March 2021

33108, 50049 Defiance and visiting, on test 69001 at Highley in February 2021. Matt Robinson

Welcome to your latest edition of Express Points!

There’s a definite feeling of spring in the air, and in light of the past 12 months, we’ve never needed it more! The green shoots are appearing literally and metaphorically as the SVR gears up to reopen in mid-April. Our lead article sets out the general manager’s staged plan for reopening and the return-to-work for many if not all SVR staff over the coming weeks. We also celebrate the news that our guest for the Spring Steam Up is none other than 2999 Lady of Legend, a unique GWR locomotive making its appropriate working debut at your favourite heritage railway. We also bring an update into the recent fall from height incident, and exciting news from behind the scenes of the load testing work for GBRf’s Class 69 on SVR metals. There are so many updates and important announcements from different corners of the Railway this month that we think this is our biggest ever edition!


From next month, we’ll be changing our publication day, and you’ll receive your April edition of Express Points on Thursday 8th April. The final deadline for copy is the Monday, a few days beforehand. From then on we’ll publish on the second Thursday of each month, with a final copy deadline of the preceding Monday. The new arrangement will save the sanity of the Express Points editorial team by ending the frantic scrabble for information at the end of a working week, and the need to burn the midnight oil on a Saturday night!


We hope that, like us, you’re beginning to feel optimistic about what’s to come. Stay safe.

 

Lesley and Patrick, co-editors

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

The SVR’s ‘railmap’ to recovery

The good news is that the Spring Steam Up event will go ahead in April, although the Railway will not be able to open in time for Easter as originally planned. This follows the government statement on 22nd February, setting out its roadmap to recovery for the coming months.

General manager Helen Smith has announced a phased ‘return to work’ for volunteers and furloughed paid staff, in order to make sure the SVR is ready to run public services from 12th April, in line with government restrictions.

From 8th March, volunteers needed to prepare for reopening will in theory be able to come back to work. However, each volunteer must contact their line manager before attending, to make sure their role is considered essential to this process. Numbers attending at the same time will be controlled to keep within Covid-19 guidelines.

From 12th April, volunteers will be required to run all passenger services. On both the excursion services and special events passengers will travel in their own private compartment, which will be theirs for the whole day. Other Covid-19 safe measures will be in place, such as social distancing and hand sanitization stations, in the same way as proved so successful and popular last year.


From 17th May at the earliest, The Engine House will be able to reopen, in line with other indoor attractions.


From 21st June, the earliest date when all social restrictions will be lifted by the government, the SVR will continue with its Covid-secure passenger arrangements, so that staff and visitors continue to be protected.


Takeaway food will be available from refreshment rooms, and the pubs at Kidderminster and Bridgnorth will offer outdoor table service.


Both the Spring Steam Up, which runs between 15th and 18th April and the Diesel Bash, which runs between 13th and 16th May will go ahead, as planned.


Helen told Express Points, “It’s a huge relief that we will be able to operate both these special events, as well as offer our regular excursion services from 12th April. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming the unique locomotive 2999 Lady of Legend to our steam event, which is already 75% sold out.


“I know that many volunteers are itching to get back to doing what they love, and by carefully managing a return-to-work, we are acting in the best interests of both our hugely valued volunteer base and in those of the Railway as an operational business.”

 

Investigation underway into fall from height

The Office of Road and Rail have already made two visits to Bridgnorth motive power depot following the recent fall from height which occurred there. Health & safety manager Richard Morris told Express Points:


“The initial stages of the investigation into the fall from height in February has highlighted areas for improvement, which need to take place with instant effect. I am delivering a leadership and management training presentation to the team leaders at Bridgnorth, and this will soon be rolled out to all team leaders, supervisors and managers across the Railway, in both paid and voluntary roles.

“Whilst everyone has a duty to look after themselves and others, those in positions of responsibility must ensure that their teams are working safely, have received the relevant training, are competent and using any PPE provided. If you are responsible for a working party, you should familiarise yourself with the SVR Safety Management System and the relevant policy and procedure documents, make sure that your risk assessments are up-to-date and that you conduct spot checks and one-to-ones with your team to reinforce the message of working safely. You can even host a short toolbox talk at the start of each day.


“It has emerged during the investigation into the fall from height that the task being carried out was missed off the risk assessment document. Additionally the injured person was working alone, and although colleagues were working ‘nearby’, no-one had checked on him to make sure he was following the correct procedures.


“We are aware that there are numerous areas of working at height that need to be suitably addressed, including guards and train staff who need to access carriages from the cess when lineside, working on locomotives during cleaning operations, etc. I welcome any suggestions from staff in these roles (or others) on improvements you feel can be made. Ultimately, I cannot change the world in a day and need the help and support from everyone across the Railway.”


Please contact Richard directly if you would like to speak about a specific H&S matter – richard.morris@svrlive.com 

 

SVR welcomes a legendary lady 

The SVR has announced No 2999 Lady of Legend will be the star guest at the Spring Steam Up between 15th and 18th April. Ours will be the first heritage railway to welcome the much-anticipated ‘new rebuild’ locomotive following its completion at Didcot Railway Centre in 2019. This unique locomotive is the only Saint class engine in existence and is set to prove a big draw to steam enthusiasts at the event.

 

Dubbed the 78th Saint, Lady of Legend was rebuilt by the Great Western Society at Didcot Railway Centre and is a recreation of the previously extinct Saint Class locomotive. The project started in the 1970s and used parts from 4942 Maindy Hall, one of the classes that was developed from the original Saint design, taking the story full circle. The dream to rebuild a Saint took 45 years to come to fruition and its success is testament to the dedication and determination of the Great Western Society.

Announcing the VIP visitor general manager Helen Smith said: 

 

“We wanted to offer up something extra special to our supporters this year, after everything that happened with Covid-19 in 2020. We know that Lady of Legend hits a lot of sweet spots for so many people; not only is it literally the only one of its kind in the world, but it’s also a Great Western locomotive which is perfect for us. Plus, this is the first opportunity for 2999 to really go through its paces on our 16 miles of line.” 

 

Graham Hukins, head of visitor experience and marketing at Didcot Railway Centre, commented:

 

“We are delighted to make 2999 available for the Spring Steam Up and hope the event will be really successful and help signal to the whole sector that tourism and leisure businesses are getting back on track. It is very fitting the first trip away from Didcot for this unique engine is to the Severn Valley Railway – a line with an impeccable GWR pedigree.” 

