Saturday 17th April at Bewdley saw the Severn Valley Railway Shareholders and Supporters weekend where signal boxes and loco sheds & works were open to the public. We caught the 10.09 to Brignorth and to our surprise it was being pulled by a class 20 diesel No 8059 on the teak rake of coaches. We had a very smooth ride and was soon in Bridgnorth where we alighted and saw The Battle of Britain class ‘Sir Keith Park’ waiting to depart with the 11.10 am departure to Kidderminster. She showed a very controlled departure with no slipping and in no time at all was into her stride.
The shed yard was very empty with only a pannier and an industrial on show. There were a few more locomotives in the works with the main presence being taken up by Taw Valley which is nearing completion. Alongside her was GWR saddle tank No 813 which is going through a major overhaul. Also in the works was a Standard class 4 tender engine No 75069, a GWR class 57 Pannier tank No 7714 and GWR Manor ‘Bradley Manor’ whose tender was in the paint shop, all going through major overhauls.
It was good to be allowed in the machine shop where all of the heavy engineering is done.
Outside the works in the station head shunt under cover was a Western class diesel and the New build Standard Class 3MT 2-6-2 tank No 82045 where the frames and rear bunker were on show. Close by was a replica rebuild of the ‘Catch Me Who Can’ a very early 0-4-0 design originally built by Richard Trevithick.
We then caught the 12.40 pm back down the line to Highley, the train being pulled by the Class 20 diesel. On arriving we went for lunch in the Engine House.
In the museum were a selection of locomotives and rolling stock. On show was the Longmoor Military Railway 2-10-0 ‘Gordon’ resplendent in it’s blue and red livery, together with a GWR 43xx Mogul No 7325, an 8F No 48773, a Standard tank No 80079, a Black 5 No 45110, a class 2MT 2-6-0 No 46223, a Jinty 0-6-0 No 47383 and finally there was ‘Lady Armaghdale’ which was positioned alongside a restored Highley Mining wagon.
Whilst in the museum the Autotrain arrived from Kidderminster, after unloading the passengers it was moved into the loop line to allow through trains to pass.
We then caught the 1.25pm departure to Kidderminster being pulled by No 43106, affectionately known as “The Flying Pig”, an Ivatt class 4 Mogul together with the LMS rake,
On arrival at Kidderminster there was a GWR Prairie class 45 No 4566 which we were allowed to go up on to the footplate. This was very small and highlighted the conditions which the engine men used to have to work in. After alighting we visited the the Kidderminster Railway Museum which has a large and varied display of railwayana from different railway companies and local items.
Our journey back to Bewdley was on the GWR Autotrain worked by 14xx class No 1450 and it’s trailer No178. We had a very comfortable ride with the train being driven from the trailer which afforded us views of the line ahead. On arrival at Bewdley we went round the Carriage and Wagon Works where we were shown inside one of the new restoration projects nearing completion, a GWR Excursion Open Brake No 650 which has received a complete 5 year interior overhaul, the vehicle is due in the paint shop in the next few weeks. The restoration team has made a superb job as much of the interior has had to be completely rebuilt
Also in the yard was a complete rebuild of GWR Large Prairie No.4150 where new side tanks have been fabricated in preparation of the boiler being replaced. There is still a long way to go on this project which when finished will be one of only two of this class remaining out of a class of over 300.
Also stationed in the yard was No.7812 Earlstoke Manor, which made a magnificent sight, together with a fine selection of restored wagons.
All in all the Severn Valley is a magnificent Railway well run and well supported by the SVR Association.
All photographs taken on the day by Mike Whatton