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October 2018

23/9/18 - The Duchess is seen at Little Rock with a Kidderminster bound service, by Ian Murray

Welcome to your latest edition of

Express Points!

Of course the highlight of the past month has to be the steam event everyone talks about, our Autumn Steam Gala, thank you for sending in your photos and stories from the event . There has been lots of activity since the gala including works which have on the field car park at Bridgnorth as well as lots of activity in the motive power department.

There’s plenty more to read in your October edition of Express Points, so have a browse!

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 CLICKING HERE


Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors

Picture by Ian Murray
Next edition available Sunday 4th November '18

Some Gala images by Ian Murray & Phil Garner

Quiz night

The next Quiz Night will be held  at Bridgnorth Station Buffet on Saturday 20th October 2018 7pm (for 7.30pm start)
Usual rules apply. Eat, drink and try to answer some of the questions – all with compliments of the Guarantee Board.
We look forward to seeing you for another enjoyable evening.


Holdings Board Director David Owen Retires

After many years as a Holdings Board Director, David Owen OBE has taken the decision to retire from his position on the Board effective from the 18th September 2018 Holdings Board meeting. David has played a pivotal part as a Director of Severn Valley Railway Holdings Plc and whilst he may be stepping away from this particular role we are delighted David will become a Trustee of Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust. We would like to take this opportunity to thank David for all his support as a Director since the infancy of the SVR. With the departure of David from the Holdings Board we are pleased announce that Graeme Bunker-James was co-opted onto the Holdings Board of Directors as of the same Holdings Board meeting last night. Graeme is an active volunteer at Bridgnorth MPD and brings with him a wealth of experience from his work with mainline Train Operating Companies and with the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. I am sure you will all join me in welcoming Graeme and wish David all the best for the future. 

Simon Hart, Company Secretary

The late Bernard Rainbow MBE

The family of the late Bernard Rainbow MBE wish to share their thanks and gratitude to all those that came to Bernard’s funeral on Thursday 20th September 2018. His wife Margaret, and children Julie and Gary, were touched by all those that have paid their respects.

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Christmas is just around the corner..

As the nights draw in and the temperature begins to plummet, it’s time to fetch the woolly hat…which can only mean one thing!
The Christmas season is fast approaching, and we’ve been taking bookings since the beginning of August. As months of hard work is coming together, one of the vital pieces of the puzzle, over 10,000 toys, are making their way to Kidderminster (but not by reindeer-drawn sleigh unfortunately). 
When the lorries arrive, we need some help to move the pallet loads of presents into three rail vehicles. Help is required on Wednesday 7th November from approximately 8am – 11am at Kidderminster if you’re available.   
Last year, a fantastic group did the job in a couple of hours, and we’re hoping to do the same this year, so
if you’re able to spare a few hours, please contact me, there’s even a sausage butty in it for you. Please contact: , 01562 757910 or extension 560 at Kidderminster Comberton Place. I look forward to hearing from you. 
Many thanks, Lewis Maddox - Events Coordinator




West Midlands Railway Kidderminster Station Redevelopment

As many of you will be aware, there is soon to be major redevelopment of the mainline station at Kidderminster. The work will involve the reconfiguration of the existing road and forecourt area as well as demolition and replacement of the existing station building. The project is being managed by SLC Rail and the works themselves undertaken by Buckingham Group contractors. The project is expected to be completed mid-2019.  Whilst there may well be some disruption on site, the SVR will benefit from the hiring of the former Northern Belle compound in our car park for site offices in exchange for some improvements to our car park. Elsewhere, the SVR will receive payment for the temporary re-allocation of 14 car parking spaces adjacent to the Carriage Works  The work was due to commence immediately after the Autumn Gala but a number of logistical problems with the project has resulted in a revised start date of 14th November 2018. The SVR will be in regular communication with the project team and contractors to ensure that there will be no disruption to SVR operations such as Christmas running, in particular the provision of parking at Kidderminster, whilst the work progresses.  

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Severn Valley Railway (Wolverhampton Branch) New Book on Wolverhampton's Railways

In 2010 the Wolverhampton Branch of the Severn Valley Railway published “Wolverhampton’s Railways in Colour” written by Simon Dewey, a full colour album of photographs of Wolverhampton railway scenes, locations and locomotives.


The Branch have now published a companion volume, titled “Wolverhampton’s Railways Revisited”. The book, again in hardback, follows a similar format to the earlier book but has been increased to 88 pages with over 100 photographs, again in full colour and each accompanied by an informative caption.


Locations featured include the Low Level and High Level stations, the engine sheds at Stafford Road, Oxley and Bushbury, Stafford Road locomotive works and Wednesfield Road Goods Depot amongst others.


Locomotives, both steam and modern traction, are well covered, with such famous types as “Kings”, “Castles”, “Halls”, “Royal Scots”, “Jubilees”, “Britannias”, Black 5’s, 8F’s and 9F’s included, together with Diesel and electric types , many themselves over half a century old, including Classes 25, 33, 40, 47, 50, 52, 60, 81, 86 and 87.