 

The announcement about Lady of Legend's starring role was made live on our YouTube channel towards the end of February. It's already been viewed nearly 18,000 times, and you can ‘watch again’ at www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ti3LOIukGI

Photo: Lady of Legend taken 7th August 2019 Frank Dumbleton

Lady of Legend Steaming up. Frank Dumbleton

 

The first Class 69 is tested at the SVR

On 15th February the SVR started testing the Class 69 project as part of a commercial deal with Electro-Motive Diesel Ltd and GBRf. Operations manager Matt Robinson tells Express Points more:

 

Class 69 freight locomotives are converted from Class 56 diesels, with their original power unit replaced with the same model of General Motors/EMD engine that can be seen fitted to Class 66 diesels across the country. It's not possible to build new Class 66s, due to the latest emissions standards, but old locos can be retrofitted as the engine improves the emissions from their previous power units. Whilst much is altered from the original Class 56, the bogies and brake system remain unaltered.

69001 came to us on 15th February, towed from EMD's Longport works by GBRf 66702. Towing a shark brake van to aid staff social distancing, it proceeded under its own power to Highley. The following day the engineers set up the traction package, slow speed equipment and automatic sanding. Testing started with full power standing starts on gradients in both dry and wet conditions, sometimes with the application of washing up liquid onto the rails to try to make the loco slip!


The original plan was to stable the train at Highley and use Highley Bank. The engineering team, however, preferred the sections of line at Waterworks for the 'flat track' testing, and between Eardington road bridge and Pig Bridge for the ‘on bank’ testing.


The trailing weight was provided by the SVR, calculated to 833 tons made up of 22 wagons loaded with ballast, used sleepers, rail and other general items. The train was examined regularly by a fitter to ensure it remained fit to run and the loads secure. At the rear was 50049 Defiance from the Class 50 Alliance stable, appropriately in GBRf colours.


For Covid-19 security reasons, only four members of SVR staff were involved in the testing, covering the various roles as required. Martin Turbutt, normally full-time staff at Bewdley Carriage and Wagon department, was the conductor driver in a 'bubble' with the single GBRf driver provided for the complete programme. EMD provided the same three engineers throughout.


On 24th February, directors from both GBRf and EMD, including GBRf's managing director John Smith, visited to meet the team and ensure the programme was going as planned. Lesley Carr and the communications team were on site and recorded a video for the SVR's YouTube channel, which was premiered at 6pm yesterday, 6th March.


The testing has gone extremely well, and may even be completed in advance of the planned finish date of 12th March. The locomotive will then return to Longport for more tests, before going to Arlington at Eastleigh for painting. It will be based at Tonbridge.

 

Life on the Permanent Way, changing No 37 points at Kidderminster 

In bitterly cold February weather, volunteer and paid members of the Railway’s permanent way gang have been at work, as the new video Life on the Permanent Way shows. 

 

The work they were carrying out was a permanent repair to No 37 points. Back in March 2019, on-loan ‘Large Prairie’ 4144 became trapped on these points outside Kidderminster station, causing delays. As a result of the damage, No 1 Engine Line at Kidderminster was not available for use, and trains using platform 1 required a loco change rather than the loco running round its train. Damage to the point meant the point blade became severely bent, although a temporary repair was effected by use of heat and straightening the rail.

As the team explain in the film, worn stock rails and damaged switches are now replaced as new. We hope you enjoy this insight into the Pway team’s work. 

 

Photo: Point no. 37, Kidderminster, February 2021. Brent Cleeton

 

Arrival and departure at SVR Holdings

After more than 45 years of loyal service, Mick York has retired as a director of the Severn Valley Holdings board. Mick joined the SVR as a member in July 1966, initially volunteering in working parties which evolved into the Bridgnorth loco department.

 

In addition to becoming an early footplate volunteer he was also heavily involved in several early locomotive restorations at Bridgnorth. Mick joined the board in 1975, holding the position of chairman for two separate stints. Current chairman Nick Paul said: 

“Mick was fearless in defending the interests of ordinary members and shareholders, and in recent years, has continued to be a wise counsel, much respected across the Railway, and I am sure that he will continue in that role in the future. The board and I wish to thank Mick for his incredible contribution as a director and chairman.” 

Stepping into the place left vacant by Mick’s departure is Phil Swallow. A familiar face to many volunteers and paid staff, Phil has been volunteering and supporting the Railway since 1975 and is one of the co-owners of 34027 Taw Valley, in addition to several diesel locomotives. Away from the SVR, Phil’s professional career has taken him across the globe, specialising in the design and delivery of large IT systems as well as the management of outsourcing operations. Nick Paul said: 

 

“Phil brings a fresh perspective to the board, with his ability to approach problems from very different angles to deliver innovative solutions quickly. He specialises in turning around difficult, challenging and complex programmes. Phil’s passion for the SVR has been demonstrated by his considerable efforts to see the SVR succeed and his experience will be invaluable to the Railway, as we face the challenges of ensuring it has a sustainable future in the post-Covid-19 environment. The board and I very much look forward to Phil’s contribution as a director.”

 

A new catch phrase for the SVR

In the February issue of Express Points, health and safety manager Richard Morris launched a competition to find a strong slogan, mnemonic or message that would be memorable and resonate strongly with the SVR. Congratulations to Charlotte Marsh for her winning, very easy-to-remember, entry.

 

With such an unforgettable mnemonic there’s no excuse for forgetting to put safety first when working on the SVR! 


Please contact Richard at richard.morris@svrlive.com

STOP Do you fully understand what you are doing or about to do? 

VISUALISE Do you have the correct tools, equipment and information for the task in hand? 

REVIEW Did anything occur that had the potential to cause harm?

 

We’re surviving the pandemic, but the fight goes on

The SVR Charitable Trust’s director of development Shelagh Paterson reflects on the past year:


Twelve months ago, who could have predicted the massive impact Covid-19 would have on the future of the SVR? From the very start, the Charitable Trust was tasked with raising funds as the Railway faced receiving negligible operational income. Support came in thick and fast, and we raised just over £2.5 million from supporters like you, along with government and lottery grants. Together with loans, overdraft extensions, staff furlough and effective financial management from SVR Holdings, it’s meant the Railway could battle through the worst of the storm. However, there have been scars; a loss of £4 million in income and the need to put essential restoration and improvement projects on hold.


If you give to other charities, you will understand how relatively infrequently the SVR asks for your financial support. In my 25 years in the charity sector, I have never asked for so few donations as I have since joining the SVRCT! We are extremely careful to ensure that we do not abuse your generosity, in which ever way you choose to give, be it donations, shares or membership. It was for this reason that the three Railway boards agreed not to run a Christmas appeal in 2020, despite this being a key time when people give generously to charities, including the SVR Charitable Trust.


Although we haven’t asked for your support now for some time, we have been approaching other trusts and grant-giving bodies, as Ian Jones explained in February’s Express Points.

