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May 2019

75069 is seen soon after departing Hampton Loade on the 29th April 2019. By Ian Murray

Welcome to your latest edition of

Express Points!

Hello, and a very warm welcome to your May 2019 Express Points, packed full of  news and insights from around the Railway. In this edition, Nick Ralls shares news of what’s planned next for the Bridgnorth project, following the opening of the new refreshment room. We meet a newly refurbished carriage that’s set to cause a stir when it goes into service on the SVR, plus there’s news from Bridgnorth MPD, Kidderminster TMD, Bewdley station, The Engine House, Highley and we learn how an enterprising group of young volunteers put on their own rather unusual train service, the ‘Rag Express’.  All here, ready and waiting for your attention! 

We love it when people get in touch and let us know what they’re up to, and so do our readers. Send a photograph and a few lines about what has been happening in your part of the SVR and we’ll include your news in next month’s edition. We want Express Points to reflect the widest possible variety of news from, and we need your help to do that. Please send your contribution for the June edition to by Thursday 6th June or earlier if you can.. 


Please do get in touch from wherever you work on the Railway, as we want to include as wide a range of news and views as possible in Express Points. Just email us at and remember to include a photograph or two. 


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Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors

Picture by Ian Murray
Next edition Sunday 9th June 2019

Next steps for Bridgnorth 

Following the opening of the new refreshment room at Bridgnorth, general manager Nick Ralls has set out the next steps for the Bridgnorth project, which will see the installation of the renovated Bath Road, Bristol turntable, the renewal of track work in the motive power yard and the construction of a new locomotive pit. Nick explained more about phase III: 

“Chris Bond and Alan Davies are working with the Turntable Fund to produce a cost for this phase of the project, using the SVR’s recently formulated ‘Guidelines for Building and Civil Engineering Projects’. If the proposal gets board approval in June, construction on the turntable pit and the track work may start as early as this year.  

“We will be considering the impact of undertaking this work in 2019 and any potential of conflict with other capital projects on the Railway and on Santa 2019 operations. There will be further updates on this new phase following the June board meeting.  

“The station building and bar extension have not been forgotten. Whilst outline plans exist for the building, further work is required to prepare a fully costed project. With much of the available resource focussed on phase III turntable and track work reconfiguration, we cannot progress on the planning work for the station building and bar extension until after June 2019. 

“Directors are aware that the Bridgnorth master plan provided for a volunteer accommodation block behind the boiler shop on the northern field. The block contained accommodation and storage for engineering services beneath it. Recently, the Railway has secured the rental of storage along Station Lane and therefore a storage block is not urgently required. This being the case, the boards of directors with the Bridgnorth accommodation committee will be reconsidering how best to provide volunteer accommodation at Bridgnorth. This is unlikely to commence until 2021 because of the current commitments on civils and building projects. 

“It is very satisfying to see that the success of the 2016 share offer means the Railway has already realised the delivery of two Bridgnorth project phases; phase I - the refreshment room and toilet block, and phase II -  the car park and access roads. This is not the end of the story and I hope you can see that real progress is being made in the delivery of another phase, potentially in 2019. Thank you for your support.” 

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Tap to Give™ trial at Kidderminster station 

The Charitable Trust is introducing a new way for people to make small, quick donations to the SVR. It’s putting in a Tap to Give™ device on the concourse at Kidderminster station. An eye-catching poster invites visitors to ‘donate now’ to help get 4930 Hagley Hall back in steam, and all that’s needed is a contactless credit or debit card.  

Donors simply use their card to Tap to Give™ using the device installed within the body of the poster frame. The default donation is £3, but they can choose to increase this if they wish. The Charitable Trust’s Shelagh Paterson hopes the new method will prove popular: 

“We think this is going to make it very easy for people to show their appreciation and give a little back following a fantastic day out on the Railway. We’ve spoken to another leading heritage railway where they’ve already had a good response with their own Tap to Give™ device.  

“When you’re on duty, or even when you’re not, please do let visitors know about the device and encourage them to use it. If it proves successful, we’ll roll it out to other parts of the SVR.” 

The device and poster will be in place in the coming weeks, housed within an authentic GWR-style frame, kindly made by Mick Yarker. 

tap to give poster proof 3.jpg
Cracking Christmas The Arley break down

2019 thank you event for volunteers 

The Guarantee Board, Holdings Board and Staffing Committee have announced that this year’s informal thank you will take place at The Engine House, Highley on Saturday 15th June between 7.00 and 10.30pm. 

