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November 2018

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40106 is seen heading for Arley on the 20/10/2018 , by Ian Murray

Welcome to your latest edition of

Express Points!

There’s a seasonal chill in the air, the leaves are falling, and bonfire night is upon us. A good time to reflect on two superb recent events at the SVR; the autumn Steam Gala and the Class 50 Golden Jubilee event. At the same time, the Railway is dusting off the tinsel and the reindeer antlers as we prepare for our Santa events. Not only do these few weeks generate a significant part of the annual income, but they are also amongst the busiest in terms of passenger numbers. Safety advisor Mel Cook has a timely reminder about the need to keep everyone safe.  The project to restore Falling Sands Viaduct passes an important milestone as the final bid for funding goes in to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Plus there’s news on a number of restoration projects around the SVR, a couple of well-deserved awards and lots else besides. We hope you enjoy your November helping of SVR news. 

As always, please do get in touch and tell us about your patch at the SVR – with an operation the size of the Severn Valley, it’s often difficult for people to know what’s going on elsewhere, and it’s not because they’re not interested, it’s simply because they’re busy doing their thing too. But we are all in the same team, so let’s share what we do with each other. Email us at and please send photographs too. They really do add a great deal. 


Each month we have a draw for a £20 voucher to spend on the Railway, check here to see if it's you.


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


Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors

Picture by Ian Murray
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Next edition available Sunday 2nd December!

Two cracking autumn galas attract the crowds 

The Railway has rounded off its main season of events with two superbly organised and attended galas – the Autumn Steam Gala in late September and the Class 50 Golden Jubilee event in early October.   

The Steam Gala committee this year organised a super line up of locomotives, with something for everyone and some big names in there as well. It will certainly be a challenge next year to match this line up.  

A total of 6,335 passengers were recorded over the preview day and the three main days, well up on the target of 6,000. This satisfying figure was achieved despite inclement weather on the Saturday, so had the weather gods been kinder, the numbers would have been even high. General manager Nick Ralls said, “I do not underestimate the planning and operational demands on all staff to stage a gala of this size, thank you for the magnificent show. I am sure it was appreciated by all those who visited. I must also acknowledge and thank the visiting locomotive owners who allowed their locos to come to the SVR for the Gala. All visiting and home fleet locos performed admirably over four days of intense running.” 

Just two weeks later the Class 50 Golden Jubilee event attracted excellent passenger numbers of 3,574. The diesel committee were keen to have an event based on a single type of diesel, especially in this, the 50th anniversary of the Class 50, and their connections brought together 11 Class 50 diesels in a rare gathering.  

The target for the three-day event was 2,263 passengers, so the recorded result surpassed all expectations. Chairman of the diesel committee Jonathan Dunster paid tribute to the considerable planning that was needed: “It’s meant working with owners of Class 50 diesels, gaining their permission to attend and organising the logistics for their arrival. I’d like to thank them all for their cooperation in bringing together the 11 locos. Thanks also to the diesel committee and diesel department volunteers for organising this excellent event. It really has been a great success and the committee are already thinking about a suitable diesel event for October 2019!”

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Final funding bid for Falling Sands Viaduct sent to HLF 

On 26th October, the SVR Charitable Trust submitted a final bid for grant funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund. This is for a total just short of £1 million. If successful, it would fund the majority of the £1.3 million costs of restoring Falling Sands Viaduct.  

A development grant of £71,800 has already been awarded by HLF to enable the Railway to carry out initial investigations and draw up specifications for the work to be carried out.  

The three members of the SVR family, SVR Holdings, the SVR Company Limited and the SVR Charitable Trust are working in partnership on the major project to carry out essential repairs to Falling Sands Viaduct. After 141 years of service, the structure is badly showing its age, and without restoration, the Railway could be forced to shorten its trains or even close the line linking Kidderminster to the rest of the Severn Valley. As many readers will know, there is already a speed restriction in place over the viaduct. 

Charitable Trust director Shelagh Paterson said, “Since April this year, the Charitable Trust has been running the ‘helping hands for Falling Sands’ appeal, to raise match funding for the project. Securing the rest of the project funding will play an important part in the HLF’s final decision, which we expect to receive next March.  

“There’s not long left if you want to add a name to the Falling Sands donation wall. We must close applications early in 2019, in order to prepare for and create the wall installation. We’d hate anyone to miss the chance to sign up for the wall, so please act soon. It would make an ideal Christmas present for someone who loves the SVR.” 