Things are about to change. We’re planning the launch of our next capital appeal for what is the most urgent project at the Railway; a new roof at the locomotive works at Bridgnorth, along with an essential 8-tonne crane and various environmental initiatives including LED lighting and water harvesting. We are set to launch this next month*, and we will have just a short window to raise around £425,000 which is needed to complete this critical work.


Please look out for more information about the appeal in the near future. I very much hope you will want to add your support as we move on from simply surviving the impacts of the pandemic to making improvements for the Railway that will take us into the future.


Please contact me on shelagh.paterson@svrtrust.org.uk.


*Perhaps you find you have extra funds at your disposal because during lockdown you haven’t been spending in your usual way, or perhaps for tax reasons you’d like to donate to the new appeal sooner rather than later? If you’d like to understand more about how an early contribution to the appeal will make a difference, please do get in touch with me.


The roof and lighting are evident in this image of 46100 Royal Scot undergoing repairs in Bridgnorth MPD on 17th October 2020. Jim Norman

 

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way forward….

When making a Will, providing for your loved ones is of course, the number one priority. Once this is taken care of, you may also think about leaving a gift to a cause close to your heart, as Sue Chance, the SVR Charitable Trust’s individual giving fundraising manager, writes:


Richard James, a self-confessed ‘armchair’ member of the SVR for a quarter of a century, has left a gift in his Will to the SVR Charitable Trust. He believes it’s vital to encourage the interest of young people in heritage rail. “It’s important that we keep young people engaged and allow them a connection with our industrial past," he said, adding, " I’ve left a gift in my Will to help the Railway’s financial future. Training apprentices in the Heritage Apprenticeship Scheme is the foundation of taking the Railway forward.”


Gifts in Wills help to fund future engineers like Max Green. He benefitted from the Apprenticeship Scheme, which enables skills to be passed on from generation to generation. But these gifts also help a number of the most essential projects on the Railway, such as the restoration of the flagship locomotive 4930 Hagley Hall. Shelagh Paterson, director of development for the SVR Charitable Trust pointed to the enormous value of people leaving a gift in their Will.

“Gifts in Wills represent 40% of the income we raise to invest into the Railway. By making this ultimate gift, you will be ensuring this wonderful heritage railway continues to exist for future generations to enjoy.”


The Charitable Trust has a short film which looks at why people decide to leave a gift in their Will and explains the very real impact that legacies can have at the Railway. You can view the film and also a copy of the new leaflet and brochure which look in more detail about leaving a lasting legacy to the SVR in your Will at https://www.svrtrust.org.uk/Gifts-in-Wills.


Where there’s a Will, there is most certainly a way forward for the Severn Valley Railway!


Photos: Trainee Jack Kerswill installing patch screws inside 4150's boiler, images of the new brochure and leaflet, and Richard James,

 

Carrying on in spite of Covid-19

The Railway’s head of engineering and volunteer Bridgnorth shed master, Martin White lifts the lid on the winter maintenance:


I wrote last month that ‘winter maintenance is in full swing’. Alongside this, the heavy overhauls of the Stanier Mogul and Hagley Hall are continuing. But what does this really mean? What work is actually being undertaken? The following is just a sample of what’s been going on.


During winter maintenance, any repairs deferred during the season take place. A number of locomotives have had replacement springs fitted; these are typically big, heavy leaf springs, made up of a dozen or more leaves. If an individual leaf cracks or breaks whilst a loco is in traffic, then as long as it’s within permitted parameters, the loco is allowed to continue running with the spring being regularly monitored. Provided it’s not deteriorating, the spring can often remain in this state for a number of months. However, during winter maintenance we will often replace these monitored springs so that the locos start the new running season with new or refurbished springs.


Additionally, the steam heat control valve from 43106 has had its valve seats machined, and during a boiler examination steam test, some issues with the brake valve on 7714 were under investigation.


With regards to the overhauls; on 13268, the Stanier Mogul, a considerable period of time has been spent on the coal slacking valve. It might seem a minor component on the locomotive, but for crews it is essential for keeping a clean footplate. The long process of forming new pipework includes measuring, cutting, bending pipe and making new joints, as well as machining the operating valve.


A larger and much more obvious component now being worked on is the Mogul’s new smokebox door. The door itself is new, but the door hinges and central locking ‘dart’ have to be salvaged from the old door and accurately fitted.


In the boilershop, the specialist work of cutting threads is being carried out on the Mogul’s copper firebox tube plate. Once the loco is finished and running most people will forget that this work was ever done, although I’m sure the boilersmiths won’t! This is a solid week’s work for two using specialist equipment, yet to the uninitiated all that will be visible at the end of it is a tangled pile of copper waste known as swarf.


Meanwhile on 4930 Hagley Hall, the machining of the driving wheel axle boxes is ongoing and preparation for getting the loco back onto its wheels is underway. On the 3rd March a number of volunteers were asked to attend site to assist the paid staff with the essential work of moving and positioning accommodation bogies. The main frames will be placed on these for moving to the works’ lifting jacks, for the actual re-wheeling. In addition to shed volunteers, a volunteer signalman, permanent way paid staff, and a road railer were also needed. Oh, for an overhead crane in the works!


Activity has been slowed by Covid-19, but it’s certainly not at a standstill.

Click on the gallery for full, uncropped images and descriptions.

 

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In memoria

Roy Davies His many Railway friends will be sad to hear that Royston Davies suffered a major stroke and died on 6th January. Roy became a volunteer around 1977, initially joining the volunteer team at The Railwayman's Arms, Bridgnorth, where at that time buffet/dining trains were evolving within the jurisdiction of the Arms team. 

He was an engineer and qualified welder and this background led to Roy working on the refurbishment of bar cars, for which along with others, he provided financial backing for maintenance and renovation costs. Cars 1682 and 1855 formed the embryonic on-train buffet set, and further renovated bar cars eventually evolved into The Severn Valley Venturer dining train. Roy volunteered in both the kitchen and in maintenance of the dining cars. 

