Severn Valley Railway Timeline 2020-2029
Significant events in the history of the Severn Valley Railway in preservation between 2020 and the present date are set out below.
Information on current events on the SVRSevern Valley Railway can be found here.
2020 saw the 50th anniversary of the official opening of the SVRSevern Valley Railway. A ‘must-do’ engineering project was starting, an overhaul of Falling Sands Viaduct, with trains restricted to the Bridgnorth to Bewdley section from 30 December 2019.
- Winter works included track relaying to effectively join up the two previous relayings between Bewdley Tunnel and Falling Sands Viaduct. The opportunity was taken to install a new point at Foley Park as part of a long term plan to develop the area.
- 3 January was the 50th anniversary of the final regular timetabled BRBritish Rail or British Railways passenger services between Bewdley and Hartlebury and Kidderminster.
- A new buffet building was installed at Bewdley.
- New cylinder patterns were produced for 7802 Bradley Manor.
- The SVRSevern Valley Railway announced a new Loyalty Pass to replace the Annual Family Pass, now available to individuals, couples, less-able visitors or families.
- The Footbridge outside Bridgnorth Station was closed for repairs to the damaged holding down bolts discovered in 2018.
- Storm Dennis, with heavy rain falling on already saturated ground, contributed to record highs on the River Severn and consequent widespread flooding. Access to the SVRSevern Valley Railway was disrupted during half-term running from 15 to 23 February, with lower than usual passenger numbers. Flooding caused land movements at Sterns and Alveley Woods.
- On 25 February PPM50 Parry People Mover Class 999 No. 999900 visited for testing. It was previously tested in 2002.
- On 27 February WD 71516 Welsh Guardsman arrived at Bridgnorth.
- Specialist contractors removed asbestos from around the cylinder block of GWR Large Prairie 4150.
- A new pair of cylinder blocks for GWR 7802 Bradley Manor were poured, believed to be the first 7800 class cylinder blocks to be cast for 70 years.
- Brush Class 47 Co-Co 47773 [D1755] arrived at the SVRSevern Valley Railway from Tyseley for contract bodywork repairs in the Diesel Depot.
- A severe acute respiratory syndrome, coronavirus disease (COVID-19), was declared a pandemic. It caused widespread disruption and international travel restrictions. On 18 March the SVRSevern Valley Railway cancelled all services and closed The Engine House and refreshment rooms throughout March and April. It cancelled the following events: Easter Holidays, Spring Steam Gala, Open House Weekend, Spring Diesel Festival and 50th Anniversary Event. On 20 March it announced it would close the Railway's two pubs in line with a measure announced by the Government that day, and the shops followed on 24 March.
- The combination of February's flooding, the continuing planned work at Falling Sands, coronavirus and land movements meant the SVRSevern Valley Railway was faced with a serious financial challenge. On 20 March the Railway launched an Emergency Appeal for £250,000 to help the SVRSevern Valley Railway through the emergency, which raised £50,000 in the first four days.
- By 2 April the emergency appeal total reached £120,000.
- The Coronavirus pandemic lead to further total closures until the end of June and the cancellations of the 1940s weekends.
- A minimal contract engineering presence saw tests on the second of five new boilers for the Isle of Man Railway.
- On 15 April D2960 Silver Spoon took GWR 9055 Nondescript Saloon for a test after overhaul, running within the confines of the section signal at Kidderminster. The line to Bewdley remained severed for the winter works, interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The SVRSevern Valley Railway reported an increase in trespassing during the closure.
- John Leftwich, interim chairman of the SVR Charitable Trust, died.
- On 30 April the renamed Fight Back Fund total passed £650,000.
- Kidderminster station was lit to honour the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On 15 May the second Isle of Man boiler built at Bridgnorth was despatched following completion and testing.
- Phase 2 of the Falling Sands Viaduct work commenced on 18 May while the railway was closed to other traffic, involving replacing damaged brickwork and corbelling, and repointing throughout.
- On 28 May 47593 and 47805 delivered nine HST trailers to Kidderminster from Crewe for storage, and moved one stored sleeper out.
- By 1 June the Fight Back Fund reached £745,000.
