1 61306 ‘Mayflower’ has been named as the first guest locomotive for the SVR’s Autumn Steam Gala. 

61306 will play a starring role at the Railway’s autumn enthusiast event, which takes place over four days between 14th and 17th September. 

Having previously visited for testing of its air-braking system in October and November last year, the gala will mark the first time ‘Mayflower’ has been in public service on the SVR. SVR managing director Gus Dunster said: 

“Securing this locomotive is a coup for us. As one of only two B1s in preservation, we know it’s going to prove a big draw. Our autumn event continues our celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the formation of the ‘Big Four’ railway companies, and ‘Mayflower’ will be a superb representative for the LNER, and it’s going to look absolutely the part paired with the SVR’s matching rake of Gresley-designed teak carriages.” 

The event has been extended from three to four days and also marks the return of overnight services. This unique experience provides a rare chance to see and hear a heritage railway operating under cover of darkness. Travel on the overnight services will be included in the day ticket price for passengers with tickets for two consecutive days travel.

A look back to 61306's testing last year. Click on the gallery to see larger size images, descriptions and credits.

Autumn Diesel Bash – the 'Magnificent Seven’

D821 Greyhound with resident 832 Onslaught on the 2pm from Bury at Burrs Bank, East Lancs

The SVR has announced that seven former Western Region diesel-hydraulics are set to be the leading locomotives at the Autumn Diesel Bash, now extended to four days of intensive timetables between Thursday 28th September and Sunday 1st October! For ticket prices and to book, go to  

The SVR is aiming to host the largest gathering of operational preserved Westerns, Warships and Hymeks seen in preservation, to round off our season celebrating 50 years of diesel preservation.  

From the home-based fleet, D821 ‘Greyhound’, D1015 ‘Western Champion’ and D1062 ‘Western Courier’ are planned to operate.


Alongside these will be a selection of visiting locomotives and the Railway is working with several other preservation groups to make this unique event possible.  

In addition, under-overhaul duo Hymek D7029 and D1013 ‘Western Ranger’ will be on display. 

Managing director Gus Dunster said; “After a huge Spring Diesel Festival, we knew we had to deliver an autumn event that wrapped up our ‘five decades of diesel preservation’ celebrations in style. We know that demand is there for our gala events. and we’ve extended the event to four days to meet that demand. 

“Again, we are planning to deliver an event in the true style of the Severn Valley Railway; we hope passengers will flock to join us to see out the diesel calendar for this historic occasion.” 

The British Railways modernisation plan called for the introduction of a range of diesel locomotives to replace steam. Although most were diesel-powering electric traction motors, the Western Region developed instead a series of distinctive lightweight diesels with hydraulic transmissions, built between 1957 and 1965. 

Keep an eye out for further announcements of ‘Diesel Bash-themed’ events that will take place around the event – including photo shoots and excursion days.  

Photo: D821 Greyhound with resident 832 Onslaught on the 2pm from Bury at Burrs Bank, East Lancs Railway, on 1st July 2023. Kevin Whitehurst

Diversification is ‘crucial’ for the SVR’s recovery plan

At the recent SVR (Holdings) AGM, managing director Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster spoke about how important commercial diversification already is for the SVR, and how its significance will grow considerably, calling it a ‘crucial’ element of the Railway’s recovery plan.  

“Put simply,” Gus told Express Points, “the pre-Covid business model for heritage railways is no longer viable and we need to ensure we have other commercial activities in place to support our core activity of running heritage trains. On the SVR, we’re fortunate in having a connection to Network Rail (NR) and can therefore work in partnership with the main-line industry. 

“In recent years we’ve been working hard to maximise the benefits of this, and companies such as NR, GB Railfreight, Colas Rail, Locomotive Services Group (LSG) and others have provided opportunities for us to work with them, particularly at times of the year when we are not operating trains ourselves.

70000 Britannia on a loaded test run, leaving Bewdley on 1 February 2022. Bob Green.jpeg

"Since taking over as managing director in March, I have been looking to broaden even further our commercial relationships with main-line operators. In addition to the pre-existing vehicle storage contact with LSG, we’ve now also secured similar work from Rail Adventure UK and NR. We are also in discussion with some other companies for similar requirements. In addition, we are quoting to several operators for vehicle maintenance, repair, modification and repaint work.


