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September 2017

1450 on a Footplate Experience, seen in Bewdley south cutting on the 12/8/2017 - By Ian Murray

Welcome to your latest edition of

Express Points!

As the Railway hits the £1.5 million milestone for the Share Offer, there are now only two months left to buy, and the race is on to secure the final million. Also in your September edition of Express Points, there’s news that Sir Keith Park will soon be departing, and plenty of stories of interest from all around the SVR.

We included a photograph last month of the Plimsoll Land Rover as we looked forward to the Steam on the Road event. It struck a chord with George Moon, who recollects his time on an Army Cadet operating course in 1963, when I Railway Group Royal Engineers were experimenting with a similar vehicle:

“They experienced problems with overheating in reverse gear and the wheel studs not standing up to the vibrations of running on rails. There’s a photo of that particular vehicle on page 740 of the recently publishing history of the LMR (volume 3) taken by my colleague Keith Farmer.”

Thanks for sharing your memories George, and we hope you got to see the Plimsoll at last month’s event. It’s probably one of the SVR’s more unusual visitors!


Please let us know what’s going on where you are, so we can include it in next month’s Express Points, and remember to include a photograph! You can email us or drop us a message on Facebook!

Any Working Member can sign up to read this newsletter each month (please include details of your SVR department) by emailing

Don't forget Each month we have a draw for a £20 voucher to spend on the Railway, check if you are the lucky winner here.

For SVR Supporters, Shareholders, Members or those with a general interest in Railway operations please sign up for our new Supporters newsletter 'Branch Lines' by CLICKING HERE

Simon Turner & Lesley Carr, Co-Editors

Picture by Ian Murray

Bridgnorth share offer passes £1.5 million with just over two months to run

The Bridgnorth Share offer has passed another key milestone, as share sales topped the 1.5 million mark. There are now just nine weeks left to purchase shares until the closing date of 31 October.

By the close of business on 25th August, sales had reached £1,502,245 as the share offer campaign team put into place the final elements of its campaign, in a bid to find the final million.

Tony Bending, one of the share offer campaign team said: “Just over 20 per cent of those who have expressed an interest, or have requested an application pack via the internet, have already bought shares. We expect this figure to rise, and we’re hopeful for a late surge in sales as the deadline nears, mirroring the pattern of our previous share offer in 2012.”

For the first time in the campaign the number of purchases from new shareholders has exceeded purchases from existing shareholders, topping up their holdings. The team expects a sales boost at the ever-popular Autumn Steam Gala from September 21st – 24th and they’ll be on hand during the Gala to process applications and sell shares. Tony added: “‘Although August has, as expected, been a quiet month for new applications, the level of purchase from those already in the pipeline has been encouraging.

“Our focus now is on making sure everyone with a potential interest outside the Railway knows about the share offer as we’ve just two months to run. To that end we’ve placed a series of advertisements in a range of heritage steam titles in plenty of time for potential new applications to be processed.”

To find out more or request an application pack, please go to

Sir Keith Park to leave the SVR

The General Manager, Nick Ralls, has announced that Locomotive 34053 Sir Keith Park will be moving to the Swanage Railway for the rest of its boiler certificate. This is a mutual agreement with Southern Locomotives representatives and leaves every opportunity for further locos from the SLL fleet to visit in future years. Nick explains the background to this:

“The agreement for operating 34053 with Southern Locomotives has a break clause every two years, with the next renewal date at the end of 2017. We have agreed that the option to renew will not be actioned at the end of this year.

“Sir Keith Park has been resident on the Railway since 2012, and has provided sterling service, clocking many miles on SVR metals. Highlights include the Steam and Morgan car challenge in October 2012 and the inauguration ceremony of the loco in August 2013, that involved a most memorable fly past by a Spitfire and Hurricane at Bridgnorth.

“I would like to thank Simon Troy and his colleagues at Southern Locomotives for all of their work and assistance, and for allowing ‘Skip’ to run at the SVR for the last five years. I am sure she (or is it he?) will continue to be a popular locomotive and a consistent performer at the Swanage Railway for the remainder of the boiler certificate.”

