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June 2023

Three generations of rail motive power as GWR 7714, 47712 and Castle HST set meet at Bewdl
Three generations of rail motive power as GWR 7714, 47712 and Castle HST set meet at Bewdley during the SVR Spring Diesel Festival on 20th May 2023. Kevin Whitehurst

Welcome to your latest edition of Express Points!

It’s now feeling as though the season is well and truly underway. We’ve already got two highly successful Galas under our belts – and there’s a report on last month’s Spring Diesel Festival in this issue. 

We lead on news about the progress of the Survival Fund appeal, which is seeing widespread support from both those closely associated with the Railway and the general public. It’s particularly heartening to learn about the marvellous fundraising efforts of one young heritage rail fan who’s determined to help his favourite heritage line. 

We look forward to the next ‘big’ event, our Step Back to the 1940s weekends, and also this coming weekend’s Real Ale Festival. There’s a report on why counter-terrorism online training is something everyone who works at the Railway can and should undertake, and we go out down the line with the SVR’s very own ‘P-way pirates’ for some serious weed-killing activity. 

There are plenty of rolling-stock updates and news from across the wonderful SVR – all in your June 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 13th July

What's new?

Survival Fund making good progress 

Earlier this week, the Railway announced that its Survival Fund appeal had reached £320,000. The appeal was launched in April by SVR (Holdings) Plc, the SVR Company Ltd and the SVR Charitable Trust, to ensure the future of the Railway.   


The SVR contacted by letter around 25,000 shareholders, members and donors, to set out the challenges the Railway is now facing. Like most heritage organisations, the SVR has been profoundly affected by changes in the financial climate caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, post-Brexit supply chain issues and the cost-of-living crisis. Rapid rises in the cost of utilities, fuel and supplies across the board have all taken their toll and - compounded by a fall in visitor numbers - the SVR now finds itself in a position of serious financial risk. 


To combat this and implement longer-term plans for its future, the SVR is urgently looking to raise £1.5 million.  


“We’re seeing the appeal total grow steadily,” said managing director Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster. “There has been a very encouraging response to the mailing. We place huge value on the support of everyone who has helped the Severn Valley Railway to grow from its humble beginnings in the 1960s into one of the UK’s leading, award-winning and much-loved heritage railways.  

“We have been as agile as possible in reacting to this fast-changing environment, reviewing and re-planning all aspects of the business and reducing costs, however, we now urgently need money to ensure operations can continue throughout 2023 and thrive in 2024. We would not be making this appeal if it wasn’t completely necessary for the survival of the Railway.” 


Meanwhile, one of the SVR’s younger supporters, silver pass-holder Alfie Hewish, is doing his bit to help. Eight-year-old Alfie from Telford has embarked on a sponsored quest to have his photo taken on as many footplates as possible during the 2023 running season. As well as hoping to cover the SVR home fleet, Alfie will also be keeping his eyes open for guest locomotives and visiting other railways. Alfie’s JustGiving page is already open and as Express Points published, it had raised £435. 


“I really love the SVR,” explained Alfie. “And I want to do something to help them. I know that things are tough at the moment, so this is something I can do. The SVR is my happy place, and I love everything to do with it.” 


For further information and to donate to the SVR’s survival fund visit:   

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

Survival Fund making good progress 

Record-breaking Diesel Festival

The SVR’s four-day Spring Diesel Festival was record-breaking, not only for its visitor attendance but also for the high number of locomotives it involved.  


More than 6,500 enthusiasts flocked to the line, the highest number of visitors the SVR has ever recorded for a diesel enthusiast event, and they were treated to the largest collection of diesel traction ever brought together at a heritage railway. Attendance exceeded the hoped-for passenger numbers by 44%, and secondary spend was up by 35% on the previous year’s event. 


Putting together such an intensive and complex event, with 22 locomotives in service and even more on display, was the result of months of careful planning and a wide network of heritage and main-line friends and contacts, as the SVR’s managing director Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster explained: 


“There were a few nights burning the midnight oil to bring this together, but yet again, the SVR has shown its true colours and talents. My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who’s worked tirelessly to deliver another event, showcasing our railway at its very best. We’ve put on an event that is at the pinnacle of UK heritage railway endeavours, and we’ve done it with professionalism and pride.” 


Operations manager Matt Robinson added, “On the Thursday the line was closed by a Police incident for nearly an hour, resulting in delays. During the rest of the weekend, the timetable unfortunately slipped each day as time went on. Much of this was lost during crossing movements, partly due to the amount of people travelling and changing trains, but we certainly are not complaining about that!  