“We’ve also hosted main-line operators for team / corporate events, including most recently Colas and Thales. As well as the obvious direct financial benefits these days bring, they invariably lead to other opportunities which benefit the Railway.  


“Finally, thanks to our recently elected new board member Steve Featherstone, we’re also exploring use of the SVR as a training facility for infrastructure maintenance companies. We have great opportunities for this without the complexities associated with doing such activities on a busy main line route.  

“In summary, the key objective is to build the SVR’s reputation as a trusted partner of the main-line rail industry, and this is already leading to substantial commercial opportunities as well as exciting engineering benefits.” 

Editor’s note: The concept of diversification is not entirely new for the SVR. For example, in 1999 the Railway was used to commission the then-new Class 175 units and in 2012 newly-overhauled Metropolitan Railway E Class 0-4-4T No. 1 underwent running-in trials. In 2015, the SVR leased the Stourport Branch to companies for training in track relaying.  

Photo: 70000 'Britannia' on a loaded test run, leaving Bewdley on 1st February 2022. Bob Green

Survival Fund news

Managing director Gus Dunster has highlighted the continuing importance of the SVR’s £1.5 million Survival Fund appeal, which has grown steadily to reach £385,000 since its April launch: 

“The announcements of the autumn steam and diesel galas (see separate articles) and the huge success of the corresponding spring events show the prominence of the SVR within the heritage rail sector, and how important it is that we can continue to put on events like these. 

“Our Survival Fund appeal is going to be crucial in ensuring that happens. We’ve received thousands of donations, and we’re hugely grateful for every one of them. But we need thousands more to reach our target of £1.5 million. 

“This fundraising, along with further successful events and meticulous management of costs, will be what makes the difference to the SVR’s survival.” 

Information about the Survival Fund can be found at SVR.CO.UK/survival 

Photo: 78018 leaving Bewdley on 15th April 2023 during the successful Spring Steam Gala. Kenny Felstead

78018 leaving Bewdley on 15th April 2023. Kenny Felstead.jpg

New leadership for the commercial department

Lewis Maddox and Nicky Freeman at Kidderminster station.jpg

The SVR is to split the previous role of head of commercial & visitor experience between two long-serving members of staff. 

Lewis Maddox will become visitor engagement manager and Nicky Freeman will be visitor experience manager. They will share the responsibilities of the former role equally. 

“This approach will give the Railway greater flexibility,” explained managing director Gus Dunster, “and it will ensure that each area of the business receives the attention and expertise it needs. It’s also a way of bringing a more diverse pool of skill sets to the department, by harnessing the experience and knowledge of two individuals.” 

Nicky will be responsible for the corporate, food and beverage, weddings and retail side of the business, whilst Lewis will look after ticketing, programming, CRM, events and education.

Together, they will oversee the commercial operation while also providing mutual support and collaborating in areas as required by the business. This arrangement will ensure the organisation's needs are met, whilst allowing for flexibility and shared responsibilities.  

Their first focus will be to build a strong and capable team through a restructuring process, in order to deliver the 2023 programme and commercial activities to the SVR's high standards. This will provide a strong foundation for the company as it moves forward into what is going to be a considerable period of change. 

Gus added, “Together Lewis and Nicky bring more than 25 years of SVR service, knowledge and dedication and I hope you will join me in wishing them both well in their new roles and will provide support to them in the future.”  

Extra summer Saturday service

The Railway has announced that it has found some flexibility in the budget to add a morning shuttle service from Bridgnorth to Highley on selected Saturdays during the summer season, when the current ‘Timetable B’ operates. This enhanced operation will be titled ‘Timetable C’. SVR Holdings’ managing director Gus Dunster explains. 

The additional train will depart at 10.30am and will enable us to get passengers ‘out’ on the line earlier in the day, if starting their day at Bridgnorth. The train will be formed of two carriages and will be heritage diesel-hauled. It will run on Saturdays from 22nd July to 2nd September. We hope this additional service will successfully attract passengers to join the Railway at Bridgnorth, and that it will enhance their experience while they are with us. 


