Severn Valley Railway Company Limited
Severn Valley Railway Company Limited is a Company Limited by Guarantee (for which reason it is normally referred to on the SVR as "the Guarantee Company").
Attempts to preserve the Severn Valley Railway began in 1965 with The Severn Valley Railway Society (SVRS). However for legal reasons it was necessary for a Company, rather than a Society, to acquire and operate the railway. The Guarantee Company was therefore formed in May 1967 to negotiate the purchase of the line between Bridgnorth and Alveley Sidings, and to obtain the Light Railway Order (LRO) to operate the first section of line between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade.
From 1967 to 1969 the Guarantee Company worked towards this end, while the SVRS remained the ‘public face’ of the SVR. By late 1979, with the legal process coming towards a conclusion, the membership agreed that the Guarantee Company was now the organisation with which to go forward, so the SVRS was merged into the Guarantee Company on 6th December that year.
The SVR, operated by the Guarantee Company, began services in May 1970. However the next stages of development, including purchase of the southern end of the line to Foley Park and ultimately Kidderminster, required substantial investment. A Public Company with a Share Capital was considered a more suitable vehicle for this, leading to the formation of Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) Ltd. ("SVR(H)") in March 1972.
When SVR(H) was formed, it was envisaged that the Guarantee Company would no longer be required, leading to the creation of another organisation, the Severn Valley Railway Association (SVRA). However it transpired that the existing LRO could not be transferred to SVR(H) at that time, so the Guarantee Company remained in existence. The activities of the SVRA were eventually merged into the Guarantee Company from October 2015.
In due course SVR(H) assumed responsibility for the ownership of the infrastructure and operation of the SVR.
Although it no longer owns the line, the Guarantee Company is still an active part of the Severn Valley Railway. It remains as the SVR’s membership arm and provides volunteer staff to operate the railway (all volunteers must be members). The SVR has around 13,000 members and membership is by subscription. Members receive preferential rates of travel.
At 31 December 2017 the Guarantee Company maintained a shareholding of 1,787,603 shares, approximately 17.75% of the issued share capital of SVR(H). It nominates three directors to the SVR(H) board.
It also publishes Severn Valley Railway News, a quarterly magazine, free to members.
- Companies House, 2017 Report and Accounts (Retrieved 10 February 2019)