The story behind the stonework at Bewdley

Stonemason Philip Chatfield has been working wonders over the past few months at Bewdley station, repairing various areas that had become rundown and rather the worse for wear, as he told Express Points:

“I’ve been working on the restoration of the former Station Master's office, now the Signals and Telecoms room, the booking office windowsills and corbels, and the stone plinth course. The stonework was in a bit of a sorry state, and it’s great to see it looking as good as new once more. It was particularly delightful to have occasional help from Assistant Stationmaster Dai Phillips during the course of my time here.”

Our photograph shows a lintel being lifted into place, under Philip’s supervision.

Although many people will have seen Philip during the course of his work at the SVR, only a few will appreciate that his talents extend even further than the exemplary work he has carried out for the Railway. Based on the Gower peninsula in south Wales, Philip is also a sculptor, specialising in church statuary and memorials. The quality of his work in this field is evident in the photograph of the Virgin Mary which he carved for Tintern Abbey.

Philip also carved a memorial to three sailors who perished when the sailing vessel Maria Asumpta was wrecked off the Cornish coast in 1995. He had a special connection with this tragedy, as he was himself one of the 11 crew members who were lucky enough to survive:

“I still have scars from the shipwreck and some occasional back pain. I remember that when the ship went on its side, I slid down the almost vertical deck and crashed into the starboard bulwark. I leapt off the ship into the frothing sea and held on to the granite rocks some ten or so feet below the water level. Somehow I made it back up to the surface and after several buffetings by the sea, I made the climb to the top of the cliffs.”


Philip has now completed phase one of the work at Bewdley, and Infrastructure Manager Chris Bond paid tribute to Philip’s craftsmanship:

“We’re extremely pleased that Philip has been able to carry out this renewal work, and everything he does is completed to the very highest standards. I’m hoping he will return next year to attend to phase two of the stonework renewal at Bewdley. This will see the creation of a new angled bay window for the station house, as well as further work to the plinth course and upper windowsill.”

Philip has been a regular fixture at Bewdley this year, overnighting in the sleeping accommodation at Arley. He’s clearly got the SVR bug, and has done a stint of volunteering at Arley, tackling the rather tricky renewal of damaged brickwork to the toilet exterior and the waiting shelter.

Photo credit at Bewdley station: Jack Boskett photography

Also a photo of the Virgin Mary at Tintern Abbey

1940s victory!

Another highly successful 1940s event has come and gone, and this year, 6,937 passengers travelled on the Railway during the four days, with more than 1,500 attending the Big Band Shows..

At the event debrief, Malcolm Broadhurst stepped down as Chairman of the 1940s Committee.


The SVR’s Events Coordinator Lewis Maddox has paid tribute to Malcolm’s dedication and hard work:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Malcolm on behalf of the Special Events Committee and the Railway for helping make these events a success. He will now be enjoying his well-earned ‘retirement’ back at Arley Station, and is looking forward to some peace and quiet, so please don’t contact him with any 1940s-related queries! Thank you also to everyone who helped to ensure thousands of visitors could enjoy stepping back to the 1940s with us. The 1940s Event Committee will continue to organise the event, and we’re already excited about next year’s plans.”

Please contact the 1940s Committee on




The golden age of the railways at Bewdley Festival


Don’t miss this opportunity to see Britain on Film: Railways at 10.30am on Tuesday 10th October in St George’s Hall, Bewdley.


Supported by the SVR, and part of Bewdley Arts Festival, this is your chance to travel back to the golden age of the railways, when trains ran on time and came complete with fluffed pillows, silverware and three-course meals. Railways charts the history of the UK’s railways in a major new collection of rare archive films, from 1898 to the final steam train of 1968. Return to the romance and glamour of early train travel and be swept away by the freedom of travelling through the past and breadth of the UK.