For a £50 donation you can add a name to the wall at  

A guide to your staffing committee 

The SVR’s staffing committee has been in existence for around 18 years, reporting directly to the SVR Co Ltd with a summary going to the Holdings Board. As committee members change, one constant has always been representation from the Volunteer Liaison Office. The general principle of the committee is to provide support for the VLO and look after all things to do with volunteers. The responsibilities of the committee include: 

Supporting the work of the Volunteer Liaison Office and its officers.  

 Zone reps – see personnel list below - represent volunteers at Kidderminster, Bewdley, Bridgnorth and the intermediate stations: they stand for election by the volunteers at each location every three years. You can contact them if there are issues you wish to raise.  

Reviewing policies such as Code of Conduct…for Volunteer staff, Dealing with Vexatious Complaints, Child Protection and Working with Young People. All then go to the SVRH, SVRCT and SVRG Boards for approval before going live.  

 Supporting GDPR legislation changes with regard to how they affect volunteer departments.  

Organising ways to thank volunteers – quiz nights, pig roast, the monthly volunteer reward scheme vouchers and annual volunteer free travel tickets.  

Carrying out age profile analysis of operating departments to identify potential future issues with recruitment. So far guards and signalling departments have been covered. Using this information to support volunteer job fairs and recruitment drives.  

Monitoring timetabling and crewing issues which crop up when SVR runs many trains.  

Supporting the accommodation committees who manage the volunteer sleeping accommodation at each station.  

Negotiating with senior SVR management regarding volunteer discounts and benefits. The committee gained agreement for lunch to be provided when volunteers undertake First Aid training.  


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A spooky sell-out 

October’s Ghost Train events were a haunting success, with each of the three evenings’ services completely selling out. Four trains per evening carried a total of 2,700 passengers from a spine-chilling Kidderminster, through scary Bewdley to a blood-curdling experience alongside the haunted platforms of Arley. Huge ‘fangs’ to all the volunteers who were involved in putting on the events across the three evenings – your efforts were spectre-taculous! 

Photos by Ken Witherow

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Hagley Hall’s wheels come home 

A set of newly re-profiled wheels for locomotive 4930 Hagley Hall arrived back at Bridgnorth a few days ago, and we think you’ll agree they look mighty impressive! 

Meanwhile the loco’s new cylinders have left for machining by a West Midlands engineering company, and the boiler platework is on its way to be reunited with the boiler itself, which is under restoration at Stockton.  


All these moves mean that step by step, we’re getting closer to seeing 4930 back in steam. This project has received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Friends of Locomotive 4930 Hagley Hall, and you can add your support at 


Photos by Bob Sweet show the re-profiled wheels back at Bridgnorth, and the cylinders and boiler platework departing.

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Hagley Hall's reprofiled wheels back at

New Marketing & Sales Manager 

Nikki Davies has joined the Railway as Marketing and Sales Manager this week, replacing Clare Gibbard who left earlier this year. Her full-time role includes responsibility for ticket sales so she will be leading the Visitor Services Team, based at Comberton Place, Kidderminster. 

Nikki has a wide-ranging marketing career, and has worked for Sandwell College, Natural England, Defra and Bristol City Council. On joining SVR she said, “Severn Valley Railway has been part of my life since childhood and I know the area and opportunities very well. Over the years, I have watched the Railway become a major influencer and create a positive impact on surrounding communities and businesses. I am keen to help it grow. I am passionate about getting the right message to the right people at the right time in a way that they understand, and I am looking forward to working with the current marketing and visitor services teams and volunteers to keep building on SVR’s success”.  

Together with her husband Mark (along with Cilla the Jack Russell, and cats Tigger and Lola) Nikki lives in Trimpley overlooking the Railway and Arley Station. Outside of work, Nikki enjoys walking and the wildlife of Worcestershire. She loves cooking, and eating, and runs an occasional secret supper club – perhaps not so secret now! 

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If it’s SVR, it’s in the new Visitor Guide 

The history of the line, its stations and rolling stock, along with a comprehensive guide to the facilities, events and staff – all are described in detail in the new SVR Visitor Guide. This is the tenth edition, updated and carefully curated, as always, by David C Williams and it’s on sale at shops across the Railway. 

Anyone with more than a passing interest in the Severn Valley Railway will find something to delight them in its pages, which are lavishly illustrated with pictures from some of the best photographers associated with the Railway.  

The book is full of interesting facts and figures, some of which may surprise you. Did you know, for instance, that the original Kidderminster station building was in the mock-Tudor style? Or that the turntable to the north of the station was originally installed at Fort William in Scotland? 

At just £5, the book is a must-have for visitors and supporters of what we consider to be the best heritage railway in the country! Profits from its sale will benefit the SVR as well – what more could you ask for?