Roy’s devotion to our cause is shown by his move to work permanent nights, so he could commit to long weekends on the SVR. We remember Roy’s dedication, and also, on behalf of the many diners who have enjoyed his expertise over the years, we send condolences to Roy’s brother and sister. Barry Moreton, Volunteer Liaison

John Morgan John fulfilled a long ambition to become one of our volunteers in 2006. A former Midland Red bus driver with a long history of commercial vehicle management, he decided to concentrate on a completely different sphere. He first joined the on-train buffet section operating out of Bridgnorth and later joined the platform staff there. In later years, John and wife Ann relocated to be nearer their grandchildren and it was at their new home that John sustained serious injuries following a fall. Initial hospital treatment was carried out but unfortunately due to infections including Covid-19 John died with his family at his side on 4th February 2021. Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time. Covid-19 restrictions meant few could attend John’s funeral on 19th February, but a live stream enabled many of his friends and colleagues to view the service. Barry Moreton, Volunteer Liaison 

David Guest David was a prominent and early SVR member and shareholder who sadly died on 24th February. He joined the SVR in 1967 and supported his local Wolverhampton Branch. His commercial acumen saw him joining the Guarantee Company board in 1972 and the Holdings board in 1973. A far-reaching contribution, only achieved thanks to David’s diligence and hard work, was Guarantee director representation on the Holdings board. David was the commercial sales manager for British Steel at Bilston, but industry changes moved him to United Engineering Steels at Rotherham in 1977, which reduced his SVR involvement. Our sympathies go to his ever-supportive wife Anne, and children Philip, Geoffrey, Matthew and Elizabeth on their sad loss. David C. Williams

On time and on budget!

A regular fixture in recent editions of Express Points, the Falling Sands viaduct project has been completed on time and on budget. In just over four years this huge restoration is now complete, and it has involved £1.25 million of funding raised by the SVR Charitable Trust, a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, several bats, gravity-defying engineers and a lot of hard work. Chairman of the Charitable Trust, Peter Copsey said:


“The success of the project reflects how well the three Severn Valley Railway companies have come together to deliver this huge restoration. A special thank you is also owed to SVR volunteer Nick Yarwood, who spent hundreds of hours on site overseeing the restoration. Nick helped to drive the FSV project forward, ensuring that both phases of the repair work were delivered on time and within budget.”

A short film to mark the end of the restoration project, which includes an interview with Nick Yarwood, will soon be released on the SVR’s YouTube channel. To subscribe to the channel and be notified of when the video is published, please visit: www.youtube.com/channel/UCoaT_geZ6GwRscQgOlchh_w

Photo: 7714 crossing Falling Sands Viaduct on 30th December 2020. Craig Tiley

 

Confidential H&S hotline and dedicated webpage

The SVR has two new weapons to improve health and safety across the Railway, as health and safety manager Richard Morris tells Express Points:


We’ve introduced a confidential hotline to allow anyone to report safety issues or concerns they have, using an anonymous system. This phone number is 01299 406531, and the line will be monitored once a week. You don't have to leave your name if you don't want to, but if you’d like to be contacted about the issue you’re reporting, you should leave your name and contact details.


Whether you choose to give your name or make the report anonymously, we need to know what the issue was, when it happened and where it happened, as well as what your concern is and what you think could be done about it.


Please DO NOT use this confidential hotline number to report an accident or emergency; this should still be done by the quickest possible means and followed up using FRM-0031 (see below).


Also, we have launched a new page on www.svrlive.com/safety. This page can also be accessed under the ‘Operations’ tab on the header bar on SVRLive. It gives details on Railway accident statistics and other information. The content can be used by working parties, team leaders and managers to increase awareness amongst their groups. This page is still in its infancy and will be continually updated, and toolbox talks will be added frequently. Should you have a particular topic you’d like to know about, please email me at richard.morris@svrlive.com.


The webpage also has the confidential hotline phone number and a link to report safety issues or concerns online. It also has various downloadable forms. For example, you should use form FRM-0031 to report an accident or incident.

 

Reporting safety concerns:

  • If you don't feel confident about reporting a matter in person, you can still confidentially alert the safety team by calling 01299 406531 and leave a message. You don't have to leave your name if you don't want to.

  • Alternatively, you can complete a safety concern report form online

Report an accident or incident

Access the safety page

9615 Progress

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Restoration continues apace at Bewdley, in line with Covid-19 restrictions, as work progresses on GWR 9615.

 

9615 is a kitchen diner first. It was built in 1932 at Swindon works and saw more than 30 years’ service before being withdrawn and preserved at the SVR, appropriately alongside third class restaurant carriage 9627, which it was regularly paired with during its working life.

 

After giving long service at the SVR, 9615 was withdrawn from service in 2005 for a back-to-the-floor restoration, which finally began in 2017. Funded by the SVR Charitable Trust, paid staff Marsh Kirby and Martin Turbutt have been hard at work on 9615 during lockdown. Usually accompanied by 14 regular volunteers, the team has been reduced to the two paid staff to remain Covid-19 compliant.

In the past three months, the team has managed to replace the body corner side pieces, fit several new doors, including two pairs of double doors, and install new toughened glazing into all of the large windows. Additional work carried out includes fitting corridor and vestibule ceilings, finishing the saloon end ceiling and affixing destination board brackets on both sides of the vehicle.

 

The structural body work now complete, the only major outstanding jobs are the installation of two new water tanks and upholstering the saloon seats. Then the team will  turn their attention to the inner fixtures. Restoration is currently scheduled to finish by mid- to late-summer, and carriage restorer Martin told Express Points what’s left to accomplish:

 

“Once the exterior doors and small windows are finished, we will be into interior panelling, completing the pantry and kitchen ceilings, and refitting the already refurbished internal doors and pantry cupboards. The coach will then be moved to Kidderminster for a complete bogie and brake overhaul.”

 

Once all this has been done, a contractor will install a fully modern kitchen and 9615 will be ready to roll, once again catering for passengers.

Click on the gallery for full, uncropped images and descriptions.

 

Questions and Answers 2021 

Last Monday (1st March) around 65 working members attended the first Question and Answer session of the year. Due to Covid-19 restrictions this was the first held completely online, using the Live Events facility in Microsoft Teams, and a recording will be made availble. IT manager Bill Griffiths tells Express Points more:

The event began with a short presentation by general manager Helen Smith about the timings and issues around reopening and operating the Railway over the coming months. The remainder of the 90 minutes was devoted to around 30 working members’ questions put to a panel of Nick Paul (Holdings board chairman), Mike Ball (deputy chairman), and Helen.

Questions ranged widely from trespass, the Bridgnorth redevelopment project, falls from height and safety, the Railway’s financial strength, returning to volunteering, staff accommodation, online sales and the use of trains by volunteers to work down the line. Every question asked received a reply.

The Live Events facility is aimed at communicating with groups of up to 10,000 people, so interaction is limited to posting questions online. Roughly half the questions were submitted beforehand and half live. Lesley Carr (head of communications) hosted the event and framed the questions, and the live submitted questions were co-ordinated by marketing manager Dan Shorthouse.

Feedback from those that participated was supportive. Kevin Moseley said, “Very informative, well worth watching. I hope that these are going to be a regular event.” Richard Herington commented, “A very interesting afternoon. Everyone was very open with their answers.” Other feedback discussed the best timing to enable most volunteers to participate, and balanced the greater accessibility for volunteers to attend with a wish from others to continue some future ‘in the flesh’ events, when restrictions allow. 