The shuttle will return empty to Bridgnorth, as the return time will need to vary from Saturday to Saturday because of other traffic requirements, such as charter trains.  

We’re adding this shuttle service because we hope it will attract enough passengers to not only cover costs but also make some additional profit. It will run on Saturdays only because this is our busiest day of the week, and we are expecting higher numbers during the peak summer season. 

If this timetable proves popular, we will look to add it on other dates. We look forward to and appreciate volunteer support in covering these short but important turns, as we launch into our busy summer period.  

What's coming up?

Themed events for summer on the SVR

Summer of Science.jpg

An extensive programme of themed fun is planned to keep visitors to the SVR busy this summer.  

Summer of Science runs Thursday to Sunday from 22nd July to 3rd September, delighting lovers of science with exciting interactive exhibits and workshops. Activities will be taking place at The Engine House including Sublime Science (as seen on Dragon’s Den),  TrainTime UK’s giant trainset and nine-hole crazy golf! And on 5th August, there'll be a hands-on workshop with expert geologists Geofest. 

Day of Dance on 29th July: Five Morris dancing groups and a festive display of handkerchiefs and bells across the line

Live-steam model railway Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July at Kidderminster


Display of supercars on 6th August at Bridgnorth  

Vintage Transport Extravaganza 12th and 13th August: steam-powered traction engines, buses, motorbikes, cars, tractors and other rarities on display across the line


Food & Craft Fayre 19th and 20th August at The Engine House, Highley

Please help the Railway by publicising the events. Freedom-of-the-Line tickets include a free return visit (terms and conditions apply) so visitors will get two Severn Valley Railway visits this summer for the price of one! 

To find out more about these themed events visit

New dining services launching

After the success of the SVR’s latest premium dining offering, the Railway is pleased to launch two exciting mid-range dining options. 

Fans of Asian cuisine will rejoice, as the SVR launches a Chinese-inspired dining experience, the Oriental Express (12th August), and sister service, the Spice Train (29th July), which boasts the fragrant flavours of India. Both feature delicious dishes handcrafted by Paisley Flour Catering and services depart from Kidderminster at 7pm.  

Like all SVR dining services, these experiences offer a relaxing and leisurely journey through stunning countryside along the historic Severn Valley line.  

Working members and shareholders with passes or vouchers that permit complimentary travel can take advantage of a special discounted offer, with half-price tickets at £25. A limited number of these are available, so booking early is advised. Visitor experience manager Nicky Freeman said: 

“We’re confident these experiences will prove very popular, and this is an exciting opportunity for members and shareholders to enjoy these experiences at a discounted rate. Please note that accompanying friends and family without working member passes or complimentary travel tickets will need to pay the regular ticket price but can be incorporated into your booking.” 

To book discounted tickets, please call the SVR visitor services team on 01562 757900, and have membership or shareholder details ready.  

Oriental Express image.jpg

SVR Company Limited AGM - without the hog roast 


A reminder that the Annual General Meeting of the SVR Company Limited (the Guarantee Company) will take place this Saturday 15th July at 2.00pm at Kidderminster Railway Museum. The recent issue of SVR News included relevant AGM documentation. 

Timetable B is in operation. Members travelling to the AGM on scheduled services from SVR stations will need to take the 11.55am steam service from Bridgnorth, with a diesel service returning from Kidderminster at 3.30pm. 

Unfortunately the traditional informal ‘thank you evening’ for working members has had to be cancelled because of low attendance numbers.


Instead, the SVR Company is offering each member of staff a voucher for £4.50 for food or drink, to be redeemed this coming weekend. Vouchers can be obtained from the booking offices at Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, or printed out from the recent NBI announcing the event cancellation.   

On behalf of the staffing committee, Lawrence Mortimer explained: "The £4.50 vouchers represent what we'd put aside towards the cost of the evening, and is a gesture of thanks to working members.

"We'll also use the raffle prizes that had been secured for the August monthly volunteer reward scheme instead."