Wolverhampton as an important railway centre declined with the rundown of steam operations during the 1960’s and the progressive closure of the engine shed between 1963 and 1967 and Stafford Road Works in 1964. Through services from Paddington to Wolverhampton Low Level and northwards to Shrewsbury, Chester and Birkenhead via the old Great Western Railway route ceased in 1967 when the then newly electrified service from High Level to Euston replaced the London-bound trains. The Low Level itself closed to passenger traffic (by that time an infrequent shuttle service to and from Birmingham Snow Hill) in 1972 but lasted in use as a parcels depot until 1981.


The book covers the latter days of steam in Wolverhampton and the electrified railway through the city in more recent times, including “The Old Line”, the original railway through what was then the town, opened in 1837. This skirted the town on its way between Stafford and Birmingham, passing between Bushbury to the North and Portobello to the South. Wolverhampton’s first railway station, at Wednesfield Heath, lay on this line and existed until the late 1960’s.


Much of Wolverhampton’s railway landscape has changed during the last 50 or so years but the new book and its photographs will rekindle memories of both long-lost and more recent scenes.


The book is available from the SVR shop at Bridgnorth station, Waterstones in Wolverhampton, Tettenhall Post Office, Ian Allan Bookshop in Birmingham, Ashwood Nurseries and Hollybush Garden Centre as well other outlets, at £17.99.


Alternatively it can be ordered by post from Severn Valley Railway Wolverhampton Branch, 49 Tyninghame Avenue, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton WV6 9PP for £21.00 including P &P.

Each month we hold a draw for a £20 voucher to spend on the Railway, check if you are the lucky winner here

Bridgnorth MPD update September 2018

‘What’s been going on in the works?’ someone has asked,…….so to that inquisitive soul, here is the answer.


In the boiler shop 75069’s boiler is back inside for the boiler lagging and cladding sheets and various fittings to be fitted and then it can finally go into the frames. Visitors to Bridgnorth may have been able to glimpse it through the main doors recently, but if you haven’t the picture shows it’s condition on Thursday 27th September.


Meanwhile, out in the main shed, a casual glimpse might make one assume that a massive leap forward has been achieved on Hagley Hall. The frames are now painted black. We took the decision to have them, and various other components, shot-blasted and given an initial coat of primer sprayed on by the shot-blaster. Since then various gangs of volunteers have followed this up with a second coat of primer, plus two coats of black undercoat and the glossing will begin shortly. This doesn’t mean that the work on the frames are finished. We know there are some loose rivets and fitted bolts that will need to be replaced. But the whole structure is now well protected from going rusty, whilst the work continues. Shot blasting costs money and causes quite a lot of disruption (it needs an exclusion zone and it causes a lot of mess). But having the frames down to bare metal and very clean, speeds up their examination and should result in a very good paint finish. However,…….. whilst it might look like a massive leap forward in the overhaul, all we have done is to tick off half a dozen jobs in an overall program of work that contains hundreds of tasks.


On the running fleet, various snags and minor failures have been attended too. For example, a spring problem on 7714 and an injector problem on 34027 resulted in each loco missing a scheduled round trip. But, they were fixed quickly and the locos did the remainder of their booked duties. 813 has had it’s annual insurance examinations.


The gala visitors arrived, were inspected by ESMP staff and passed fit, they performed and have left again, the Q6 coming in and leaving by road. That’s four heavy haulage manoeuvres and associated shunting that had to be dealt with at Bridgnorth. 70000 ‘Britannia’ also undertook testing and running in which also necessitates ESMP staff involvement as part of our SMS (Safety Management System – our documented processes).


Coming up soon; 7802 will shortly be stopped for a valve and piston exam, which should hopefully take just a few weeks. 1450 will have similar work when it’s booked work for the season ends in a few weeks, but it’s work may take a little longer as we don’t need the loco back in traffic this season. Both 43106 and 1501 will require the same exams in the closed season after Christmas, along with some remedial work to the motion etc.


Martin White, Bridgnorth Shed Master

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Nicks notes

General Manager Nick Ralls gives us an update..

The Holdings Board this month have been considering a number of items for 2019.  The Special Events timetable for 2019submitted by Lewis Maddox following consultation with the relevant management advisory group.  Lewis has a number of small scale events in 2019 that utilise the existing train service so that there is not pressure to increase the number of trains on any one day. 


A number of the events are centred on The Engine House, utilising undercover space, that is already open and staffed.  It will not add additional pressure on stations such as Kidderminster and Bewdley who have to dress their stations already for Halloween and Christmas.  We do recognise that the station team at Highley though do a fantastic job in dealing with increasing levels of footfall created by Engine House visitors.