Mounting the event was challenging, with unfamiliar technology and the six-member presentation team all in different locations, but the outcome was better than expected! It’s likely that we’ll continue to use this technology and in a variety of different ways, and you can take part via your computer, mobile device or even a Smart TV.

If you didn’t manage to participate on the day, look out for an NBI and information in the SVR TODAY channel (in Teams) to access the video recording of the event. Here’s a reminder of how to get access to SVRLive. You can request a reset by emailing support@svrlive.com from your personal email address.

Photo: Q&A screengrab from Bill Griffiths

 

The Eardington Lampman

One of the films released this month on the SVR’s own ‘television’ channel on YouTube is Eardington’s hidden gem – lighting the way for heritage rail on the Severn Valley Railway, featuring Eardington’s volunteer lampman Phil Harris.

Phil talks about the extensive collection of paraffin lamps and lanterns he looks after at the SVR’s only oil-lit station, and their place in railway and social history. The comments on our YouTube channel show how appreciative people are of Phil sharing his enthusiasm and extensive knowledge with the wider public. 

If you haven’t already seen it, grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy Phil’s collection. 

 

A Sterns warning

The landslips at both Sterns and Alveley Woods have been giving the SVR cause for concern for some time as many readers will be aware. Infrastructure manager Chris Bond has contacted Express Points with an update: 

At Sterns, the new drainage network has helped to clear rainwater from the landward side but this one of the few mitigating measures we can take without spending the millions required to sink a huge pile network.

So that the SVR’s consulting engineer Jonathan Symonds remains content for trains to pass over the slip areas, we’ve invested in electronic ‘tilt monitoring’ at both locations. Several sensors are attached to sleepers within the affected area, that feed back to a central solar-powered unit at the trackside.

This unit sends a text alert to designated recipients, should the set parameters of the sensors be exceeded, which would indicate a serious land movement has occurred. This is enhanced by the addition of red stop lights located at each end of the slip that will alert train crews that something requires investigation.

This technology is used on the national network to good effect and gives us some peace of mind that if any serious land movement takes place, we can be alerted in real time and take the appropriate action.

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At Sterns, we have also deployed a solar-powered 4G remote accessed camera to at least establish that the railway is still there!

 

In Alveley Woods, tilt monitoring will allow us additional time to negotiate with the adjacent landowner and develop the funding required for the remedial work required (already designed) in the coming years. In the meantime, let’s all hope that the two slips behave themselves and allow us to run our trains in 2021 for some much-needed revenue. 

These images from Matt Robinson show the equipment set up in early February. 50007 Hercules and 50049 Defiance top-and-tailed 22 assorted wagons in order to carry out dynamic testing, a combined weight of 1,067 tons!

Click on the gallery for full, uncropped images and descriptions.

 

New cylinders herald major progress on Bradley Manor 

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The delivery in February of new cylinders for 7802 Bradley Manor moves its return-to-service on the Severn Valley Railway one huge step closer.

Erlestoke Manor Fund (EMF) trustee Peter Evans told Express Points, “It’s an enormous boost for the whole project, which has been beset by many challenges including a foundry closure, Covid-19 lockdowns, machine breakdowns and transport delays! The cylinders and associated parts are now with the loco at Tyseley Locomotive Works (TLW) where further work, testing and fitting will take place.”

The repair and replacement of the cylinders follows extensive damage resulting from the failure of the right-hand piston rod whilst working on the West Somerset Railway in 2019.

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EMF’s trustee in charge of the project Terry Jenkins added, “This development will require removal of the cab roof and boiler plus a complete rebuild of the front end of the locomotive.

“We want to thank GWS Didcot for the support they've given us in providing the original GWR Swindon drawings, Bob and Alastair Meanley of TLW, contract engineer Mike Solloway and the wide array of suppliers.”

Click on the gallery for full, uncropped images and descriptions.

 

Defiance on the main line

With no trains running on the Severn Valley Railway it was pleasing to see SVR-based Class 50 No 50049 ‘Defiance’ making a welcome appearance through the Midlands, as Dave Bissett tells Express Points: 

On 1st March Defiance headed train 5Q51, from the 1020 Gascoigne Wood Sidings to Newport Docks. The movement was to transfer a set of eight ex-East Midlands HST carriages from storage for final scrapping at Sims Metals, Newport.

 

The GBRf-liveried 50 is seen on the ‘fast line’ at Northfield, and once a clear road was given the 50 was heard accelerating ahead. The train was made of 50049 with two Mark 1 barrier coaches at each end, and the HST coaches on their final journey were 41071, 41072, 40753, 42329, 42139, 42140, 42141 and 44048. 

 

Photo: Dave Bissett

 

Public warning after trespass incidents

Last month the SVR issued a further stark warning after a diesel locomotive undertaking maintenance duties was forced to make an emergency stop because of trespassers.

 

The driver spotted what appeared to be a man running along the track and another lying alongside it in an extremely dangerous location, on top of Victoria bridge between Arley and Highley.

Driver Dave Evans said, “I could not believe what I was seeing, and it was lucky I managed to stop the engine. These two men were putting themselves in huge danger. The one lying beside the track was wearing a climbing harness and had attached ropes to this and to the rails and bridge structure. He was clearly preparing to climb over the edge and lower himself down below the arch or may have already done so. I told him how dangerous this was, and he said it didn’t matter because the Railway was closed!”

While the Railway is not running passenger services, there are many frequent movements of engineering, maintenance and test trains. Nevertheless, other trespass incidents have been reported, including family groups. In response, the Railway issued a warning to local media and posts regular anti-trespass messages on its social media platforms.

Police advise anyone who sees someone trespassing on railway property to call 999. It’s possible to provide information without giving your name.

 

Vital work at the traction maintenance depot – on film! 

In ‘Vital maintenance work at the TMD’ in February’s Express Points, Don Shadwell explained to us about the essential role that the SVR’s shunter fleet plays, and how maintenance operations continue throughout lockdown and the annual shutdown period. 

One such engine is Class 09 D4100 Dick Hardy, named after Richard H N Hardy, a very well-respected railwayman who died in 2018 (you can read his obituary here.) This shunter is being overhauled by a small team of volunteers at the diesel depot, and so head over to the SVR’s YouTube channel to find out what’s involved 

 

Update from the archive room 

In January’s Express Points we included an appeal for press cuttings on behalf of Rob Whale from the SVR archive room. Rob tells us there has been a good (and very far-flung!) response although he hasn’t yet been able to check emails as the archive team do not currently have access to The Engine House because of Covid-19 restrictions. 