“A few small loco problems occurred during the course of the event, but all locos that experienced a fault were rectified by SVR staff and were back in service, either on the same or the following day. 20048 missed two days of the event, but the owners provided a replacement in the form of 20142, meaning we could still operate the advertised Cl20 double-header, with the originally-advertised loco returning to service on the Saturday.” 


Whilst acknowledging and celebrating the event’s success, Gus also highlighted the importance of the SVR’s £1.5 million Survival Fund appeal, which it launched earlier this year. “The success of both this event and our Spring Steam Gala in April 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. However, these events alone are not enough to sustain the Railway and 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 in order to reach our target of £1.5 million.”  

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

Record breaking Diesel Festival

Back in full swing

SVR 1940s Kidderminster Station.jpg

The SVR’s popular Step Back to the 1940s event will take place on two weekends in June and July. 

"After a break last year due to the sensitivities around the war in Ukraine, a Covid-restricted event in 2021 and the cancellation of the event in 2020, the committee are excited to return to a more traditional format for the Step Back to 1940s weekends,” explained Dave Brattan, the chairman of the organising committee. “The event portrays historically accurate displays and attractions and will see the Railway filled with costumed reenactors, period vehicles and decorated stations, immersing visitors into wartime Britain.” 

In the run-up to the event, the committee will also be getting into the period spirit early, getting out in full period garb into local communities such as Bridgnorth and Bewdley to promote the event. 

"We're taking to the streets of the SVR's neighbouring towns,” added Dave. “We’ll be dressed in authentic 1940s costumes and handing out leaflets to shoppers and visitors. It's a way of very visibly creating a stir around the events, and we're pretty sure our street promotion campaign will help to get people 'in the mood'!" 

The first of the two rip-roaring weekends of 1940s fun takes place on 24th and 25th June, with the second on 1st and 2nd July. Visitors can relive the spirit of the British home front, with an action-packed programme. 

Members of the home steam fleet will be in operation and all the stations will be dressed for an immersive 40s experience, with a wealth of attractions on offer. These include joining the congregation at a 1940s wedding, live music and dancing, as well as meeting famous figures such as Winston Churchill and Laurel and Hardy. Visitors are also warned to beware of spivs trying to sell illicit goods! 

Classic vehicles will be on display, with vehicle convoys planned between Kidderminster and Bewdley, and for those wishing to indulge in a little retail therapy, there’ll be a 1940s marketplace at The Engine House, as well as a beer tent and BBQ.  

On the Saturday evenings visitors can book for the Big Band Show, singing, swinging, and dancing into the night with a host of fantastic performers live on Kidderminster station. 

To book tickets for this unmissable event visit 

Back in full swing

Step Back to the 1940s Big Band Show – volunteer and staff discounts

Working members and paid staff can join the 1940s Big Band Show on Saturday evenings 24th June and 1st July at a discounted rate, as events manager Lewis Maddox explains on behalf of the 1940s committee: 

You can join the fun and dance, swing and sing into the night with Kalamazoo, the Ronnies and the customary mock air raid at Kidderminster Town station. The King & Castle will be open throughout, and there’ll be an additional pop-up bar as well as ‘grab & go’ meals and snacks from the Valley Suite.

A train for Band Show ticket-holders only departs from Bridgnorth at 6.30pm, arriving in Kidderminster at 7.30. There’s a return journey to Bridgnorth, departing Kidderminster at 11pm.

Each working member can purchase one discounted ticket for each night at £5 (regular price £15.) As always, we only have a limited number of tickets for sale, so make sure you purchase early to avoid disappointment. Discounted tickets will not be available on the day.

1940s big band.jpg

To purchase your ticket, login to and in the top right of the screen enter the discount code shown in the recent NBI-H-1075. Then click submit and select an adult ticket for the Big Band Show evening. The £10 discount will be applied at the checkout.

Thanks for your continued support, it’s shaping up to be another magnificent event!

Photo: 1940s Big Band Show 28th June 2009. SVR photo library

1940s Big Band Show – staff discounts

Love local!

Taw Valley's driver waits for the off at Bewdley on 3rd June 2023. Anthony Carwithen.jpg

People living in postcodes near the SVR will be able to take advantage of a special discount when they visit on weekdays in June.

The SVR has announced that anyone with an address in the DY10, DY11, DY12, DY13, DY14, WV15 and WV16 postcodes can receive a 33% discount on Freedom-of-the-Line tickets throughout the month on Thursday and Fridays.