Volunteer Horace Poole with the new SVR
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Got a few hours to spare? 

If you could spare a few hours on the morning of Wednesday 7th November, the SVR needs you!  

A consignment of more than 10,000 toys will arrive at Kidderminster at 8am, although not by reindeer-drawn sleigh! These vital pieces of the Christmas season jigsaw needs unloading from the road transport onto rail vehicles, and this is where you come in.  

Last year, a fantastic group did the job in a couple of hours, and we’re hoping to do the same this year. After all, many hands make light work!! If you’re able to spare some time, please contact , 01562 757910 or extension 560. There’s the added incentive of a sausage butty in it! 

Diesel loco tagging raises thousands of pounds 


When Tony Middleton of the Class 50 Alliance first came up with the idea of getting people to donate to sign their name on 50033 Glorious, he had no inkling of how successful the scheme would become. 


The Alliance needed to raise around £10,000 to repaint the loco, and the innovative ‘tagging’ project has raised a stunning £3,460 towards the costs. Tony takes up the story: 


“We did a test run to Highley and collected £195 from photographers who used marker pens to tag the unpainted sides of the loco. Then we did a night photographers’ shoot on Kidderminster TMD before the Class 50 gala, raising a further £340. After that, the response from visitors to the gala was incredible. People loved the idea of putting their names on the loco, and also remembering their friends and loved ones.  


“We took out the side windows of the loco and put in a letter box type hole for people to put in their donations into, which went down really well.  


“During the winter I will have to do further prep on the loco’s body sides so it can be painted off-site at a professional paint shop.” 


Photos by Tony Middleton

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Thursfields Jenny Smith with Paul Father

A new legal structure for SVR-based group 

The Erlestoke Manor Fund has taken on a new legal structure with the help of Thursfields Solicitors . The Fund was established in 1973 to rescue the locomotives Erlestoke Manor and Bradley Manor after they were withdrawn for scrap by British Railways in 1965, returning both engines to full working order at the Railway.  

Jenny Smith, senior associate solicitor in Thursfields’ Halesowen office and head of the company’s charity sector department, said: “The Erlestoke Manor Fund is a very successful organisation with a large membership that’s met all its objectives over the years. 

“But the fund’s unincorporated structure left trustees, and potentially members, exposed to personal liability if the fund did not have sufficient assets to meet its payments.  

“We were instructed to advise on a corporate structure to limit the liability of trustees and members, but one that could reflect the current constitution, be tax efficient but still allow members to continue as shareholders. 

“We recommended a charitable community benefit society which met all of those criteria and allowed a smooth transition of assets, activities and liabilities from the old to the new structure with minimal red tape.” 

Thursfields’ experts worked closely with the fund’s trustees and agreed a bespoke constitution with the Financial Conduct Authority before the matter was put to members who voted unanimously in favour of the new structure. 

The change was timed to coincide with a significant contract for the latest overhaul of Erlestoke Manor at Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham. 

David Kilner, secretary and a trustee of the Erlestoke Manor Fund, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Thursfields for putting the Fund on a more secure legal footing to enable us to continue our heritage work with less personal risk to Trustees amongst other benefits.” 

More details are available at Thursfields Solicitors have a long association with the Railway, and are close supporters of the SVR Charitable Trust. 

Photo: Thursfields Jenny Smith with Paul Fathers and 7802 Bradley Manor 

The story behind No 45110 Black 5 

Many readers will know that the No 45110 Black 5 was one of the very last steam locomotives in mainline use. In 1968 it took part in the famous ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ service, the very last steam service operated by British Rail. At our Last Days of Steam event in August this year, it emerged from the interior of The Engine House to go on static display at Kidderminster, in honour of the 50th anniversary of that event.  


The Black 5 is now safely back under cover, but it is complemented by a new exhibition display, paid for by kind donations to the SVR Charitable Trust. Why not pop in and take a look next time you’re around in Highley? 


Photos: Nicky Vale

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75069's double chimney and petticoat are

MPD update  

Shed master Martin White has the inside track from Bridgnorth.


Since the last update, anyone who has stepped inside Bridgnorth shed will have seen visible progress on 75069. The boiler is now in the frames, the locomotive having moved from the Boiler Shop into the main works on 8th October. In simple terms, efforts are now being strongly directed towards three areas to see the loco completed.  At the front, the smokebox has been firmly bolted down to the saddle. The superheaters have been fitted as have the main steam pipes which were a considerable struggle. Big items such as the blastpipe, petticoat and chimney remain to be fitted, but are ready and waiting. At the back (cab end) the cab controls are being fitted which will included a lot of pipework along with damper and injector controls etc. In the middle, it’s all the running plates (now fitted) and a lot of pipework. Around all of this the paintwork is being fettled up.  In answer to the obvious ‘when will it be ready?’ question, the answer is - when it’s ready! There will need to be steam tests and running-in trips before any revenue-earning haulage commences. 