Fifty years with Fifties

The Fifty Fund and Class 50 Alliance will hold a special evening event on 9th September with their honorary president, Geoff Hudson. 


The Fund’s Dawn Spencer said: “We’re delighted to announce this event. Geoff’s railway career spanned 50 years, and as fleet manager at Plymouth’s Laira depot, he was closely associated with the class. As a bonus it will be a class 50 running turn on the Railway during the day too.“ 


Gus Dunster added: “I can’t recommend this highly enough to anyone with an interest in diesel traction. With over 50 years' experience in rail traction engineering, Geoff certainly has some tales to tell and his style of presentation alongside accompanying footage is always top notch!” 


The event will be hosted at the Valley Suite, Kidderminster Town station starting at 7.30pm. Tickets (£10) and further information can be found at   

Class 50 Alliance special evening event September 2023.jpg

Across the Railway

A safer SVR 

The Railway currently operates three local safety forums, Bridgnorth, Bewdley and Kidderminster (see Express Points, May 2021). Due to a change in personnel, a recruitment process is under way and it is looking for personnel across all three forums, as well as an ideal candidate to lead the Bewdley forum. Health and safety manager Richard Morris said: 

“The local safety forums are proving to be an essential on-the-ground part of the SVR’s commitment to develop a safer working environment. The SVR safety committee works closely with the local forums to address, rectify, or act on concerns raised. The committee then reports directly to the SVR Holdings board and can feed any outcomes from board level back to the safety forums.” 

In addition, the Railway is also looking for personnel for a new forum with a commercial focus. The commercial forum will help guide and influence the events, catering, retail, and visitor aspects of the railway’s operation. Volunteers are not required to be health and safety specialists or hold any specialised qualifications; support will be given as necessary.  

Inside the improved loco works earlier this year, with Dunrobin, 7812 and 82045. Will Mars

Anyone interested in any of these opportunities should contact   

Photo: Inside the improved loco works earlier this year, with 'Dunrobin', 7812 and 82045. Will Marsh

HOPS photo ID

The Railway’s use of HOPS (Heritage Operations Processing System) continues to develop, and as explained in December’s Express Points, HOPS will be implementing the electronic sign-on function. This will also see a mass roll-out of the HOPS ID cards.   


A plea from health & safety manager Richard Morris is: “PLEASE ensure you upload a photo to your HOPS account. This must be on a plain, light background, similar to a passport-style photo. Thank you.” 


For issues relating to accounts and user logins, please contact or phone 01299 401776, or  

Permit-to-work: hot works

An essential permit-to-work (PTW) system is now in place for anyone involved in hot works’, taska which involve significant heat or spark production. Health and safety manager Richard Morris explains.  


The procedure and examples of hot works are included in NBI-H-1091 Permit to Work - Hot Works. Please can all paid and voluntary working parties implement this process, in addition to risk assessment and method statements. This is a direct stipulation of the SVR’s insurance provider: failure to follow the process could mean that in the event of a fire causing damage to or loss of our assets, some of which are irreplaceable, there may be no financial payout. 

The rollout follows a successful trial at Bridgnorth ESMP (Engineering Services Motive Power). There are two areas of exemption, Bridgnorth boiler shop and the metal fabrication area inside the ESMP shed.  

Fitter fabricator Brian Humphries gas cutting plate work for a new white metalling bench a

Fitter-fabricator Brian Humphries gas-cutting plate-work for a new white-metalling bench as part of the shed improvements. Lesley Carr

Progress towards the next phase in Bridgnorth Yard

The first set of donated turnout components for Bridgnorth yard from Lowdham Station herit

The first set of donated turnout components for Bridgnorth yard was delivered to Kidderminster last month. This came from Lowdham station, between Nottingham and Newark. 


Infrastructure manager Chris Bond said: "We are grateful to David Moore and Lowdham Railway Heritage for this valuable donation. The unit is in good condition complete with most of the special chairs.” 


David Moore of Lowdham Railway Heritage said: “We saved Lowdham signalbox when it became redundant in 2016, and it opened to the public in 2021 for visits. 