Each ticket purchased also comes with a voucher for a free return visit later in the year. Proof of address will be required, such as a driving licence or utility bill.

“We want to encourage local people to come and pay us an early summer visit,” said events manager Lewis Maddox. “Sometimes, you forget the marvellous things that are on your own doorstep, and so we’re giving local residents an extra incentive to come and enjoy a superb day out on the railway. Entry to our visitor centre at The Engine House, Highley is also included. There’s no charge for children under four years old, and dogs are welcome and also travel free.”

To pre-book local residents’ tickets, please visit Discounted tickets can also be bought on the day of travel, on production of proof of address.

Photo: Taw Valley's driver waits for the off at Bewdley on 3rd June 2023. Anthony Carwithen

Love local!
SVR Holdings Plc AGM 

Reminder for SVR Holdings Plc AGM 

A reminder that the AGM of SVR (Holdings) Plc will be held this Saturday 10th June at St George’s Hall, Bewdley, starting at 2.30pm. Deadlines to vote online or by proxy have passed, so shareholders intending to vote may do so in person at the AGM. 

Notification letters were sent with a copy of the SVR shareholder handbook, in line with the recommendations made by last year’s shareholder review. The handbook can also be accessed at

AGM documents, including Your Share newsletter and directors' CVs, are available at . When you open the documents, you will be asked for a password. This was sent to you in the letter or email notifying you about the AGM.

Karen Bromell is the first point of contact for the shareholder community with the Railway, and can be contacted at and the direct line is 01562 757907.


Timetable B is in operation on the day of the AGM. From Kidderminster you’ll need to take the 12.45pm with returns at 3.47pm, 5.07pm and 6.15pm. From the north you’ll need to take the 11.55am service from Bridgnorth with a return at 3.50pm only. 

Finally, SVR (Holdings) is to move towards communications becoming online / email by default, to allow more regular and cost-effective communications. It holds roughly 4,000 email addresses from its 12,000 shareholders and needs to increase this number dramatically. The Railway is encouraging all shareholders to register their email addresses with this form . Thank you. 

What's coming up?

MPD guided tours prove very popular

GWR 4150 in Bridgnorth Works during an earlier guided tour on 2nd April 2023. John Sherrat

Dozens of people have already snapped up the opportunity for a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the motive power depot at Bridgnorth. Taking place on selected weekends this month and next, some tours have already sold out, and others have just a few places left. 

The groups are being kept deliberately small, with a maximum of eight people per tour. Visitors will get up close to a range of locomotives in varying stages of repair and overhaul, including the new-build Riddles BR 3MT 2-6-2T No 82045 and Stanier Mogul No 13268, which is nearing the end of its overhaul. 

A number of the SVR’s volunteers will lead the tours, sharing their experience and passion with participants. Shedmaster Martin White has volunteered at the railway for 47 years, and says visitors are guaranteed a real insight into what goes on:  

“There’ll be a mixture of routine maintenance and heavy overhaul tasks taking place, on both the SVR’s home fleet as well as contract work on locomotives owned by other organisations. The youngest steam locomotives are now more than 60 years old and the oldest are well over 100, and they’re all at different stages of their repair, from almost complete to stripped down into basic components.”

The hour-long tours will take in the locomotive yard, works, machine shop and paint shop. The first tour of each day has been timed so passengers arriving for the first service of the day from Bridgnorth at 11.55 can fit it in before catching their train. The six dates will run as a trial, and the Railway plans to add more in the coming months.

Limited places remain on 17th and 18th June, plus 8th, 9th, 15th and 16th July, and can be booked at . The price is £4 when purchased with a travel ticket, or £8 as a stand-alone experience.  


GWR 4150 in Bridgnorth Works during an earlier guided tour on 2nd April 2023. John Sherratt

MPD guided tours prove very popular

Enchanted Express is now on sale

Last week saw the launch of ticket sales for the Enchanted Express, the Christmas experience for families that has proved extremely popular in the last few years. Four services a day will run from Bridgnorth to Highley every Saturday and Sunday from 2nd December – 24th December.  


The experience features the instantly recognisable voice of Dame Julie Walters, as she guides passengers on board the Enchanted Express, and narrates a story inspired by the poem ‘Twas the Night before Christmas. Each private compartment will receive visits from a host of costumed characters from the story. 


There’s a gift for every child, delivered by Santa Claus himself, and plenty of photo opportunities throughout the experience. 


For more information and to book tickets, visit 

All aboard the Enchanted Express!.jpg
Fun on board the Enchanted Express.jpg
Enchanted Express is now on sale

Rail Ale on the SVR this weekend!