 

However, Rob has asked us to pass on thanks to: Louise James whose late husband Philip was instrumental in restoring the Gresley kitchen composite No 7960; Tony Potter from Ontario, Canada, who attended the very first meeting of the SVR Society all those years ago and saw the arrival of No 3205 at Bridgnorth in 1967; Trevor Shorthouse of Great Wyrley, an electrical engineer at Cashmores in Tipton where many steam locos met their demise; Steve Pritchard of Cardiff; Dave Collinge of Walsall who used to volunteer at C&W at Bridgnorth; Trevor Perks of Sandford, North Somerset; and Nigel Hunt of Maidenhead who sent some interesting photos.

Rob also mentions that his appeal for press cuttings has even made it onto the Next Stop page near the back of the current Heritage Railway Magazine. If you can help with cuttings of SVR-related news please send them to archive@svrlive.com or post to SVR Archive, Number One, Comberton Place, Kidderminster, DY10 1QR. 

 

Photo: Bridgnorth Journal 6th November 1968. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association in the online ‘50 Years of Steam at the Severn Valley Railway’ exhibition. Click to see the exhibition and read the full story.

 

An end to lineside passes and photo charters at the SVR

There has been considerable speculation recently about the SVR’s stance on lineside passes for photographers and photo charters. The railway suspended passes last year because of Covid-19, no photo charters took place last season or have been planned for the 2021 season.

The Railway has now clarified its long-term position on both these issues. In the future it will not issue any new lineside passes, or accommodate any privately-run photo charters.

General manager Helen Smith explained:

“I know that this news will disappoint some people. However, I ask you to step back and understand the extremely difficult position the railway faces.

“The income we receive from lineside passes and privately-run photo charters is insignificant when compared to the potential risk these activities naturally contain. This means that to continue them makes little financial sense. As the landowner, train operating company and infrastructure provider, if SVR Holdings continues to permit such activities we also hold liability for any accidents or injuries that the participants have.

“The Office of Road and Rail has ceased its ‘light touch’ approach to heritage rail and is beginning to apply more rigorous standards to all heritage operations. The SVR is of particular interest to the ORR because of the two fall from height incidents that have happened in less than a year.

“Put these factors together and you will see why it would not be in the SVR’s interests to allow these high risk activities to continue. Only a handful of heritage railways currently do so, and I expect that soon there will not be any.”

Holders of existing SVR lineside passes will be able to use them until they expire, and the Railway will remove the temporary ban that was put in place because of Covid-19. Once expired, lineside passes will not be renewed. The Railway asks anyone with a valid pass to use it responsibly in the meantime.

The SVR acknowledges that it needs high quality images of rolling stock, both for its own use and for publication in the heritage and general press. It plans to establish a small group of official volunteer SVR photographers who will have lineside access, and who will undertake rigorous and regular safety training. In return, they will be asked to give the Railway full and free access to their work.

Martin Creese of 30742 Charters said: “A massive thank you to the SVR, its staff and volunteers who made us welcome and appreciated our contributions, for many fabulous memories. April 2022 will mark 25 years since our first event with 3442 at the SVR, and I had hoped to mark the occasion on our favourite railway. All good things come to an end and hopefully, in time, we can collaborate again. I especially anticipate the return of 4930, which our events supported, as we have 82045 and the Fight Back Fund more recently.”

Photo: Visiting Ivatt Class 2MT 41312 on a photo charter 21st March 2017. Lewis Maddox.

 

Seeking speakers! 

The popular SVR talks team members have been giving talks to interested organisations for many years. In a rare positive side to lockdown conditions, the interest in these presentations has increased during the pandemic, as virtual meetings afford entertainment from the comfort of home. The team wants to seize this opportunity to reach as many organisations as possible and kindle a desire to come to the SVR in the coming season.

 

Head of TTIs Jim Seaton is coordinating the revival and expansion of the SVR talks team and is keen to hear from anyone who has previously given talks and would be willing to continue to do so, or people with a flair for public speaking who would like to join this team of ambassadors for the Railway. Jim said: 

 

“Many organisations are seeking interesting presentations to be given virtually by Zoom or Teams, and we currently have a superb opportunity to gain their attention. After lockdown, there’s likely to be an upsurge in interest for face-to-face talks. We’d like to relaunch our offering, with a coordinated approach that allows us to share our presentations amongst team members, and to incorporate any key messages we need to share.”

Jim is already coordinating enquiries from a number of organisations, developing some promising leads, from historical societies and railway clubs to National Trust groups. A wide range of subjects is planned, from straightforward history of the line talks, through to a day in the life presentations. Existing presentations will be available digitally to those keen to join the team, and those not confident at speaking can also help. Jim continued:

“Another way you can help is by making organisations that you are involved with aware of this service and putting them in touch; we’ll be happy to chat through their requirements and match them with our team of presenters. We usually asks for a small fee to be paid to the SVR Charitable Trust, so that and the increased interest in visiting generated by the presentations will all help the Railway.”

To volunteer as a presenter or find out how to book an SVR talk please contact Jim at jim.seaton@svrlive.com or call 07854 757459.

 

Double-header for Welsh Guardsman 

War department Austerity 0-6-0ST 71516 Welsh Guardsman will be leading the charge on the 11th and 18th June as part of the SVR’s enthusiast Wanderer specials.

A standard shunting locomotive during its working life, 71516 was designed by the Hunslet Engine Company and built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns in Newcastle-upon-Tyne [corrected] in 1944. After the end of the war, 71516 was sold to the National Coal Board and worked for a number of collieries until saved for preservation in 1980 by the Welsh Industrial & Maritime Museum. Upon closure, the museum’s exhibits were redistributed, and the locomotive acquired both a new owner in the Felinfoel Brewery and the name, Welsh Guardsman.

The locomotive spent the Santa season hauling trains at The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway in the Yorkshire Dales.

In a rare treat for enthusiasts, Welsh Guardsman will be double-heading with either 1501 or 7714, on the 11th and 18th June. Hauling two round trips for The Wanderer, this excursion train, starting from Bridgnorth, offers the opportunity for 71516 to stretch its legs, as passengers can clock up 64 miles behind this former industrial engine.

For more information or to book tickets visit www.svr.co.uk

Photo of 71516 Welsh Guardsman by James Rodgers

 
 

Visiting locos in March from previous years 

While we aren’t running trains, we‘ve looked into the photo library for a selection of loco visitors to the Railway in the month of March in years past. Since 2000 most Spring Steam Galas have been held in March, whereas before that date an April date was more common.

We’ve had around 50 guest locomotives, almost exclusively steam. The spring events have traditionally involved smaller locomotives, the main exception being the March 2009 ‘Festival of Steam’. GWR locos understandably lead the list with more than 20, with BR and LNER following behind at seven each.