“A length of headshunt was left and the cattle dock disconnected from the main line, with these (No 5) points leading nowhere in the middle. 18 months ago, when Network Rail recovered and cut up for scrap some of the track. I asked that the main points components from the last existing set of points at Lowdham could be left for a heritage railway to use. It’s these switches and crossings we have given to the SVR.” 


Chris added: “We are still arranging for two further sets of donated components for the next phase of the yard project.”  

Photo: The first set of donated turnout components for Bridgnorth yard from Lowdham Station Heritage trust, near Nottingham in June 2023. Chris Bond

Top hygiene rating for the Valley Suite and King & Castle

The Valley Suite and King & Castle in Kidderminster have achieved the top rating of ‘very good’ in the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) for six consecutive years. Wyre Forest’s regulatory services congratulated the teams for the achievement in food safety inspections. 

The FHRS rating scheme helps consumers make informed choices about where they eat by providing information on food establishments' hygiene standards. The triple-five rating demonstrates the dedication of the staff in maintaining a high level of cleanliness in their food preparation areas. 

Nicky Freeman, the SVR’s visitor experience manager, paid tribute to the team: “This achievement is a testament to the SVR’s consistent commitment to maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and food safety. It really is an impressive accomplishment to sustain such a high rating over an extended period.”  

The bar at the King & Castle.jpg
Food hygiene rating.jpg

Rolling stock

Good news from Bridgnorth MPD

The first sections of boiler cladding refitted to 13268 at Bridgnorth Loco Works on 27th J

There is good news from the loco works and MPD this month, but as Bridgnorth shedmaster Martin White reports, as is often the case, the good news may have strings attached! 

Following a cold inspection and a hot, in-service inspection, as well as a review of maintenance and service records, Ivatt class 4, 43106 ('The Flying Pig’) has been granted an extension to its boiler ticket by the independent boiler surveyor until the middle of January 2024. The surveyor’s report states: 

‘A review of the inspection, operation, repairs, and maintenance history together with current conditions of operation has been undertaken. This review indicates that such a postponement will not give rise to danger.’  

The Railway needs to notify the ORR (Office of Road and Rail, enforcing authority) in writing by the middle of July. A perhaps more ominous condition concerns the steam circuit. In simple terms the circuit is the components of the loco between the regulator and the cylinders, i.e. the main steam pipes, superheater header and superheater elements. The steam circuit was tested and shown to be free of leaks during the examination. However, as was detailed in the recent edition of SVR News, some superheater elements have been blanked off due to leaks. The boiler surveyor noted in his report that should a further element fail, the locomotive should be withdrawn from service. In summary, the loco is available, but could be on borrowed time. 

GWR 813’s new dragbox arrived in Bridgnorth Loco Works on 12th July 2023. Will Marsh.png

The other good news is that the Stanier Mogul boiler has passed its examination too and the reassembly plan for the loco has immediately swung into action with the boiler currently being lagged and clad in the boiler shop ahead of being refitted into the frames. Many pre-prepared components are now being fitted, with a large team of staff working on the job. Whilst getting 2968 back into service is an important objective, the number one priority, as always within the works, is the maintenance of the running fleet. Staff could be pulled from the project at any time to carry out an exam or a running repair to an operational loco. With the above in mind, personally I wouldn’t want to place a bet on how many LMS 2-6-0 locos we might see operating at the September Steam Gala! 

And finally for this month, still on the theme of good news, it is surely worth highlighting the current exceptional appearance of most of the operating steam fleet. 75069, 7714, 21C127 ‘Taw Valley’ and 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ are all carrying virtually new paintwork. The oldest of the paintwork is on 4930, which, when washed with soap and water a few weeks ago came up gleaming. When was the last time SVR had such an exceptional presentation of locos? 

Photos: The first sections of boiler cladding refitted to 13268 at Bridgnorth Loco Works on 27th June 2023.

GWR 813’s new dragbox arrived in Bridgnorth Loco Works on 12th July 2023. Both photos credit Will Marsh

SVR at Rail Live

Locomotives 1501 and 50007 'Hercules' flew the flag for the Railway when they were exhibited at ‘Rail Live 2023’ at Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre.  