Only With Love Firecracker.jpg
Broadoak Pheasant Plucker.png

This Friday and Saturday (9th and 10th June) there’s a Real Ale Festival at The Engine House Visitor Centre, Highley, in partnership with CAMRA and Bewdley Brewery.


Enjoy your choice from 20 cask ales, from pale ales to stouts and porters, and eight ciders and perries from more than 20 producers across Britain. Keep an eye on the event page on the SVR website for a list.  


There’ll be live music each day between midday and 3pm. Entry to The Engine House will require purchase of an SVR pint ‘glass’ for just £2. 


Timetable B is in operation. Travel by train to Highley and spend a full day at the SVR us by booking Freedom of the Line tickets or a fantastic value shorter journey from Kidderminster or Bridgnorth to Highley.


Every Freedom of the Line ticket includes a voucher for a free return visit, so you can catch up on anything you’ve missed! 

Rail Ale on the SVR this weekend!

SVR Company Limited AGM and annual hog roast

The 55th Annual General Meeting of the SVR Company (the Guarantee Company) will take place on Saturday 15th July at 2.00pm at Kidderminster Railway Museum. The next issue of Severn Valley Railway News is currently being sent to all members, along with relevant AGM information, including the usual proxy voting information. 

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


SVR Company director Lawrence Mortimer told Express Points: “The traditional hog roast (with a vegetarian option) will be held on the same day at The Engine House, Highley, as a ‘thank you evening’ for paid staff and volunteers. We have been able to extend the number of tickets available this year so, hopefully, no one will miss out!  


“Due to the financial constraints the railway is currently going through, we will be asking staff and volunteers to purchase tickets towards the cost of the event at £10 pp. This includes train travel, food, music, raffle and two free drinks as per previous years.” 


An NBI will be released with details soon, including the train service from each end of the line. Tickets will be available through the SVR website or from Comberton Place. 

SVR Company AGM and annual hog roast

Counter-terrorism training 

Awareness E-Learning screen.png

Around 50 SVR volunteers and paid staff have already completed a short e-learning course about recognising and know what to do in the unlikely event of a terrorist incident, and others are being actively encouraged to sign up.

Health & safety manager Richard Morris explains more: 

In May, the Government published a Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill.

The Bill as drafted would require organisations such as the SVR to consider the threat from terrorism, implement appropriate mitigation measures and ensure responsible persons are prepared and ready to respond in the unlikely event of a potential terrorist threat. 

In anticipation of the progression of the Draft Bill, the Railway has signed up to some free e-learning from Counter Terrorism Policing, accessible at . It is particularly relevant for those who work in or visit public areas such as stations, bars, retail outlets and car parks, but we ask that as many paid staff and volunteers as possible complete this. 

The course should take no longer than 45 minutes. It can be saved at the end of each module and revisited with an attempt ID. When you have successfully completed it, please download and send your certificate to both and . Your HOPS profile will be updated. 

The first participants report that it was straightforward, interesting and engaging. They say it has made them more confident about knowing what to do when faced with suspicious behaviour or objects or receiving a bomb threat, and how to protect themselves and others in an incident where firearms are present. 

Knowing the right course of action has been proven to save lives. Please do take the time to complete this course.

Counter-terrorism training


SVR Charitable Trust update

The trustees and members of the SVR Charitable Trust gathered in Kidderminster on 27th April for the Trust’s AGM, chaired by Ron Treverton-Jones. 


The meeting demonstrated the significant impact of the Trust’s activities as well as the incredible support from donors and grant-makers in the last financial year, with £856,000 raised for important rolling stock, infrastructure and educational projects during the 12-month period.

Ron paid tribute to retiring board member David Owen OBE, thanking him for all his work and support for the various SVR companies over many years. The board and membership unanimously agreed a proposal by the Chair to elect David to the position of honorary vice president.

The trustees and members also approved the election of three new trustees to the board:

Michael Howard has supported the SVR since 1968 when he joined as a junior day member. He remained as a financial supporter until he retired in 2015 from his position as a senior manager at Worcestershire County Council, having spent all his working life in procurement in the UK, Europe and the USA in both private and public sectors. He then became a volunteer with the SVR Charitable Trust where he has managed legacies, liaising with solicitors, executors and relatives. He also acts as a host at events.

Dr Dhushyanthan Kumar holds high-profile medical roles including director of clinical audit for the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN), which manages trauma outcome data on behalf of NHS England, and roles for organisations such as the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee and East Midlands Ambulance service.