Sourced from the BFI National Archive and newly digitised with a newly commissioned soundtrack, Railways revels in nostalgia for the lost glories of train travel, while documenting the rapidly changing social, economic and political climate of the UK from the tracks.

Tickets for this event cost £8 each and can be booked at

Because of SVR’s support for this screening, the organisers have made 10 free tickets available to volunteers. If you would like one, please email by 10th September. Ten names will be drawn and Stan will contact the lucky winners.

Please Note: This film contains a sequence of flashing lights which might affect customers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.

Time to unleash your inner spook?

With autumn almost upon us, the annual SVR recruitment drive for volunteer spooks, witches, ghoulies and ghosties is underway.

Our Ghost Trains at Halloween are growing in popularity, with all seats selling out over the last few years. Ghost Trains bring in essential additional revenue for the Railway during the last quarter of the year.


Events Coordinator Lewis Maddox explains what’s involved:

“Key to the operation is the conversion of Arley into a scary destination for our passengers, populated with witches, skeletons and ghouls. Alongside the static exhibits, we need a number of volunteers each evening to get dressed up and provide the spooky entertainment as the Station comes alive. We can even provide a script and stage directions, and anyone who’s done it before, will tell you the evenings are great fun.”

The Ghost Trains for 2017 take place on the evenings of 26th, 27th and 28th October. Please circulate the call for volunteers widely to friends and family, who should contact either or to sign up.

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

Training for new wheelchair ramps

Following last month’s announcement that a new set of wheelchair ramps have been purchased as part of the SVR Charitable Trust’s project to upgrade the Railway’s wheelchair facilities, George Evans contacted Express Points:

“The new ramps are a great move for our Railway. Since the inception of the Santa services, I have worked the down platform at Arley every Christmas Sunday. On this platform we assist and steady down the enthusiasm to disembark see Santa. We are always notified, before the train arrives, about the likelihood of having disabled passengers on board. Is there a course available to familiarise us with this new equipment or any plans to organise one?”

We put George’s question to the SVR’s safety advisor, Mel Cook, who told us:

“I’m pleased the new wheelchairs ramps have received a positive response from a number of members. They are light and easy to use, and I am asking all managers and stationmasters to ensure staff are suitably confident in the use of the new ramps. If you have any queries, please contact me. I am always prepared to hear about safety concerns and observations on any SVR subject. I am around the Railway often, or you can contact me on .”

Opportunities to join a new carriage restoration project


The SVR Charitable Trust's LNER Carriage Group is readying itself for its next restoration project and is looking for three new volunteers to strengthen the team.


From the much modified GWR coach 5043, currently used as a workshop, they’ll be creating a passenger coach with a proper buffet facility and a wheelchair-accessible passenger area, for use in SVR’s general service set GW2. Volunteer Richard Gunning gives more details about the sort of team members they need:


“Enthusiasm is important, and ideally candidates would be able to offer a couple of regular working days each week. We normally meet on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Bewdley, although tasks also arise at Kidderminster.


“There are no age restrictions, in fact some younger blood would usefully help preserve the group’s experience for the future. For insurance purposes, our volunteers must be SVR members.


“We need volunteers who can work carefully and constructively as a team member and under the direction and guidance of the Group’s Project Manager. Some engineering understanding and basic skills in carpentry would be useful, as would metal working skills. We can provide training. A good sense of humour is essential, along with a readiness to share tasks such as tea making, and helping with occasional administration work.”


The LNER Carriage Group is experienced in modifying passenger vehicles to meet special needs, such as the LNER set’s wheelchair carriage and, more recently, the adapation of the former Gresley Brake Pigeon Van 70759 to become the main brake vehicle in the SVR’s Teak Set, with the addition of four passenger compartments. The Group’s work is not exclusively on LNER projects; they have restored a GWR full brake (1145, one of the shop coaches at Bewdley) and are currently restoring GWR ‘TOAD’ 17410 to operational condition.