- The Railway was granted by HSBC a £1.5 million loan under the CBILSCoronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, a government backed loan scheme scheme, which alongside its existing overdraft facility would mean £3 million available. The SVRSevern Valley Railway Charitable Trust applied for a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to support the reopening of the Railway.
- The Railway detailed remedial work planned for landslips at Sterns (water managenent and drainage) and Alveley woods (drainage scheme, soil nailing and partial replacement of the existing ash embankment material).
- On 26 June 33108 took a train of 19 coaches as part of a stock move from Bewdley to Kidderminster, for maintenance and turning and reforming to prepare the sets as all compartment rakes for August reopening. The line had been breached for nearly six months.
- 26 July saw the final testing and commissioning of the new S&TSignals & Telegraph equipment between Kidderminster and Bewdley, including the new ground frame at Foley Park.
- On 27 July the first services ran on the SVRSevern Valley Railway since the closedown in March. The passengers were SVRSevern Valley Railway staff and volunteers, the intention being to test social distancing and other arrangements ahead of a public opening on 1 August.
- The Erlestoke Manor Fund announced it was in discussion with The 5164 Preservation Group and the SVRSevern Valley Railway regarding the proposed transfer of GWR Large Prairie 5164 to the EMF.
- The value of the Diesel Depot as a revenue earning resource was demonstrated by contract work on BR Class 37 37308, Clayton Class 17 Bo-Bo D8568, PPM50 Parry People Mover No 999 900 and 47773.
- WD 71516 Welsh Guardsman steamed for the first time on the SVRSevern Valley Railway, tested to ensure it to be fit to run if needed, or should the owner should have a request for it to work elsewhere.
- The Charitable Trust agreed grants of £120,000 for repair work at Sterns and £12,000 to complete the restoration of GWR 2242 Corridor Brake Third. The work at Sterns completed on 29 July.
- The long running project to replace the lighting at Bridgnorth progressed with the erection of four of lamp standards along the embankment side of the car park.
- On Saturday 1 August passenger services restarted as planned, with the day being a sell-out.
- The Stanier 8F Locomotive Society announced it had raised £60,000 towards the costs of the next overhaul, against a stretching target of £250,000.
- On 2 August arsonists attacked and badly damaged Country Park Halt,.
- By 6 August the Fight Back Fund reached £900,000.
- From 13 August locos in service 2857, 7714 and 75069 carried wreaths in memory and support of those who were involved in the previous day's collision at Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.
- Access to the large bracket outside of Bewdley South signal box was prohibited due to rot, with a temporary replacement prepared.
- During a test run on 24th August with 1501, a crack was discovered in the right hand return crank. Luckily no further damage was caused.
- Restoration work to repair the brickwork at Falling Sands Viaduct restarted after the discovery of bats.
- On 1 September the PPM50 Parry People Mover (see February) departed on a low loader.
- On 4 September the first advertised passenger diesel trains of the decade ran.
- On 23 September the film Enola Holmes, filmed partly on the SVRSevern Valley Railway the previous year, was released
- Wyre Forest District Council awarded the Railway £50,000 under its discretionary business grant scheme for COVID-19 relief.
- Bewdley station hosted a VIP delegation that included the Mayor of Bewdley and the High Sheriff of Worcestershire to show support and appreciation for the efforts made following the February floods and the coronavirus pandemic.
- On 1 October Bewdley South wooden bracket signal was taken down due to rot in the post. A temporary replacement was installed.
- On 7 October SRSouthern Railway BulleidOliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Southern Railway 1937-1948 West Country class PacificLocomotive with a 4-6-2 wheel configuration 34046 Braunton arrived with the Saphos Trains 'Severn Valley Enterprise' railtour. The locomotive was declared a failure on arrival at Kidderminster due to a hot box on a driving wheel axle, and remained at Bridgnorth MPDMotive Power Depot for some days after moving there light engine. 34027 Taw Valley hauled the tour from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth and back to Bewdley, from where Class 47 47805 made the return trip to Crewe.
- On 9 October the SVRSevern Valley Railway was awarded a £906,000 grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. Nigel Huddlestone MP, The Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage visited the SVRSevern Valley Railway.