Dhushy has been a trustee of charities including BASICS (British Association for Intermediate Care) Trauma Care, Headway and the Air Ambulance Service, and has loved trains since boyhood.

Judith Meredith was introduced to the Severn Valley Railway 50 years ago and is a long-standing member and shareholder. She was a volunteer for several years.

Judith graduated in Law in 1980 and worked in insurance for over 20 years.  This gave her good analytical skills, and an understanding of working within regulatory guidance. She moved into teaching in 2004.  Both careers nurtured a deep interest in the personal development of those around her which she believes could make a valuable contribution to the SVR. 

The board is made up of trustees with a vast array of experience, including representatives from SVR (Holdings) Plc (Chris Walton who has replaced Mike Ball) and the SVR Company Limited (Diane Malyon), who attend regularly to ensure the Charitable Trust’s strategy best supports the needs of the Railway now and in the future. 

​The SVR Charitable Trust’s current focus is the Survival Fund to raise funds to help the Railway to overcome the difficulties that it faces because of the changes in the financial climate (see separate article for news of the appeal’s progress.) 

David Owen OBE.jpeg
Michael Howard.jpg
Dhushyanthan Kumar 2.jpg
Judith Meredith 2.jpg
SVR Charitable Trust update
Welcome to two new senior members of staff

Welcome to two new senior members of staff

Michelle Hall.jpg

The SVR recently welcomed two new members of staff, who are taking on key roles within the Railway’s senior leadership team. 

Michelle Hall takes over as Head of Finance from Louise Whitehouse who left the Railway a few weeks ago. 

Michelle spent 11 years in accountancy practices in the Birmingham and Black Country areas, preparing accounts and conducting audits, predominantly for engineering businesses. 

She then moved into industry, spending four years working for a large firm of chartered surveyors in their finance department, followed by 10 years as a management accountant for various large manufacturing companies (Thorlux Lighting PLC, Worcester Bosch, The Liberty Steel Group), later managing the finance team. Michelle followed these roles with a four-and-a-half year spell as company accountant for a large pet store chain.  

Miranda King.jpg

Miranda King joins as HR Manager, taking on a key role that has been vacant for some time. 


With extensive generalist HR experience, Miranda started her career in London with ICI and Astra Zeneca. Following a move to the Midlands, she joined Poundland, growing the HR team over a nine-year period. Miranda then worked as HR Manager for an electronics healthcare manufacturer for 18 years, before taking on an interim role with the police

Managing director Gus Dunster said, “I’m sure you will join me in extending a warm SVR welcome to both Michelle and Miranda, and please do say hello to them when you see them around the Railway.”  

In memoria

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

Geoff Matthews passed away on 6th May in Leicester, aged 78. Geoff worked for BR in Leicester and on mainline steam all over the UK. He was an SVR volunteer for over 40 years, based at Bridgnorth MPD where he was a member of ‘The Leander Gang’ and ‘Petal & Co’, a gang predominantly from the East Midlands with Brian Elliott (aka ‘Petal’), himself living and working on BR in Leicester. Those friends Geoff made whilst working on heritage steam locos were very important to him.  

Colin Clark passed on 12th May. From 1971, Colin was a founder member of the SVR Wordsley and Stourbridge (now Stourbridge) branch, acting as speaker/secretary until four years ago. His support and assistance to the finance committee during his time with us was invaluable. Colin also administered the Railway’s fundraising 100 Club (later 200 Club) until earlier this year, raising finance to support volunteer-based activities across the Railway. His funeral is arranged for 12.30pm on 16th June at St. James Church, Wollaston, Stourbridge, DY8 3SE, when family and Railway friends will remember him. 

Barry Moreton, Volunteer Liaison. 


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

In memoria

Class 50 groups celebrate Gus’s 30 years at the helm

During the very successful Spring Diesel Festival, members of the Class 50 Alliance (C50A) and The Fifty Fund celebrated the contribution of Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster with a surprise presentation.  

Gus is vice-chair of SVR (Holdings), and is currently the Railway’s managing director. He was also chair of the loco groups until he stepped down in December 2022, after 30 years’ inspiring leadership. 

During that time, the C50A has grown to become custodians of six class 50 diesel-electric locomotives, based in the superb Kidderminster TMD (diesel depot). The Fifty Fund has become the vital fundraising and sales arm of the Alliance. 

Joe Burr, chair of The Fifty Fund, led the proceedings. He was joined by Geoff Hudson, the C50A honorary president and former area fleet manager at Laira depot in Plymouth. Also present was Tony Middleton, the C50A chair.