As indicated in last months report 7802, ‘Bradley Manor’, has been stopped for a scheduled V&P (valve & piston) exam. An Erlestoke Manor Fund mid-week working party stripped down what was necessary in order get the valves out, and removed the cylinder covers so that ESMP paid staff could conduct the necessary measurements and examinations. As expected the valves themselves require some routine work. The pistons need more work than anticipated as the wear tolerance limits are exceeded. This means new piston heads and a re-bore are necessary. Weekend ‘casual volunteer’ gangs stripped the cylinders ready for the re-bore, which commenced during the past week. What was hoped to be three weeks out of traffic will now have to be extended and could impact on 7802 being available for the first Santa weekend. We have moved some staff from overhaul work onto this job, to speed it up, but have left the team working on 75069 to continue, hopefully without any hinderance.  


With regards to the service locos, 2857 has been away to the North Yorkshire Moors for their gala, came back to Bridgnorth for a washout and running repairs, and then went away again to the East Lancs Railway. It’s now back and will resume duties on SVR trains. After half-term week we can consider the main running season to be drawing to a close, and there is a brief lull until the Santa Weekend. This means the smaller locos, particularly 7714 and 1501, will come to the fore and will haul the majority of the services. We will use this short interlude to do some boiler work on 34027, which had previously been deferred. This is planned to be a relatively short job to be completed before the aforementioned Santa Weekends.  


Never a dull moment in the MPD! 


Photo by Martin White shows 75069 with its upturned double chimney and petticoat in the foreground

SVR scoops two more awards 

The Railway has proved itself a double winner recently, scooping two very different but equally well-earned awards. 

The King & Castle at Kidderminster was named by Wyre Forest Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as their Pub of the Summer for 2018. CAMRA praised the wide selection of real ales and ciders, and the warm welcome given by the staff.  

And we picked up a ‘No Barriers’ Mike Oborski award for achievement in improving access to services for people with disabilities in the Wyre Forest District.  

One of the our volunteers nominated the railway for an award. Glenys Wrench has worked as a member of the on train buffet team for three years and has been impressed with what she’s seen: 

“Every day people here really are making the difference for disabled visitors. The platform staff are always fantastic about helping people use the access ramps to get on board the trains, and we have so many visitors from disability clubs, who always seem to enjoy themselves immensely.”  

The SVR currently has a number of rolling stock restoration projects currently underway to further enhance its accessibility for people with disabilities. A team at Bewdley is working on the restoration of a wheelchair-accessible buffet car for one of the railway’s GWR sets of coaches. Additionally, the Department for Transport awarded £75,000 towards restoring another wheelchair-accessible coach, and creating a unique first class dining car for wheelchair users and their companions.


The SVR Charitable Trust is funding all these restorations as part of the ‘Access for All’ initiative, to further improve facilities for people with disabilities at the railway. 

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Wheelchair users enjoying a trip on the

In Memoriam

Shirley Patterson 

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of Shirley Patterson, wife of Chas, on Thursday 27th September after only a 10-day battle with stomach cancer. Shirley was one of the very early members of the Severn Valley Venturer team who took on the task of washing and ironing all the laundry on a weekly basis and was a regular steward on the train. She also worked behind the bar in the Railwayman’s Arms as well as cleaning the volunteer accommodation at Bridgnorth.  

Barry Moreton, VLO

Fitter machinist vacancy in Kidderminster 

Following the resignation of Chris Lawley, we have a full-time vacancy in the Carriage & Wagon Mechanical Team for a Fitter Machinist to carry out safety-critical mechanical maintenance, overhaul and repair of heritage coaching stock. NVQ level 3 in engineering, operations and welding is required. 

 For more information, please email, leaving your telephone number for Nigel to call. The closing date for written applications to is 12 November.  

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Christmas gift ideas at Arley 

Head along to the Arley station fund shop where you’ll discover a range of goods on sale that could solve some of your Christmas present dilemmas. 

Liz Kempton, a member of the shop team is a gifted knitter and she’s created a collection of hand made gloves , beanies, wrist warmers and mittens.  

Christmas cards featuring the station are on special offer for £1 each, or six for £4.50. 

Plus there are several BR jackets, coats and trousers on sale. The shop is open every Sunday in November, and every weekend in December.


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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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