If you’re interested in joining the team, please make your initial approach through the Volunteer Liaison Office at Bewdley Station, on 01299 401776 (before 9pm) or .

Merci beaucoup, et bon voyage!


Eagle-eyed reader Richard Rathbone spotted on one of last month’s picture captions that a young French engineer was helping to paint the roof of coach 24105 in Kidderminster Carriage & Wagon. His interest piqued, he got straight in touch:


“I've seen the odd mention of foreign work experience people, and have always been curious how and when this started. Is it successful? Has it been going on, unsung, for years? Do they enjoy it or depart vowing never to return again?”


We got straight onto C&W Paint Shop Supervisor Hugh McQuade to find the answers. He tells us:


“We have been having French interns in the carriage works for about six or seven years. It all started with an e-mail from their organisation I-Cam which arranges placements for engineering students at Nantes. They come for about 11 weeks to improve their English, but also they usually learn a lot of old fashioned skills, as most of their engineering is computer-based.”


Incidentally, the very helpful French intern in question, 21-year-old Paul Brunet, finished his placement at the SVR last week, and according to Hugh was visibly sad to leave. However, he didn’t depart empty-handed. As well as a Kidderminster BR style totem fridge magnet, he also received a packet of chocolate Hob Nobs and a bottle of Irish whiskey, courtesy of his friends and mentors at the Railway.

Our photo shows Paul (second from the left) with some of his C&W colleagues

New faces join the Comberton Place team

A number of new colleagues have joined the front office team at Comberton Place. Victoria Evans has recently taken over the role of Membership Secretary following Kate Kirk’s retirement. Victoria has had a long association with the Railway, and has worked for Elise Ballard on board the Observation Saloons. Her three children also enjoy their visits here.


Victoria will normally work the same hours as Kate, 9 – 2 pm Monday – Wednesday and is available on 01562 757930 (internally 552). In her absence, Victoria’s Visitor Services Team colleagues will respond to any queries regarding membership.


And there are a few more new faces and voices in the team, following Martin Bannister’s secondment to the Operations Team and the retirement of both Wendy Broadhurst and Ros Vale. Jane Robinson, Dawn Adams and Emily Sparrow have joined in part-time, temporary roles alongside the regular team.

Reciprocal 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 for full details.

On the Buses, rolling in to Bewdley on

Sunday 10 September 2017

London Transport heads to Bewdley for our Bus Gala in 2017!

Please note a revised timetable may be in operation. Please check main SVR website.

Our exciting bus Gala this year will feature a number of London Transport vehicles on display at Bewdley Station. Rides on these historic vehicles will be available, and we have a surprise star attraction!

Come and see our line-up of vintage buses all beautifully preserved. We have a selection of stalls selling bus memorabilia that may take your interest or maybe have a bite to eat, and watch the buses go by, at our hot pork roll stand. 
Attractions include:

  • A superb display of historic London Transport buses, together with others from different regions and eras.

  • Sales and information stands selling a range of bus related items and memorabilia.

  • FREE bus rides around Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn.

Visiting Buses on display:

  • AEC Routemaster RM5, built 1959

  • AEC Routemaster RM1005, built 1962

  • LNWR 'Charabanc' CC1087, built 1914

  • Hansons Local Bus (Ex Metrobus Croydon) Mini Pointer 2 Dennis Dart, built 1999

  • New Routemaster (Boris Bus), built 2011-2017

Parking is not available at Bewdley Station during this event. Free parking is available at Bewdley High School, which is an easy short walk away. 

Admission is FREE with 'Freedom of the Line' travel tickets or £2 for those without tickets - proceeds go to the upkeep of Bewdley Station. 

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.



New e-Newsletter for SVR Supporters!

A new monthly newsletter dedicated to SVR Supporters has been created, this will allow Express Points to be dedicated solely to our Working Members, content will be appropriate and different to that 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 either Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) PLC. which owns the Severn Valley Railway, or Severn Valley Railway Company Limited, the members of which are responsible for its operation.

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