Together, they presented Gus with an engraved cut-glass crystal and commemorative book. This included photos of Gus and class 50s over the last 30 years, in which members, supporters, friends and industry partners had written a few lines, in a group effort to show their gratitude to Gus. 

Joe Burr paid tribute to Gus and his ability to use “his skills and experience to make things happen for the group and without which we would not be here today.” 

Geoff Hudson said: “I have the upmost admiration for Gus, both professionally and personally.” 

In response Gus said: “it has always been a team effort, and the group will always be very dear to me.” Fittingly, after the presentation, Gus took the helm of 50035 Ark Royal, the first class 50 to be preserved by the organisation, on a train to Bridgnorth.


Thanks to Dawn Spencer from the C50A and The Fifty Fund for their help with this article.

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

C50A celebrates Gus’s 30 years at the helm

Across the railway

The P-way Pirates go on the offensive!

As the season kicks into full swing, and the recent change to the timetable allows more steam locomotive operation, the Severn Valley Railway has invested heavily in its weed-killing operation, to help mitigate against the risk of lineside fires, and to ensure the future of the track bed.  


The hope is to avoid a repeat of summer 2022, when the Railway had to operate diesel-only services over three separate periods.  


Straight after the conclusion of the Spring Diesel Festival, some of the permanent way team spent three days travelling the line at 5 mph and spraying unruly foliage from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. 


“Issues are caused by the age of the track and infrastructure,” said permanent way manager Barry Light. “This means weeds naturally grow in the formation. The SVR doesn’t have a ballast cleaner, which means, unfortunately, that we’re offering perfect conditions for weeds to grow.   

“May and the beginning of June is the perfect time to do this, as we can knock out every weed that causes us trouble, extremely cost-effectively!” 


Watch the video here to find out more about the weed-killing train, the chemicals used, and to meet the P-way Pirates!   

The P-way Pirates go on the offensive!

New task force! 

Spot re-timbering at Bewdley South. Brent Cleeton.jpg

The SVR is looking for people with construction and landscaping experience, as it seeks to set up a new mobile Infrastructure Task Force to look after its 16 miles of heritage line. The line encompasses 35 bridges and major structures, along with retaining walls and numerous culverts, some of which desperately need urgent attention to prevent incurring greater costs later. 


The Railway needs volunteers to undertake tasks such as: 


  • Brickwork and stonework repairs 

  • Vegetation clearance 

  • Laying and repairing drainage 

  • Concrete works 

  • Bricklaying 

These tasks will also include the opportunity to work on projects such as Bridgnorth Yard. Project manager Nick Yarwood said: 


“Have you retired and would like to put your knowledge to good use? Or would you like to do something at weekends that’s different to your day job? By giving your time and experience to carry out repairs and preventative maintenance, it will be the equivalent of raising significant funds. This not only keeps the Railway going, but you’ll make new contacts and friends. If you’d like to make a difference, we’d like to hear from you!” 


Please contact the Volunteer Liaison Office by email: or phone 01299 401776 Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9am to 6pm, or leave a voicemail at other times. 

Spot re-timbering at Bewdley South. Brent Cleeton

New task force! 

Last post for Arley Signal No 25! 

Last year, Arley’s signal No 25 was identified as suffering with rot and has since been removed for restoration, although the poor condition of the post means this may not be possible. 


The drive for restoration is due to the belief that the Up Distant signal is the last of the original signals installed on the Railway when Arley, Highley and Hampton Loade were signalled in 1883. However, on removal on Wednesday 10th May the signal post was found to be in somewhat worse condition than anticipated and it was necessary to cut the post off at ground level.


In addition, further investigation revealed a large split at the top of the post. Paul Marshall is one of the volunteers leading this project, and he told Express Points


“We had to make the decision - do we repair the existing post and end up with something like Trigger’s broom which will have very little of the original post left and will not last particularly long, or do we take the very tempting alternative and go for a new post.


Unfortunately, we have reached the decision that the old post simply isn't fit for reuse, so we are going to have to buy a new post. This is very sad, but the old post was nearly 150 years old.” 


The new post is likely to be made of responsibly-sourced green heart, the same type of wood as the Bewdley South bracket signal. The new post will have a life expectancy of more than 50 years. 


During the interim period, a temporary distant board occupies the place of signal 25.

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

Last post for Arley Signal No 25! 

ANPR car parking comes to Bewdley

New ANPR arrangements at Bewdley station. Bob Pockney.jpg

Bewdley now has an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) car parking system. It’s a similar system to those at the SVR’s car parks at Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, and covers all times and all areas at Bewdley past the main gate.   