So mostly GWR, mostly small locomotives, meaning our most frequent March guest has been … Somerset & Dorset 7F No 88 (BR 53808), a large non-GWR locomotive which appeared in 2007, 2008 and 2018! Other locos that have featured more than once are GWR pannier tanks 1638, 5786 and 6430, LMS Ivatt class 2 tank 41312, BR Standard 80072 and LNWR Coal Tank 1054.

By class, the GWR tank locos reassert themselves. Step forward large Prairie 4100/5100 Class (4141, 4144 and 5199); ‘Taffy tank’ 0-6-2T 5600/6600 Class (5619, 5637 and 6695), and small Pannier 6400 Class (6412, 6430 and 6435).

Diesel fans will be disappointed that their events have mostly started later in spring. The exceptions? Step forward Class 40 D213 Andania in 1986, and a special mention for a 4-car Voyager and a PPM50 Parry People Mover in 2002!

We hope you enjoy the gallery of some of our visitors from this month, in years past.

Click on the gallery for full, uncropped images and descriptions.

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Reciprocal travel scheme 2021 update

Reciprocal travel officer, Phil Ralls contacted Express Points with a timely update on the current operation of the reciprocal travel scheme that applies to certain participating heritage railways: 

As we look in hope to emerging from the third English lockdown, heritage railways are uncertain what the year ahead will hold.

 

As I suggested last year, working/retired working members intending to visit a scheme member railway should continue to contact them first and mention that you are an appropriate passholder, to ascertain what their operating/booking conditions are. I anticipate that, not unreasonably in the circumstances, you would be expected to pay a fare.

All heritage railways face similar restrictions necessary to operate safely while managing the potential risk of infections.

Several of the larger railways, including the SVR, have been able to operate but quite a few others have not been able to do so for various reasons such as availability of suitable rolling stock and potential costs of adapting some to take into account social distancing. All these factors have a direct bearing on the heritage railways’ reciprocal travel scheme. 

Please email should you have any queries on the reciprocal travel scheme. I will continue to keep the position under review and, like us all, hope that there are better times ahead when we can all get back to a new 'normal'.

Note: the reciprocal travel scheme applies only to SVR working or retired members who are in possession of an appropriate pass. This is a separate arrangement to the Heritage Railway Association Inter-Rail passes.

Photo: an excuse to show this lovely image of an SVR based loco at another railway. GWR 1450 with Autotrailer Chaffinch at GWSR. Martin Creese.

Photographic Competition 2020 – the winners are announced!

The results are in for the first competition for working members and staff, as Christine Bentham tells Express Points: 

 

Thanks to everyone who took part, either by entering their photos or by voting for their favourites. More than 80 working members and staff cast their votes in the competition, and there was neck-and-neck competition. The photo competition page on SVRLive shows the five category winners and runners up.

Three categories were dominated by two photographers, Tom Clarke and Kenny Felstead, who had both entered some superb pictures and were battling it out for the top honours. 

 

We hope you enjoy seeing some great photos of the SVR’s locos, trains, people and stations, and are readying yourself to take some new pictures around the Railway this year to submit in the next competition.

Congratulations go to all our worthy prize-winners! Each category winner receives an SVR gift voucher to the value of £15, and runners-up get a voucher for £5. We’re delighted to announce your choice of winners.

Locomotives and Rolling Stock 

First: Chris Reason’s picture of Bellerophon making a spirited get-away from Bewdley station 

Runner up: Jamie White’s moody night-time shot of 813 at Arley 

Stations 

First: Jamie White’s dazzling snow scene 

Runner up: Ellis Butler’s imaginative composition of the platform and curved track leading through the bridge. 

SVR People 

First: Kenny Felstead’s black-and-white composition of the autotrain crew at Highley 

Runner up: Tom Clarke’s picture of the 4144 cleaning gang at Bewdley 

 

Trains in the Landscape 

First: Kenny’s photo of 61572 at Severn Lodge 

Runner up: Tom’s photo of 1450 and 7714 double-headed 

‘Wildcard’ 

This category which gave entrants the opportunity to express what the SVR meant to them. 

First: Kenny’s delightful view of 1450 accelerating away from Sterns (pictured above). 

Runner up: Tom Clarke’s captivating footplate shot of a potential fireman-to be!

Photo: Kenny Felstead’s delightful view of 1450 accelerating away from Sterns

 
 

We’ll meet again! Special events are back! 

Plenty of plans for special events have come together this month, as events manager Lewis Maddox tells Express Points: 

 

As you’ll read elsewhere in Express Points, the Spring Steam Up and Spring Diesel Bash will operate as planned, but with catering outlets offering a takeaway service and the pubs a table service only. The Engine House, classed as an indoor attraction, will remain closed. 

The Spring Diesel Bash is set to have two visiting engines in attendance, so keep your eyes peeled on our social media for these announcements. Like the Spring Steam Up which is already 75% sold out, tickets are selling really quickly, so don’t delay!

When everything is back up and running, we have some exciting new adventures on offer. Our joint packages combine a trip on the Severn Valley Railway with a visit to another attraction, or participation in another experience. Whilst some plans are still being finalised, we’re looking at combined visits to Arley Arboretum and Dudmaston Hall, as well alpaca trekking, Segway experiences, cycle hire, Bewdley Brewery tours and lots more!

We’ll meet again! Our Step back to the 1940s weekends will be back on June 26th & 27th, and July 3rd & 4th, but we’ll be making a few changes to the event: 

  • Four trains in service, each running one staggered round trip 

  • Passengers must pre-book onto a certain train and only travel in their reserved seats (table or compartment)

  • Specific events and set pieces will take place at Kidderminster, Bewdley, Arley, Highley & The Engine House, and Bridgnorth 

  • Initially we’re planning for a daytime event only, but may add evening events 

 

Keep your eye on www.svr.co.uk for regular new event updates. 

 

Vacancy for bar manager at the King and Castle

There is a vacancy for a bar manager for the King and Castle, at Kidderminster Town station.

A regular Wyre Forest CAMRA 'Pub of the Year' winner, the pub serves a range of regular and guest cask ales, along with a choice of lagers, ciders and spirits, including a large range of gins. It also provides a great range of hearty hot and cold meals, as well as Sunday lunches.

More information can be found on the SVR website’s employment page, and on hired online. The closing date is 20th March. 

 

Photo: Dan Shorthouse

Discounts and ticketing update

Severn Valley Railway Company chairman Diane Malyon is writing to current and retired working members with travel vouchers and to advise that the volunteer staff, retirement and car park passes issued in 2020 will remain valid for the whole of the 2021 season. A few small changes have been made to eligibility since last month’s Express Points was first published and we think it’s a good idea to follow up with an overview of discounts for working members and shareholders. Please continue to check the event plan on Teams/SVROnline for full information. 