The exhibition was held on the 21st and 22nd June, bringing together the entire rail industry and attracting over 5,000 rail professionals. SVR managing director Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster said: 

“We’re very pleased to have been able to exhibit SVR-based locomotives 1501 and 50007 at Rail Live. It is important that we raise our profile in the mainstream rail industry as we seek to secure more commercial work from the sector as means to secure the future of our heritage operations.” 

SVR team members also attended the event, exploring product options and making contacts with rail plant companies with a view to offering the SVR as a potential testing facility.  Meanwhile, the p-way team had the opportunity to see the ballast undercutting machine recently developed by A P Webb Ltd that was designed and built in-house. It is hoped this machine will visit the SVR for shakedown and training in the near future. Infrastructure manager Chris Bond said: 

“We certainly will be able to provide some challenging areas of contaminated ballast that this impressive machine will be able to remove without the track being lifted. The owners and staff at A P Webb are very keen to forge a partnership with the SVR so hopefully we can look forward to working with them in the future.” 


Ex-WR pannier 1501 travelled to the event by road. Diesel-electric 50007 delivered Transport for Wales Class 756 unit 756003 by rail from Cardiff.  

SVR staff at Rail Live with 1501. Rich Morris.png
50007 Hercules at Rail Live, June 2023. Brent Cleeton.jpg

Photos: SVR staff at Rail Live with 1501. Rich Morris

50007 Hercules at Rail Live, June 2023. Brent Cleeton

SVR 46443 Fund developments

46443 at Bridgnorth in April 1967. David Rostance .jpg
46443 at Mansfield.jpeg

Ivatt 2MT 46443 has been on display in The Engine House visitor centre at Highley for 12 years following withdrawal from service due to boiler issues. The locomotive is owned by the ‘SVR 46443 Fund’ and there’s exciting news of a new charity being formed, with an appeal for help. 

The Fund’s chair Alvin Barker told Express Points: “For this incredibly useful engine to live again on the SVR there will need to be significant funds raised. The committee feels that the most appropriate way forward is to convert to a simple charity, which will give access to many sources of funds and where applicable, Gift Aid on donations.  

“This would need the approval of both the shareholders and the Charity Commission. Members’ shares would be converted to certificates of interest which cannot be sold or transferred but do initially give automatic membership of the charity. 

“Further details will be circulated on receiving a response from the Charity Commission, together with any future fund-raising projects that we propose. If you would like to help in any way, please email your interest and details of how you could support us with this project to Roger Scanlon at .”  

46443 arrived on the SVR in full working order on 22nd April 1967 and rapidly became a stalwart of the fleet. The locomotive was reliable, economical, and well suited to footplate experience courses and shorter six- or seven-coach trains. The engine fully deserved its nickname, 'The People's Engine' due to the sheer number of SVR volunteers, and others, who contributed to its purchase during 1984. 

Photos: 46443 at Bridgnorth in April 1967. David Rostance  

46443 at Mansfield in 1953, an early claim to fame. SVR 46443 Fund  


In memoria

The passing of volunteers is a sad occasion for both family and the Railway. We pay respects to those leaving us and send our deepest sympathies to their families.  


Pat Heap passed away on 20th June, after a couple of years of failing health. Pat led a busy life and in 1999 she joined the Railway’s Junior Club, assuming the roles of club supervisor and later secretary. She was also appointed secretary for the finance committee. In addition, Pat served on the on-train buffet team. Her funeral has been arranged for Monday 17th July at St Augustine’s Church, Droitwich at 10.30am, followed by cremation at 11.30am. The family invite friends for drinks at The Hop Pole, Friar Street, Droitwich from 12.30pm. 


Sheila Cronin passed away peacefully on 23rd June 2023, after a short illness. With fellow SVR pioneer volunteer Frank Cronin, she formed a close association with the Railway and leaves a great many friends on the SVR, on their ‘local’, the East Lancashire Railway, and on the mainline scene. Sheila’s tribute page can be accessed at  Her funeral will take place today (13th July) at 1.30pm, with the wake being held from 3.00pm until 7.00pm at the ‘Trackside’ pub at Bury Bolton Street station, East Lancashire Railway. 