Head of infrastructure Chris Bond told Express Points: “Staff and working members must register their vehicle on a ‘white list’ at to exempt them from paying for parking and to avoid incurring a non-payment charge. Vehicles already registered on the list for Kidderminster and Bridgnorth will automatically be included for Bewdley. 

“Bewdley is different to Bridgnorth and Kidderminster in that the shops and buffet have very limited opening times. Should visitors wish only to use the shops and buffet, then there are options to pay for shorter periods as detailed in the signage.   

“A tablet is provided in the booking hall mostly to facilitate free parking for registered disabled visitors and longer stay deliveries/collections. It will require a code (which is changed regularly) from booking office staff to be able to enter the vehicle’s registration number. Another tablet is in the yard signing on point should staff or volunteers need to temporarily register a vehicle which is not on the ‘white list’.” 

Photo:  New ANPR arrangements at Bewdley station. Bob Pockney

ANPR car parking comes to Bewdley

Rolling Stock

Bridgnorth MPD update

It’s been a rather unusual start to the year for regular Bridgnorth loco operational volunteers, as Bridgnorth’s volunteer shedmaster Martin White reports:


With all public services originating from Kidderminster, the current timetable requires all steam locomotives to start and finish their day at Bewdley loco shed. There are sound business and financial reasons for doing this, however it means that those loco cleaners, drivers, firemen, JCB coaling machine drivers etc who are normally based at Bridgnorth are having to get used to a different approach to their operational volunteering. 


In order to maintain their familiarisation and competence, those who have steam loco safety-critical competencies (drivers, fireman, lighting up cleaners) are doing some rostered turns from Bewdley shed. The usual full-day turn of two round-trips is being split into two half-days, in order to enable more crews to have more frequent but shorter operational sorties. 


At Bridgnorth, volunteer staff are still routinely rostered as loco cleaners, shed driver and fireman, JCB operator and duty shed master (DSM), but the day is generally more leisurely than previously, with a start time of 8.30am instead of 7.00am or earlier. Although there are usually no locos to be cleaned and no steam to be raised, there are always other tasks to be tackled, often from a weekend ‘job sheet’ prepared by the mid-week paid staff, of jobs to be carried out to assist them with repairs, overhauls and even contract sales etc. 

In recent weeks this job sheet has contained a varied selection, including: 


  • Work on 13268’s tender, including drilling and fitting new brake blocks 

  • 4930 ‘wash and brush up’, ahead of it resuming operational duties 

  • Numerous tasks on 4085 ‘Dunrobin’ including work on the bunker, frames and spring hangers 

  • 75069 pipework and gaskets 

  • 43106 jobs on the blast pipe and petticoat (the cowl inside the smokebox that directs the blast up the chimney) 

  • Packaging up water treatment chemicals for sales orders – a simple but valuable task that frees up paid staff for more constructive and productive work 


Some loco department members have also been providing volunteer support in other areas, for example, serving in the Railwayman’s Arms and Bridgnorth refreshment room, or carriage cleaning at Kidderminster. 


The shed isn’t totally bereft of early morning steam activities, however. Bridgnorth has seen the occasional light engine departure for a loco swap, and steam locos were operating from Bridgnorth shed during the Spring Steam Gala, a situation that will be repeated over the two 1940s weekends. 


Having done a couple of days as Bridgnorth DSM over the last two weekends, I am happy to report that whilst there was some disappointment at there being no locos to prepare first thing in the morning, the atmosphere and enjoyment during the day remains positive amongst the hard core of regular volunteers.

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

Bridgnorth MPD update
Steam gallery 

Steam gallery 

While the hugely successful Spring Diesel Festival took much of the limelight recently, the SVR-based steam fleet continues to delight visitors, as these images show. Thanks are due to the SVR’s volunteer photographers who continue to share their images with us. 

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

A crowdfunder appeal for 813 

The charitable GWR 813 Preservation Fund has launched a Crowdfunder appeal for locomotive 813’s new dragbox. 


“The current cost for this project is £15,000,” said trustee Nick Baxter. “We’re making this appeal because on the back of the previous winter’s unplanned boiler retube, 813 now faces this sizeable repair cost, and the locomotive has missed over a year of revenue in steaming fees, both at the SVR and other railways.” 


The repair is necessary because during the 2022 Spring Steam Gala, 813 unfortunately suffered a fracture of the original 122-year-old large casting that supports the rear axle springing under the cab floor, extending beneath the coal bunker.  


