Wagon Review Group
In December 2010 an earlier attempt to build a two-road shed for the storage of up to 50 wagons on the course of the trackbed of the Stourport Branch failed when the HLFHeritage Lottery Fund (National Lottery Heritage Fund from 2019) turned down an application for funding.
The Wagon Review Group was created late in 2015. In March 2017 the group formed a committee to take the wagon shed project forward, and the following month it appointed a Treasurer "both to manage money raised and to assist the Group with the identification and implementation of practical fundraising initiatives in cooperation with other SVRSevern Valley Railway organisations."
The wagon shed is a medium term proposal.
Its major objectives are:
- Improving the public presentation and display of the collection of historical wagons residing on the SVRSevern Valley Railway. Possible ways include the stationing of wagons at suitable locations, and the operation of more demonstration freight trains.
- Keeping alive the craft of operating freight trains by running more freights and thus retaining the skills of the operating staff. This will have the effect of increasing the interest for visitors to the Railway
- Improving the workshop facilities available to the Wagon Department to ease and accelerate the restoration of wagons. It's hoped to "piggy back" this onto current plans to improve the carriage restoration facilities at Bewdley.
- Improving the conservation of wagons, both restored and not, by providing covered accommodation for at least the most vulnerable.
The wagon shed project
The site at Bewdley Triangle is no longer available, and attention has turned to the site of the GWRGreat Western Railway sidings adjacent to the former BSC works at Foley Park.
The proposals utilise the full area of the former Foley Park sidings. This originally held 4 tracks with a headshunt over Lisle Avenue underbridge to reach the start of Falling Sands Viaduct. The platform at Foley Park Halt was originally on the south side with an access pathway (which still exists) to Stourport Road. On construction of the sidings the platform with pagoda shelter was moved to the north side.
Stourport Road overbridge was constructed for double track. The design seeks to accommodate a 60 wagon three road storage shed with an external run round loop and an engineering siding at the east end. The 3 roads would be fed from the east with only a single road emerging from the west end of the shed.
The shed would be a standard ‘agricultural’ type building with 5 metre spaced portal frames (on pad foundations in the sandstone formation) and propriety cladding with windows and photovoltaic panels on the roof to provide an income source and lighting. Electrical and water supplies could be accessed off Stourport Road. Plans envisage raised walkways between the internal tracks allowing limited access for viewing. The southerly road would contain historically significant non-runners with the remaining roads having different demonstration goods trains with brake vans at each end. There is provision in the plans at the east end for a large locomotive (e.g 8FThe British Railways system of classifying steam locomotives by power using a number from 0, least powerful, to 9, most powerful, followed by either F for freight, P for Passenger or MT for Mixed Traffic. or 28XX) to sit in front of the doors.
The single road from the west end of the shed would allow demonstration wagon events linked to the car park access off Felix Baxter Drive.
The run round loop and headshunt would be around 175 metres long to accommodate typical freight or engineering trains.
The engineers' siding design would allow road vehicles to run along as well as offloading ballast, rails and other permanent way materials, and visiting locomotive loading with road access off Silverwoods Way.
- In February 2016 the site was cleared of undergrowth to allow a detailed site survey.
- In April 2016 the information was used to prepare possible track layouts and illustrations.
- At March 2017 the survey had been used to prepare outline plans, discuss them with the SVRSevern Valley Railway management and other key parties, and obtain approximate prices for creating such a facility.
- In winter 2019-20 the opportunity was taken to install a set of points at Foley Park for future use with a siding or shed. The points are controlled by a ground frame which was previously installed at Kidderminster. Electrical work to allow a release during traffic hours was not pursued at the time.
The clearance work so far has not uncovered any track drainage suggesting that the design should incorporate a new drain and/or French drains to discharge at the east end where St Francis Group have their outfall to the canal/river.
Initial estimates in 2017 suggested around £200,000 for design, supply and erection of the shed with additional works needed on earthworks, drainage, fencing/security, electricity and water supply. Construction could be phased, with the engineer’s siding being required sooner for trackwork delivery and the works to the cabling and relaying needing to be planned together. Were the plans to be successful and many of the wagons be moved, it would be possible to proceed with Bewdley carriage works as a separate phase.