The Working Timetable 2019, following extensive consultation has been to the Holdings Board.  There are some tweaks to be made by Matt Robinson, Operations Manager with the assistance of Chris Thomas.   Once these are complete then the WTT’s will be produced and circulated in the usual way. 

Chris Bond, Infrastructure Manager and Keith Brown Permanent Way Supervisor Bewdley submitted a full line report update.  This comprehensive line and formation report includes information on rail quality, ballast and formation, colour coded red amber and green.  The report is provided with a projection of rail and ballast expenditure for the next five years so that the Directors can be assured that the track work is focused on areas that are in most need and do reflect the commitment the Board has to monitor and invest in our infrastructure.

You may have also seen that there have been some recent Noticeboard issues concerning progress and completion of the new Refreshment Room and Toilets at Bridgnorth over the last few weeks.  These will continue once we have further information on the completion of the building.  I am sure we are all pleased to see that Phase II The Car Park and Access Roads are progressing well at Bridgnorth, work that will be complete before we open again for the 2019 season - Please see below.

Bridgnorth Project Update

Phase I Refreshment Room and Toilets

The construction of the new Refreshment Room and toilet facility is now coming to a close and will provide a classic example of Great Western style architecture at the turn of the twentieth century.  The design and quality reflect the hundreds of hours that David Postle and Bob Marrows have put in to this phase of the project for which the Board wish to record it’s thanks.   The final project costs for Phase I are subject to negotiations with the main Contractor, Iris.  Jonathan Symonds acting in his capacity as Contract Administrator has the responsibility under the contract for reaching an amicable and fair settlement between the Company and the Contractor and this process is currently underway with the Sub Committee of the Board providing advice and support to Jonathan. There are patently lessons to be learnt from this Phase of the Development Project, with lessons learnt that can be applied to future phases.  To this end Neil Dancer, Civils Advisor to the Board, has kindly agreed to produce a comprehensive report of findings and recommendations.  Neil will be looking into the reasons for both the delays to project completion and also the potential increased costs of this current phase and how these circumstances can be mitigated/avoided in future phases.

Phase IIa Car Park and Access Roads, Phase II b Turntable

Construction of Phase IIa is, as reported, underway, with Chris Bond as Client Project Manager and Alan Davies as the Holdings Board representative.  Chris Bond and Alan Davies are also responsible for Phase IIb, the construction of the Turntable pit.  The pit location has been revised and is currently subject to a new planning application, costs are also being assessed for remodeling the loco yard at Bridgnorth to accommodate direct access to the turntable and provide space for Platform 2 extension.  The renovation of the turntable will be undertaken in conjunction with the owners, the Turntable Fund.  A contract for the turntable pit has not been awarded because of the current planning issue and unknown costs.

Phase III the Conservation and renovation of the Station Building, extension to Railwayman’s Arms

This phase is being considered by the Board, and a new SVR team is being assembled to undertake this project.  Alan Davies, Holdings Board Director is considering the roles and requirements of a team so please expect a future announcement of who will be on this team and their role.  Whilst the Station conservation project is vitally important the Board has agreed that it will not commence until they have a complete understanding of the plan, specification of the conservation works to the building, confidence in the cost certainty for the project, logistics for the works required to the Railwayman’s Arms and its possible temporary relocation.   The assessment of the currently incomplete plans and specification for Phase III will inevitably take a period of time to reconcile. During this period the Company will be seeking help from the Charitable Trust as there may be opportunities to apply to relevant Charitable bodies for funding towards this phase of the project.  To temper expectations, Phase III will not begin before Winter 2019/20 which will give the Project team the time to develop the plans, the Charitable Trust the opportunity to apply for funding and Bridgnorth Station a period of time during which it can be returned to a tranquil country town station.  Working Members, particularly at Bridgnorth have had to endure continual disruption since the beginning of this contract, Directors would like to thank them for their patience and understanding.    Please expect more information on Phase III in the coming months.  
Nick Ralls General Manager


Working Member Benefits

We have some great offers available to Working Members, including Travel, Gym Membership, Specsavers Eye Tests, Pomodoro Restaurant, Style Hair Salon and Doddingtree Estate & Letting Agency. 


Full details can be found on our Express Points Benefits Page. 

Reciprocal rail travel for our Working Members

Have you checked out the list of heritage railways that offer free or discounted travel to SVR working members?

Please visit our Reciprocal travel page for full details.


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Vacancies at the Railway

There are usually a number of vacancies for paid staff at the SVR and you can find full details at Please let friends and family know about these opportunities.

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Dedicated Newsletter for SVR Supporters - Branch Lines

A monthly newsletter dedicated to SVR Supporters has been created, this will allow Express Points to be directed solely to our Working Members, content will be appropriate and different to that of Branch Lines. 

CLICK HERE  for the latest edition of Branch Lines.


If you're a Supporter of the SVR, but not a Working Member then please CLICK HERE to sign up!

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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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