The Severn Valley Railway on the main line

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Brochure for SVRSevern Valley Railway Railtours' 1981 "The Flying Pig" railtour
For many years the SVRSevern Valley Railway was closely associated with steam excursions on the main line. In the mid-1970s, even before the company acquired the final section of the line from Foley Park, the SVRSevern Valley Railway set out to become a ‘BRBritish Rail or British Railways approved’ steam centre, supplying locomotives and rolling stock overhauled to BRBritish Rail or British Railways standards for use on main line excursions and charters.

The normal arrangement was that locomotives would leave the SVRSevern Valley Railway and travel to other steam centres, in particular the Bulmers Railway Centre at Hereford, to run tours from there. The time spent away could vary from days to months. In between, locomotives would return to the SVRSevern Valley Railway for repairs and overhauls, as well as working services on the SVRSevern Valley Railway itself. The SVRSevern Valley Railway also organised some of of these railtours.

The first recorded use of the SVRSevern Valley Railway's rolling stock on the main line was an excursion from Bridgnorth to Paddington on 13 November 1976. This was hauled by 25292 and 25272 from Bewdley to Kidderminster, and by 47120 to Paddington.[1][2]

The first recorded use of an SVRSevern Valley Railway based locomotive in revenue-earning service on the main line was 6960 Raveningham Hall, which hauled the ‘Cathedrals Express’ from Hereford to Chester on 8 April 1978. (Railtour details on Six Bells Junction). The last SVRSevern Valley Railway-resident steam locomotive to work a main line excursion was 7802 Bradley Manor in 2007, although SVRSevern Valley Railway-based diesels are still regularly used for this purpose.

SVRSevern Valley Railway-based locomotives which hauled revenue-earning services on the main line

Steam locomotives currently resident

Listings of railtours and other significant main line appearances are included on the relevant page for each SVRSevern Valley Railway locomotive as follows:

The listings are an attempt to collate information from a number of sources, none of which provides a complete list. Many of the tours are listed on Six Bells Junction (SBJ); links have been included to those that are where normally more information on the precise route and timing for the specific tour may be found. UK Steam is another useful resource, with reasonably complete lists of railtours since 1996. Where railtours were mentioned in SVR News, the issue number and page has been shown.

Diesel locomotives currently resident

(lists to be added)

Former residents

Apart from 6960 Raveningham Hall, a number of other formerly resident steam locomotives also worked on the main line while based at the SVRSevern Valley Railway including:

SVRSevern Valley Railway Carriages used on the main line in preservation

The following carriages travelled on the main line while based at the SVRSevern Valley Railway, either as part of revenue-earning rail tours or to attend celebratory events:

Rail 150, Shildon 1975

The SVRSevern Valley Railway GWRGreat Western Railway set

In the mid to late 1970s the SVRSevern Valley Railway provided a rake of GWRGreat Western Railway carriages for use on mainline excursions. The first rail tour used 10 carriages, subsequent excursions normally featured a rake of 11. The following carriages were used[3]:

Rail tours recorded in SVRSevern Valley Railway News as using the SVRSevern Valley Railway rolling stock included the following (external links are to tour details on where listed there):

  • 13 November 1976: Bewdley to Paddington[3] link
  • 23 April 1977: Bridgnorth-Hereford-Chester[5] link
  • 3 July 1977: Paddington-Newport-Shrewsbury[6]link
  • 15 October 1977: ' The Severn Valley Limited', itinerary included Plymouth and Liskeard.[6][7]
  • 6 May 1978: Bewdley-Kingswear[8] Link
  • 4 November 1978: Bridgnorth-Pwllheli[9]

However their use on the main line was short-lived as BRBritish Rail or British Railways then introduced an annual inspection fee of £1,000 per coach which made their use uneconomical.[10] The C&WCarriage & Wagon notes in SVRSevern Valley Railway News for summer 1980, reporting on the SVRSevern Valley Railway coaches attending the Rainhill celebrations, ended with the comment “What a pity the whole train cannot go out again”[11].

Rocket 150, Rainhill 1980

Main article: Rocket 150

Main line support coaches

GWR 6913 Brake Composite was overhauled to main line standard in 1985 for use as a support coach for SVRSevern Valley Railway locos working on the main line. The first trip following the overhaul was with 7819 Hinton Manor[12].

SVRSevern Valley Railway Wagons used on the main line in preservation

2857 near Newport

As part of the 1985 GWRGreat Western Railway 150 celebrations, the SVRSevern Valley Railway was asked to produce a demonstration goods train to be taken on the main line to Newport, hauled by GWR 2857. The train left Kidderminster late on 9th September, stayed overnight at Hereford, then continued on to Newport early on the 10th, returning to Kidderminster later that evening. BRBritish Rail or British Railways C&WCarriage & Wagon inspectors approved 25 wagons to run, the eventual line-up being as follows[13]:

A BRBritish Rail or British Railways Brake van was provided at the rear. Six loaded BRBritish Rail or British Railways open wagons were also used to provide a fitted head for part of the journey.

Three BRBritish Rail or British Railways Flat ED wagons were supplied by Universal Pictures for The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. They were originally classified as 'Horse Box Underframe of unknown ID'[14], and given the temporary numbers SV14191, SV14192 and SV14193. Later research proved their identities to be 906811, 906825 and 906830[15], although it is not clear which two took part in the goods train.


  1. Railtour details on Six Bells Junction
  2. Alan Thwaites images on hatspics
  3. 3.0 3.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 41
  4. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 44
  5. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 46
  6. 6.0 6.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 45
  7. Taillamp Photography (Retrieved 7 October 2019)
  8. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 48
  9. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 50
  10. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 157
  11. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 56
  12. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 77
  13. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 78
  14. SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book v7
  15. SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book v9