It’s ‘ticket only’ and these can be obtained from the middle of May on a ‘first come, first served’ basis from booking offices and the volunteer liaison office on production of a 2019 working member’s pass (maximum of two tickets per volunteer) 

Train times are as follows;  

Kidderminster Depart 18.30 (arrive Highley 19.08) Return 22.35 (arrive Kidderminster 23.10) 

 Bridgnorth Depart 18.50 (arriving Highley 19.17) Return 22.25 (arriving Bridgnorth 22.50)  

Changes to the board of the Charitable Trust

At the Annual General Meeting of the SVR Charitable Trust on 8th April 2019 the following changes were announced:  

 •Chairman Hugh McQuade and trustee Roger Scanlon stepped down from their roles 

•John Leftwich took on the role of interim Chairman 

•Two new trustees have joined the board: David Owen OBE (shown right) and Paul Fathers (shown left) 

 Commenting on the changes, chairman of SVR Holdings and fellow trustee Nick Paul said: 

 “Hugh’s input from the beginning of the discussions to enlarge the remit of the Charity until the present day has been crucial to its success. He recognised from the outset that we needed to become professional fundraisers, and has supported the Charity to the hilt throughout his time as chairman.” 

Under Hugh’s chairmanship, the Trust has contributed over £1.5 million to Railway projects, created a £1.3 million endowment fund and recently won a bid for £850k for Falling Sands Viaduct from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Nick added: “Roger brought a vast amount of hands-on rolling stock experience to the board, as a locomotive driver of more than 30 years vintage. He started his volunteering career with the Railway in 1971. 

“We are hugely thankful to both Hugh and Roger for everything they have done for the Charity, and wish them well with their future SVR endeavours.” 

At the AGM, the Trustees unanimously voted in John Leftwich as interim chairman. John has been spearheading the Trust’s fundraising efforts since 2012, with commendable success. His background in sales and marketing, as marketing vice president for Microsoft for 10 years, have helped him shape the Trust's fundraising efforts. 

Welcoming the new trustees, John Leftwich commented:  

“David Owen’s involvement with the SVR started back in 1973, when his company Rubery Owen bought 150,000 shares to support the extension of the line from Hampton Loade to Bewdley. He served as a director of SVR Holdings until last year, and brings a vast amount of business acumen to his role with the Charity. 

“Paul Fathers will be well known to many people on the SVR. He’s been a staunch supporter and volunteer since his teenage years back in the 1960s. He brings a wealth of experience with him, and will play a key role in assisting the Charity to develop its fundraising strategy and contribute to its governance.”  

David and Paul join existing trustees John Leftwich, Nick Paul, David Williams, David Mead, Ron Treverton-Jones and Peter Copsey. 

Paul Fathers and David Owen.jpeg
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SVR defibrillator is a life saver 

The Kidderminster Shuttle recently reported that five police officers will receive  awards from the Royal Humane Society for saving the life of 70-year-old Terry Quirk after he had a heart attack and collapsed near the SVR’s Kidderminster town station. The police officers were able to help the pensioner using the debrillator that is kept on the station concourse. 

The SVR’s safety advisor Mel Cook says that the incident, which took place last September, shows the important role that the Railway plays in the local community: 

“This defibrillator was one of four we purchased in 2013 and had been well maintained by station staff. It was instrumental and effective in saving this gentleman’s life. It shows the Railway in a very positive light, and is a clear example of how we are contributing to local safety and well being.  

“We also have defibrillators at Arley and Bridgnorth stations and The Engine House, Highley. If any SVR department or station would like to provide a defibrillator in addition to those already in situ I am very happy to give advice and our first aid supplier can offer us these appliances at a good discount.” 


Contact Mel on


Photo from the Kidderminster Shuttle shows PC Sam Maher and Terry Quirk on the station concourse 

The ‘Rag Express’ 

In mid-April, an exclusive train service took place on the Railway, the result of a rather innovative idea dreamt up by a group of young volunteers from Kidderminster’s traction maintenance depot. Josh Eaton got in touch to let us know all about it: 

“One of the TMD volunteers works in a laundry and was offered an 18-tonne delivery of unwanted table cloths and napkins.  Of course, these are much in demand at the SVR where they’re used for cleaning, wiping down parts and lighting up steam locomotives.  

“While we were helping to sort out the rags and loading them into a Siphon for storage, we came up with the idea of the ‘Rag Express’. On 14th April, we were able to arrange for ourselves and the Siphon to go on a round trip of the line to deliver supplies of rags to all the stations, signal boxes and MPDs. It was a major success and got the TMD a lot of goodwill!” 

Josh is one of a group of ex-members of the SVR Junior Club, aged between 14 and 16 and mentored by volunteer Roland Bull at Kidderminster TMD. They meet most Saturdays and their tasks range from cleaning up the TMD and area around the yard to learning about the locomotives and shunting. 


