SVR (Holdings) PLC

SVR (Holdings) PLC (Company number 01046274) is a Company with Shareholders, although no dividend is paid, with all profit used to support the running of the Railway. It owns the infrastructure and assets of the SVR, employs the paid staff, and is responsible for the operation, finance, governance, planning, customer service and management of the SVR.

Nick Paul C.B.E.


Trustee, Charitable Trust


Nick joined the Company’s Board in 2002 and was appointed Chairman in July 2011. In the past he has been Deputy Chief Executive of IMI plc, a FTSE 100 international engineering group, Chairman of Advantage West Midlands, Chairman of Tricorn Group Plc, Chairman of the West Midlands CBI and the Chair of the Governors at the Downs School, Colwall Malvern. He has also been Non-Executive Director with John Laing Homes plc, SIG plc and Worcester Warriors Rugby Club

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Diane Malyon

Chairman, Guarantee Board.

Director, Holdings Board.

Trustee, Charitable Trust


Diane joined the Trust board in 2021.

Diane became a director of Guarantee Board in 1993, taking over as chairman in 2020 and becoming a director of the Holdings Board at the same time. She joined the Trust board in 2021.

Diane became a working member at 16 on the Severn Valley Limited and on Bridgnorth based buffet cars in 1978. She moved to the Plant & Machinery Department, assisting with trolley and diesel shunter maintenance, passing out as a shunter driver in 1980, before joining the station staff, concentrating on booking office and station gardens. She also helped found the Severn Valley Venturer dining service and continues as part of its management team and is a regular cook. She was co-ordinator for the vital Santa operation from 1995 to 2019, retiring from the role in January 2020. Diane is chair of the Staffing Committee, which focusses on volunteers, in partnership with the Volunteer Liaison Office and she sits on the Accommodation Forum - a group committed to trying to improve facilities for volunteers on the SVR..

In her "real life", Diane worked as a Primary School teacher for over 30 years and, for the five years before taking early retirement, became an Acting Headteacher raising the attainment of failing schools. She makes use of her professional skills and knowledge in supporting the development of educational and people centred activities.


Graeme Bunker-James



Graeme has been a Director since September 2018, as Commercial Director. Graeme grew up in Hertfordshire, his enthusiasm for railways fostered by his father who grew up with the Nine Elms’ turntable at the end of his road. His railway career includes periods with Railtrack, Virgin Trains, the Strategic Rail Authority and Arriva Trains Wales. He has been Chief Executive of rail tour promoter Steam Dreams, a Trustee of the A1Steam Locomotive Trust, Vice Chairman of The Gresley Society Trust and has developed his own consultancy business. He has volunteered at the NYMR and the National Railway Museum’s main line support crew.  In 2002 Graeme passed out as a main line fireman with West Coast Railways. 

Chris Walton

Director and Company Secretary


Chris has been actively involved with the Railway since 1969. Chris is a Chartered Management Accountant and, after holding various roles at senior management level across several leading automotive companies, is currently the Project Manager for Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc.

Chris Thomas



Chris has been a volunteer with the Railway since 1970. With the formation of the Project Team in 2009, he was appointed estate manager, charged with overseeing site tidying and restoration of visitor areas. The Railway is a family hobby for Chris, with his wife and sons also being involved. He is Bridgnorth Stationmaster. By profession Chris is a Chartered Electrical Engineer, running a successful consultancy.

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Phil Swallow



A familiar face to many volunteers and paid staff, Phil has been volunteering and supporting the Railway since 1975 and is one of the co-owners of 34027 Taw Valley, in addition to several diesel locomotives. Away from the SVR, Phil’s professional career has taken him across the globe, specialising in the design and delivery of large IT systems as well as the management of outsourcing operations.

Mike Ball

Vice Chairman

Mike was elected to the position of Deputy Chairman of the Company in 2011 and continues in that role, having been re-elected following the AGM of June 2016. Mike joined the Railway in 1986. He was Chairman of the Operating Committee for seven years and was heavily involved in the fundraising following the storm damage of 2007. Mike worked for Honeywell of the USA and for Bull of France in a career spanning 35 years. Prior to taking early retirement Mike’s role was Bull’s Director of Customer Services for the UK and Ireland, a multi-million pound business with a staff of some 800 people.

Jon Dunster



Jonathan is married with two sons, and has been involved in railway preservation since 1988, joining the Railway in 1991 and having been an active volunteer ever since. Jonathan is a career railwayman, having joined British Railways straight after leaving college in 1987. A Member of the Institution of Railway Operators, in his career to date Jonathan has held a number of operational management positions and is currently employed by Avanti West Coast Trains as Head of Operations based in Birmingham.

Helen Smith

General Manager


Helen is General Manager of both SVR(H) and the Guarantee Company and became a director in 2020. Helen was born in Yorkshire and was previously Deputy Director at the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset. Her earlier roles were as General Manager at The Fusilier Museum in Bury and Operations Director at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham. She graduated from the University College of Ripon and York St John as a Bachelor in Communication Arts, and obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management from the University of Huddersfield. 

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 Alan Davies

 Director (Holdings & Guarantee   Boards)


Alan has been involved with the SVR for many years, first volunteering at Bridgnorth with the civil engineering gang, whilst starting a full-time career in the building industry. This combined his Railway interest with hands-on experience of construction and maintenance. Alan still spends most Sundays hands-on at Arley, with others, helping to run and maintain the station.

He is one of the three Guarantee Company representatives on the Holdings Board.

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Peter Pearson



Peter grew up near Stourbridge. He joined the Railway in 1967 later becoming a guard. Absent for some years through family commitments, in 1998 he re-joined the Bridgnorth team, then re-qualified as a guard. Joining the Board in 2013, he has chaired the Audit Committee since then. A barrister, Peter is now retired following a prosecuting career, starting in the Director of Public Prosecutions Department, London, and finishing with over seven years as Legal and Technical Advisor to the Director, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Malawi. He was a governor of an NHS Foundation Trust, and a local councillor.

Tony Bending

Director (Holdings & Guarantee Boards)


Tony joined the Railway in 1966 and immediately became an active volunteer, a role which he has continued ever since. With the arrival of the first locomotive he joined the Locomotive Department where he became a driver. He is also one of a small team looking after the IT aspects of the Railway.


Andy Barr O.B.E.



Married with two grown up children, Andrew has been a director since 2014. He assisted the former General Manager with the high level Safety Documentation for Incident and Emergency Management and also reviewing the safety case documentation. He worked for for London Underground for 50 years where he led the 150th Anniversary celebrations, running steam trains in service through central London tube stations. He also headed Heritage Operations for the London Underground and London Buses.