Barry Moreton, Volunteer Liaison. 


Space precludes fuller obituaries appearing in Express Points. These appear in internal NBIs and later in SVR News.  

Other news

AGM report for SVR (Holdings) 

Bridgnorth Yard works in progress in March 2023. Nick Yarwood.jpeg

Interim chair Chris Walton welcomed everyone on 10th June, and paid tribute to the previous Chair Mike Ball, who stood down in March for personal reasons.  Chris added that the first quarter of the year had been difficult for the board with the resignations of three directors and the death of a fourth. He paid tribute to long-standing director Tony Bending who died suddenly in February. 

Chris explained that after several months of work it was realised in April that against the poor economic reality occurring on a monthly basis during 2022, a business plan – more robust in its outlook than ever before - was a financial necessity to address the forecast revenue/cost implications expected to continue during 2023 leading into 2024. The fact that 2022 saw 90,000 fewer visitors than 2019 formed the basis of the current Survival Fund appeal, via the Charitable Trust, for £1.5million. 

Chris highlighted the real successes this year including Open House and the Steam Gala in April with star attraction ‘Pendennis Castle’, resulting in coverage on both BBC and ITV regional news programmes.  March 2023 had seen the replacement of life-expired points at the entry to Bridgnorth loco yard, funded through the Charitable Trust. This will facilitate the next phase of re-modelling Bridgnorth loco yard.  April 2023 saw a partnering with Bewdley-based Paisley Flour Catering, and the return of the popular on-train dining operation delivered to the high standard expected of a prestige dining experience. 2023 also sees the re-introduction of photo charters and footplate experiences. 

In the question and answer session, Chris explained that there are no plans at the moment to change shareholder benefits. 

Dave Darlaston of auditors Crowe Clarke answered a question about what would happen if the SVR were declared insolvent. He explained about liquidation of assets by administrators in cases of insolvency, where assets could be sold off. These tend to be the easiest assets to sell, which anecdotally is the land, which in the case of the SVR would be the large station sites. 

A question was asked as to whether the SVRH board had considered selling assets to raise funds to reduce the debt, eg the Black Five locomotive and BR Mk1 carriages.  Managing director Gus Dunster explained that the sale of assets is ‘absolutely on the radar’, and that the business model for heritage railways must change if they are to remain viable. 

At the AGM, Andy Barr, Chris Thomas and Chris Walton were reappointed as directors. Mark Whitehouse and Steve Featherstone were formally voted in as directors, having been co-opted earlier this year.

Photo: Bridgnorth Yard works in progress in March 2023. Nick Yarwood

A ban on some e-vehicles

From earlier this month, the Railway prohibited the carrying of e-scooters, e-skateboards, e-unicycles and hoverboards on its trains. A similar ban is in effect with many main-line train operating companies. The lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in these items are not manufactured to any specific standards and this prohibition will remain until greater regulation is in place. 


The carriage of electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters and e-bikes will continue as they meet greater safety standards. 


Should Li-ion batteries overheat, they can release toxic and explosive vapours. Such fires are difficult to extinguish and fire and rescue services may let them burn themselves out, concentrating on minimising the spread and effects of the fire. The outcome could be devasting to the SVR and its century-old heritage assets.


Photo: 21C127 Taw Valley at Bewdley on 2nd June 2023 with the Bewdley Bike Week headboard. Kieran Hardy 

Taw Valley at Bewdley on 2nd June 2023 with the Bike Week headboard. Kieran Hardy.jpeg

Step back to the 1940s

The 1940s event returned to the Railway over the two weekends at the end of June and beginning of July. This superb gallery of images comes from our volunteer photographers.  


1940s committee chairman David Brattan said: “On behalf of the whole 1940s organising committee, I would like to thank everyone who helped to make this event go so well. Passenger numbers were good, helped by good weather.”  


Managing director Gus Dunster added: “Thanks to everyone across the Railway who’s contributed to yet another very successful event, showing the SVR at its very best! Really well done - it’s greatly appreciated!” 

Click on the gallery to see larger size images, descriptions and credits.

v1 13th July 2023

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