 

Booking Process 

Customers will be encouraged to pre-book tickets online (www.svr.co.uk) or by phone (01562 757900). Tables of two, and compartments of four or six will be available. There are no first-class upgrades or flexi-rovers. 

 

One wheelchair space will be available to pre-book on each train travelling in a wheelchair accessible compartment, or in a wheelchair saloon with accompanying table(s).

Working members 

You will be able to access reduced rate tickets online or by phone using your volunteer staff number, preceded by VOL: 

  • Day tickets: 100% volunteer discount. Any non-working member joining the working member (up to the maximum number of a table or compartment), may travel for £15 each, payable at the booking office before travel 

  • Special events: 65% volunteer discount. This discount is only available on certain events

In addition, you will receive two complimentary vouchers for friends or family. You may use these online or by phone using your volunteer staff number, preceded by VOUCHER. 

  • Day tickets: 100% discount, to be used against compartments of four. The discount code is limited to two uses. The voucher must be exchanged at the booking office to permit travel. 

Shareholders 

Shareholders with a minimum holding of 100 shares will be able to access reduced rate tickets online or by phone using your shareholder Unique Identification Number (UIN), preceded by SH. 

  • Day tickets: 100% shareholder discount. Those joining the shareholder who are not covered by the entitlement (up to the maximum number of a table or compartment) may travel for £15 each, payable at the booking office before travel. 

  • Special events: 65% shareholder discount, only available on certain events. 

 

The shareholder benefits remain as shown on the SVR website

Members 

Any TTIs or booking office staff reading this will need to also know that SVR members will be able to access reduced rate tickets online or by phone by using their membership number 

  • Day tickets: 33% member discount

  • Special events: 33% discount, only available for certain events 

 

There are also arrangements for loyalty pass holders, children, dogs and other tickets in the event plan.

 

Should you encounter any difficulties please contact the VLO as your parental department in the first instance on 01299 401776 (0900-1800) or vlo@svrlive.com. If they are unable to assist, please contact the membership department on membership@svrlive.com or 01562 757 930 between the hours of 9.30 and 1.30 Monday to Wednesday.

 

Managing training in Bewdley yard 

It’s an SVR requirement that managers are responsible for the safe use of equipment in the workspace. This fundamentally requires that staff are trained to a common standard and that competency is recorded. Bewdley yardmaster Clive Thompson has been in touch with Express Points to tell us more: 

Some SVR volunteers may have received professional training, others may have just picked up an appliance and started using it. How would you know? Having already identified a number of higher risk activities which take place in Bewdley yard, the challenge was to identify competency amongst the workforce, and record it.

As an example, take the common activity of using a portable angle grinder for grinding, cutting or wire brushing. A competency standard needed to be established, then we needed to test the knowledge and obtain evidence of the result so that qualified staff can be easily identified. Fortunately, some of the components were already in place. The SVR already has a staff database, within which competencies can be recorded. This also has functionality that can support a training package and exam.

A search quickly identified a very good 45-minute video from Weld.com in the US. The video was embedded within course material which emphasises key points of safety and identifies any variances between the video and SVR policy. The training package was then loaded onto the database and made accessible to candidates who have registered using their SVR UIN. Details of the person taking the test and their answers to the questions are recorded in a PDF document. Successful results are automatically recorded in the database. 

As yardmaster, I have access to a report with names of Bewdley staff against a list of skills which includes competency in portable angle grinders. This can be edited as required and posted on site for the reference of supervisors and the workforce.

 

What has been achieved is a robust on-line training course at no cost to the SVR, which can be used to train as many staff as necessary, and which is entirely editable. The same process could be used across the SVR. 

This represents a great example of volunteers and paid staff working together to resolve an issue of mutual interest. Those on the working group were Simon Brooks, Mick Haynes, Brian Hill, Rich Morris and myself, with additional thanks to Colin Astbury and Martin Turbutt for input to the course material, and to Rob Starkey for work on the database. 

H&S manager Rich Morris commented, “We have seen excellent collaboration between the working parties and the outcome has been welcomed by all. We hope this new way of working will be extended to all areas of the railway over the next 12 months.”

 

Photo: Bewdley yard looking very different to normal to allow electrical work to take place in February 2021. Matt Robinson 

 

Plans for many improvements at Bridgnorth

In the recent volunteers’ Q&A, SVR (Holdings) Plc chairman Nick Paul referred to the need to further improve further the ‘public realm’ at Bridgnorth, including the visitor’s walk from the new car park to the station. Station master Chris Thomas gives Express Points an update on the station’s plans: 

Despite everything that the fates threw at us, we are looking forward to safely returning. The team will concentrate on improving the public experience through volunteer projects, within the Railway’s financial constraints.

Working from the south, we will improve the area around the refreshment room terrace. We aim to clear and plant the steep bank below, and to plant along the embankment fence.

Another smaller project is the new disabled toilet installed in the former gents. This is already an improvement in our facilities, but still requires completion of tiling and painting of the lobby area to bring it up to standard.

Around the station front and access footpaths, we will be renewing and enhancing lighting, using period GWR-style lights as installed elsewhere on the site. This replacement programme of external lighting has been undertaken by suitably qualified volunteers, including excavation, concreting, cabling and commissioning. To date they've raised locally £60,000 to provide 26 new GW no 2 lampposts with associated luminaires and half-harps, plus corner brackets to match the original gas fittings.

At the north end, the footpath route passes the site occupied by the 82045 Trust. We aim to make public realm improvements with new fencing, lamp posts and path, and will be able to progress this more effectively when the Trust is able to vacate its site. 

We also hope to make progress this year with enabling works toward the station improvement project. 

A significant volunteer project will be a full repaint of the station footbridge, which was deferred by Covid-19. It’s showing the effects of 17 years of locomotive exhausts since it last underwent a major refurbishment in 2004, when it was taken down for shot-blasting and powder coating.

These volunteer projects will incrementally enhance our offering in advance of the major improvements when the development project is progressed. New volunteers are invited to join our merry throng - a friendly welcome (within Covid-19 restrictions) awaits, in return for the loan of your skills and enthusiasm. Please contact chris.thomas@svrlive.com 

Photo: Donkey gallop resurfaced at Bridgnorth 2021. Sue Thomas

 

7th March 2021

V2 8th March replaces photo with that of J Kerswill

V3 12th March, with thanks to Michael Denholm, Welsh Guardsman was constructed in Newcastle upon Tyne Works (7170 of 1944)

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