Photo caption: From left to right, Josh Eaton, Jacob Hardcastle, Jack Baldwin and Matthew Moore 

Rag Express team.jpg
Plants for Commemorative Garden.JPG

Plants for Commemorative Garden 


The Commemorative Garden that the Charitable Trust is creating at The Engine House, Highley moved a step closer to completion this week, when volunteer gardener Bob Mitchell collected a significant donation of plants from B&Q Kidderminster. In consultation with B&Q advisors Alex Kennedy and Josie Sidebotham, Bob selected a variety of plants: 


“I wanted to use hardy, drought-resistant plants that will come back, year after year. This collection that B&Q have kindly donated includes lavender, sedums and grasses, plus I’ve brought in some very successful tall daisies from my own garden.” 


It’s hoped the garden will be open to visitors soon, as the Charitable Trust’s Lesley Carr explained: 


“There are a few, final tasks to carry out before it’s all ready. We need to add a final covering of decorative stone and install some curved benches. This is going to be a very special area for people to remember their loved ones, and the connection they had with the Railway, and it will be open to all Engine House visitors.” 


You can donate online to help fund projects like the Commemorative Garden at .  

Another jewel in the SVR’s crown 


The smiles say it all! A number of the team members behind our latest carriage restoration gathered for a photo opportunity last week as they showed off the almost-finished BR Mark 1 No 80776. 


This Charitable Trust-funded project has enabled the creation of a unique wheelchair-accessible dining car, the only one of its type in heritage rail. It has an unusual zigzag table arrangement to allow maximum flexibility for different seating arrangements. After visiting the carriage & wagon works in Kidderminster, general manager Nick Ralls said, “It was a pleasure to see 80776, a vehicle that the team should be very proud of.  Thanks to the SVR Charitable Trust for funding this restoration through the generosity of individual donations and a significant grant obtained from the Department for Transport.” 


Engineering services manager Neil Taylor added, “Looking at this carriage, what becomes clear is the extent of the vision, dedication and effort that has been put into it, not just during the three years of build, but in the time leading up to it when the idea was hatched. We’re making plans to launch and promote the carriage and look forward to it entering service later this season.”  

80776's restoration team.jpg
S&T window completed at Bewdley.JPG
Latest window sill at Bewdley.JPG

Stonework replacement continues at Bewdley 


The SVR’s ‘resident’ stonemason Philip Chatfield has contacted us, with photographs of the work he’s recently carried out at Bewdley station. He’s been concentrating on the station’s frontage to the car park, and we think the results are very impressive! Over to Philip: 


“The large square bay window to the S&T room (shown in the first photograph) is finished, along with the plinth courses and the main booking office window sills and their corbels. I’ve just installed the carved and masoned window sill in the second photograph, which is on the first floor of the station house. I have to admit it was a pig of a job, but it’s looking good now. I’ve now moved onto the angled bay window below, and when this is completed, I’ll move onto the platform side of the Bewdley building. Oh, there are still two chimney stacks to overhaul at Arley!” 


Two photos, first is the S&T window (Dai Phillips) and the second is the upstairs window (Philip Chatfield) 

Two new faces at the SVR 

Frank Wilson is the catering and bars manager who will lead the team in developing the SVR’s catering and bar provision, working alongside Elise Ballard, the on-train catering manager. With a degree in corporate hospitality and hotel management, Frank brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the hotel and restaurant industry, acquired at many well-known and local catering, bar, hotel and event companies.  

Chris Fallon takes up the vacant post of marketing and design assistant, to provide marketing and event support and much needed, and more cost effective, in-house design and production skills for the Railway. Chris has worked in the creative industries since graduating from the University of Central Lancashire, gaining experience including press advertising, education marketing and sign production.  Marketing manager Nikki Davies has requested that if a team has any requests or needs support for posters, flyers, menus or signage, please contact her on

Chris Fallon.jpg
Frank Wilson.jpg

In memoriam  

It is with regret that we learnt that Denvir Drury died on 1st April. Denvir was an active player in the construction of the Kidderminster Signalling in the 1980s. He subsequently helped with various signal box rewiring schemes and the renewal of lineside equipment. A full obituary will appear in SVR News in due course. Denvirs funeral took place 18th April in Merseyside. John Phillips, signalling manager 

We have recently learned the sad news that Shirley Hornby passed away unexpectedly on 20th April. Shirley (nee Thompson) held a number of volunteering roles with the Railway, primarily based at Hampton Loade where she was a leading light in maintaining the station gardens with Steve Dockerty. He recalls Shirley’s invaluable expertise in this connection. Shirley was married to Phil (an SVR Santa Elf!) of the 2857 Group, and assisted by son Andy, the family spent many years helping in the operation of the Paddock Railway at Hampton Loade, which coupled with Shirley’s National Trust interests, no doubt resulted in a busy volunteering life. Full details of the funeral will be announced shortly but in the meantime we send our condolences to Shirley’s family and friends at this sad time. Barry Moreton, VLO 

