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Month 2021

1501 passes Crossing Cottage. Rob Green
1501 passes Crossing Cottage. Rob Green

Welcome to your latest edition of Express Points!

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Lesley and Patrick, co-editors

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

Next edition Thursday 14th October

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The first train out of Bridgnorth in 197

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The first train out of Bridgnorth in 197

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Protecting the SVR’s signals

The midweek S&T (Signal and Telegraph) maintenance team recently took on the task of fitting new anti-climbing boards to the fixed access ladders of some of the signals at Arley. Volunteer Brian Graystone tells Express Points the details:


The anti-climb boards are being rolled out across the length of the line to help protect signals from vandalism and to prevent unauthorised access to the top of signals, which is an obvious health and safety issue.  This followed an incident at the Arley down distant signal, located by the Victoria Bridge, where the finial was removed and presumably thrown into the River Severn, or stolen by trespassers.


The new anti-climb boards are made of black powder-coated steel, and they simply hook over a ladder rung high up so that they hang down. They cover a number of rungs, which prevents access to those rungs.  The board is then secured to the ladder by a padlock at the bottom.  With the right key, the boards are simply removed for maintenance access as necessary.

The signals being fitted with the new anti-climb boards are generally in remote locations which are out of sight of stations, or are located close to crossings which are accessed by the public.  Not many people get to see these remote signal structures close up and it’s a privilege to be able to do so.


As always, nothing is standard on the S&T, and the spacing between the ladder rungs is not the same from ladder to ladder. It’s therefore been necessary to drill additional holes in the anti-climb boards so the padlock can be fitted round a ladder rung.  This was done on-site, hence each anti-climb board is individually fitted to its signal.


The Arley signals with the anti-climb boards are the up distant, the down homes and the down distant signals.

Click on the gallery for full screen images, descriptions and credits.

 
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‘Smart’ work at Kidderminster Railway Museum

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A restored wagon has had its new signage painted at Kidderminster Railway Museum this week - by none other than former Gloucestershire and England wicket keeper Jack Russell MBE!


Jack is an established professional artist and while obviously a specialist in cricket scenes, his work covers a wide range of subjects including transport and heritage railways. This is, however, his first foray into sign writing.


The wagon is painted with ‘James H. Smart & Sons’; James Harry Smart was a prominent coal merchant and carrier in the late 1800s based on the Cotswolds canals at Chalford in Gloucestershire. As was usual at the time, Smart had a fleet of private owner wagons.


It’s a four-wheeled seven-plank wagon and was one of several donated to the SVR from 1969 by the British Sugar Corporation, then at Foley Park. Its original identity, builder and age are a mystery and more information can be found on the SVR Wiki. The wagon is now owned by the Kidderminster Railway Museum collection.


Photo: Jack Russell signwriting at the KRM in August 2021. Mike Anderson

 

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Infrastructure news

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There’s been a lot happening over the past few weeks, as infrastructure manager Chris Bond tells Express Points:


Planning permission and listed building consent has been granted for the proposed renovations on the original 1862 station building at Bridgnorth (see August’s Express Points.) Planning continues for a detailed schedule of works that will allow tendering for the renovations. Meanwhile, the SVR's stonemason Philip Chatfield is to carry out repairs to the stone mullions (the vertical columns separating the window casements), using original stone recovered from the long-demolished goods shed office.

A couple of new projects involve Network Rail (NR) at Kidderminster.


During the small hours of 15th August a NR possession allowed SVR’s contractors Walsh Construction to repair the rainwater down pipes and remove a quantity of vegetation on the main line side of Kidderminster carriage works (the Pickford’s building.) Story Contracting supplied the mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) and engineering staff to supervise the operation. Many thanks to SVR volunteer and Story Contracting professional Chris Baines who helped enormously with the volumes of paperwork required.


The long-mooted plans by NR to replace the footbridge at Kidderminster that dissects our site, have now been given financial approval. This project has been in discussion for several years but is now programmed to start with site mobilisation in December. Work will then continue throughout the closed period with completion due in March 2022. The proposed design will be a single-span constructed in ‘weathering steel’ with new abutments at each end, as shown in the drawing. All traces of the existing bridge will disappear including the central brick pier, the removal of which will aid the sighting of the main line colour light signal.


Clearly the work will impact on the operation of the site and we have discussed the implications internally to identify any problems. The list of issues generated will be fed into future discussions with NR and their principal contractor as the start date draws nearer. Close cooperation will be required to ensure the SVR is not unduly inconvenienced by the works. Updates will be issued in future editions of Express Points once the work begins.


Elsewhere on the SVR, minor works continue. Scaffolding has been erected around three sides of Hampton Loade signal box to allow external painting to take place. Also, permanent way staff are working their way through an important programme of fettling work to all the turnouts along the Railway, based on a recent survey.


As reported elsewhere in this issue, vacant permanent way and signalling posts are advertised and we await applications to fill these key positions.

Click on the thumbnail for a full screen image of the plan. Credit: Network Rail

 

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Photo: The Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway is a member of the reciprocal travel scheme. Ex-War Department No 71516 Welsh Guardsman has been on hire during 2020 and 2021. Credit: Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway

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V1 9th September 2021

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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.