The SVR’s mechanical team leader Will Marsh added: “A replacement dragbox has now been cast locally at the Boro’ Foundry Ltd in Lye, Stourbridge. This has been produced in a far superior grade [spheroidal graphite iron – ed.] to the original, so should see 813 through another 120 years! 


“The casting is yet to be machined but once fettled, the SVR will hopefully be able to progress the locomotive’s repair over the summer.” 

The Crowdfunder can be found at . Nick added “813 will then be back in steam for all to enjoy. The Fund thanks all in advance for your support.” 


Editors’ note: “A dragbox is a substantial, often cast metal, part of a locomotive to which the coupling mechanism is attached to allow the locomotive to pull a train.” 


Photo: GWR 813 dragbox at Lye Foundry on 26th May 2023. Will Marsh

GWR 813 dragbox at Lye Foundry on 26th May 2023. Will Marsh.jpg
A crowdfunder appeal for 813  ​

The ‘Teddy Bear’ is back in green 

The Bridgnorth-based Class 14 D9551 is looking very striking after some well-earned winter maintenance and a full repaint. 

Alex Robinson, a volunteer with the Class 14 Company, carried out the repaint, under the mentorship of the SVR’s skilled painter, Ronan O’Brien. After spending six years in its ‘what might have been’ ochre livery, the loco has been transformed back to its original 1965 two-tone green livery.  

“Alex has done a terrific job,” said fellow volunteer Gary Williams. “It’s stunning, and he should be very proud of his efforts. Special thanks to Scott from the West Somerset Railway who came and painted the wasp-end numbers and fitted the crests.  

“51 had been suffering with overheating problems and the maintenance team has worked every weekend since March to resolve the problem, which was a multitude of small issues. We’re grateful to SVR’s engineering services for letting us have precious premium shed space. We got it stripped down in record time over two days, using the recently-installed overhead crane, a fantastic addition to the department.” 

The loco’s rebuild took 12 weeks and after a successful light-engine test-run and a loaded test-run, is returning to service for its first running day today at the West Somerset Railway’s Summer Diesel Gala. The WSR was 51’s original home, and its appearance is in memory of Simon Purvis, one of the original group who saved the loco from being scrapped. 

Look out for it at the SVR over the coming months!  

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

The ‘Teddy Bear’ is back in green

A shiny new appearance for 75069

Bridgnorth paint shop has been home to BR Riddles 4MT 75069 for the past few weeks, as ESMP’s Ronan O’Brien led the project to give it an upgraded look.  Assisted by a team of around eight volunteers, Ronan dealt with a number of paint-related issues following the loco’s valve and piston examination. 

“It was due for a re-varnish at the midpoint of its boiler ticket, so 75069 came into the paint shop.  We wet-flatted the cabsides, valances and tender for a re-varnish. The cabsides also received small yellow triangles. This is a Southern Region symbol, denoting that the loco has water treatment. 

“However, we then needed to strip back the stainless-steel boiler barrel to bare metal, because large areas of peeling paint hadn’t stuck properly, and there was surface rust on the mild steel firebox. The stainless steel was then etch-primed, and built up with many layers of paint and varnish.” 


With 75069 now outshopped and looking glorious in the good weather, we think you’ll agree that the hard work has paid off very well!  

75069 fresh from the paintshop at Bridgnorth on 5th June 2023. Will Marsh

75069 fresh from the paintshop at Bridgnorth on 5th June 2023. Will Marsh.jpg
A shiny new appearance for 75069

Other News

A weekend of mechanical horses

The Mechanical Horse Club celebrated its 40th anniversary in style with a weekend devoted to a display of vehicles at Kidderminster Town station between the 12th and 14th May. 

“We were pleased to return to Kidderminster,” said MHC secretary John Giles. “The Club had celebrated its 30th and 35th anniversaries there too! We had seven Scammell mechanical horses on display, covering all periods and models. These included three- and six-ton mechanical horses, three- and six-ton Scarabs (a post-war model) plus a 1960s Townsman.”  

In addition, a GWR-liveried six-ton mechanical horse in the care of the Friends of Kidderminster Town Station was displayed on the concourse.  

John Giles, Matt Baker and John Sherratt have supplied a gallery of images of vehicles on display.  


Editor’s note: Scammell mechanical horses are three-wheel tractor units that automatically couple and uncouple from trailers. They were part of the railway scene for 50 years, operated from the 1930s by the big four railway companies and British Railways. They were also operated by private companies and the armed forces.

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

A weekend of mechanical horses

v1 8th June 2023

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