7714's new ash pan.jpg

An eventful month at MPD 

Volunteer shed master Martin White sends this report covering April’s highs and lows 


Even by our standards, it’s been a busy month! Open House Weekend in the Motive Power Depot was very popular; I am sure that a significant factor in this is the rarity value. This is now the only time in the year when we open our doors to all-comers. A lot of preparation is required, to make the site as safe as possible for our visitors by cordoning off walking routes etc. Despite all of this, there was still a mishap in the main shed which was categorised as reportable. We’ve already identified some improvements to try and prevent a reoccurrence. Open House also means extra volunteering and rostering of MPD staff to act as stewards and guides, and information boards have to be produced or brought up-to-date. Like most special events on The Valley, it’s the behind-the-scenes work that makes Open House successful.  


A week after Open House, the main running season commenced. In reality, the number of charters and footplate experience trains meant seven-days-a-week running had started a week and half before then. It didn’t take long before events started to conspire against the engineering teams and we started to run out of available steam motive power.  

  • 2857 broke a driving wheel spring on the Saturday of Open House, but was repaired and back in traffic by the following Tuesday. 

  • 7802 suffered some brake issues, which eventually necessitated the front bogie being removed so that the loco brake cylinder could be stripped down. This work took the best part of a week to sort out. 

  • The early season dry weather didn’t help; 7714 had to be withdrawn from traffic as it was causing lineside fires due to hot embers falling from its hopper ash pan. A replacement, ‘traditional’, flat ashpan is currently being installed. This was work we had planned to do before the main summer period, but we have had to bring it forward.  

  • 75069 became due for a boiler wash-out and the opportunity was taken to examine a steam leak that had been noticed coming from under the boiler cladding. This was resolved by one of the boilersmiths caulking a couple of dome rivets, but meant the loco was unavailable for a couple of extra days 

  • 1501 was away at the South Devon Railway (although unfortunately 1450 wasn’t finished in time to participate there.) 

  • 43106 and 1450 were still undergoing valve and piston (V&P) work 


The rostered services remained steam-hauled, albeit there were a few days when no spare loco was available. 

At the end of April, 1501 is in service having returned from South Devon, 813 is having a scheduled wash-out after a trip to East Anglia and 4144 is also being washed out. Now that the work on 1450 is completed, it has gone to Didcot for a few months.  

Photo by Martin White shows 7714’s new flat ash pan being constructed. Notice there are no bottom doors for the cinders to fall out of, and the hinged opening damper door at the front 

Clip on ties – orders now being taken 

Barry Moreton at the volunteer liaison office is frequently asked if it’s possible to purchase SVR clip on ties. Many people find them more comfortable, and they are preferable from a personal safety point of view. In the light of a number of enquiries, Barry has done some research: 

“I’m pleased to say that we have located a manufacturer who will produce clip-on ties for us, at an affordable cost. The cloth is maroon and will have the SVR logo woven into the tie. The Guarantee Board has kindly agreed to subsidise the cost, which results in a price of £10 per item to the volunteer. We’ll need to put in a minimum order of 36, so please do get in touch with me soon to order yours.” 

Barry can be contacted on or 01299 401776. 

Join #TeamSVR

Our pioneering Heritage Skills Training Academy is recruiting two apprentices to take up their posts from August 2019, and to commence their engineering apprenticeship qualifications through Dudley College in September. 

All apprenticeship vacancies are advertised through the National Apprenticeship Scheme. You can find full details and make an application at: 


Please note the SVR cannot accept applications directly. 

Join team SVR.JPG
Clip on tie.jpg

News from the TMD

Our thanks to Roland Bull who has sent some of his photographs showing aspects of the work that’s been taking place over the last month in and around the traction motive department at Kidderminster. Over to Roland: 


“Up on the jacks you can see 50049. It’s been lifted for attention to the traction motor gear cases (welding some cracks) and replacement of the Motak lubricant. 


“Outside in the yard, this group of volunteers has been smoothing out the ballast as part of a project to widen the roadway for better emergency vehicle access.  Pictured left to right are Jacob Hardcastle, Harry Storer, Jack Baldwin, Jeff Atkins and Matthew Moore.” 

Kidderminster TMD 50149 on the jacks.jpg
Volunteers filling the road yardway at T

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Any opinions or views expressed in this newsletter are entirely the opinions of the contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Directors of Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) PLC. which owns the Severn Valley Railway, Severn Valley Railway Company Limited, the members of which are responsible for its operation, or the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust.

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