- More than a mile of track that was removed as part of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension was donated to the SVRSevern Valley Railway by Transport for West Midlands and the Midland Metro Alliance.
- On 5 November a second national lockdown in England came into effect, and services suspended for four weeks.
- Helen Smith and Diane Malyon became the first women to join the board of SVR(H).
- The Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust Ltd produced a podcast of oral histories from some of the founding volunteers as part of the Falling Sands Viaduct project.
- Christmas services ran to Arley for the Railway’s first-ever Christmas show, Jingle, Jangle and the Christmas Cookbook.
- On 5 December a power-twin set of vehicles 50933 and 52064 became the first DMU to operate for two years following bogie repairs, when it operated the Christmas staff train.
- On 9 December a special autotrain ran with 1450 and GWR 178 Autotrailer Third for several trips between Bridgnorth and Highley for the owner to mark the end of the locomotive's boiler ticket.
- The civil engineering work on Falling Sands Viaduct was completed in mid-December with the final piece of corbelling being slotted into place.
- On 17 December 4930 Hagley Hall’s boiler arrived back from Northern Steam Engineering following its extensive overhaul.
- On 29 December snowfall resulted in the day's services bring cancelled.
- On 31 December COVID-19 restrictions resulted in services being suspended for the third time.
2021 started in a third English national lockdown for the COVD-19 pandemic. All non-essential voluntary work was prohibited and vulnerable staff and volunteers required to 'shield', by staying at home. Vaccines were being rolled out to the population, with the most vulnerable (elderly and front line workers) being given priority. Many SVRSevern Valley Railway staff were furloughed. SVRSevern Valley Railway public trains had been cancelled and The Engine House, the pubs, refreshment rooms and shops closed, with services hoped to recommence in April 2021.
- A reduced programme of winter works commenced consolidating works undertaken in 2020, with major works deferred.
- On 14 January John Hill died. He had the honour of driving the first passenger train out of Bridgnorth in 1967.
- On 11 February, during the third COVID-19 lockdown, a particularly egregious act of trespass occurred and was reported in the media. Two trespassers were disturbed by an engineers' train on Victoria Bridge, with abseiling equipment. The police were informed.
- On 15 February locomotive 66702 hauled newly converted 69001 from Longport (Stoke) to Kidderminster, for the delayed commencement of a testing contract.
- New build 2999 Lady of Legend, GWRGreat Western Railway ChurchwardGeorge Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1902-1922 2900 Saint class 4-6-0, was announced for the 2021 Spring Steam UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) event which replaced the Spring Steam Gala. It had been announced for the 2020 event, cancelled due to COVID-19.
Steam locomotives used
A table of steam locomotives used since 2020 is shown below. Where detailed mileage records were not published in SVRSevern Valley Railway News, locomotives used are marked 'X'. For locomotives hired in, the table identifies whether they were present either for the Summer (S) or Winter (W).
|1450||X||Out of ticket 2020|
|6960 Raveningham Hall||X||On hire 2020-21. Out of ticket 2021|
|7802 Bradley Manor|
|7812 Erlestoke Manor|
|34027 Taw Valley||X|
|WD 71516 Welsh Guardsman|
SVRSevern Valley Railway News unless otherwise stated.
- 4150 Fund March 2020 restoration update (Retrieved 2 April 2020)
- Erlestoke Manor Fund March 2020 update (Retrieved 2 April 2020)
- Shropshire Star 29 April 2020 (Retrieved 29 April 2020)
- Branch Lines, June 2020
- Branch Lines, August 2020
- EMF announcement
- Shropshire Star,'Arsonists wreck roof at Severn Valley Railway site', 2 August 2020 (Retrieved 2 August 2020)
- Branch Lines, September 2020
- Express Points newsletter, September 2020 (Retrieved 29 August 2020)
- Branch Lines, October 2020
- Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (Retrieved 9 October 2020)
- Branch Lines, December 2020
- Branch Lines, January 2021
- Brock, Alexander, 'Severn Valley loco makes emergency stop to avoid trespasser "set to climb off edge of bridge"', Birmingham Mail, 12 February 2021 (Retrieved 15 February 2021)