Saturday, 28 December 2013

Dining on the "Severn Valley Limited"...

Hi guys. Today we made the familiar journey to the Severn Valley Railway. Yesterday I turned the ripe old age of 22 and so we had booked on the 'Severn Valley Limited' Dining Train in advance. We arrived at the SVR terminus of Kidderminster Town station at around 11:45am, well in advance for our 12:45 departure. The 'Limited' stock stood in the nearest platform being steam heated by a Midland interloper in Great Western territory. The engine was Ivatt Class 4 2-6-0 No43106, nicknamed the 'Flying Pig'. Of the 162 examples built, 43106 is the sole survivor and has spent her preservation life based at the SVR, leaving only occasionally for visits to other railways. Built in 1951, she has been on the SVR since withdrawal from BR service and is a popular, hard-working locomotive...
We boarded the Dining Train at around 12:20pm and were greeted with festively decorated tables, set ready for the 3-course meal...
The 'Flying Pig' got the train underway easily and we steamed out of Kidderminster on time. Puffing along the picturesque 16-mile route to Bridgnorth, the engine sounded in good voice. We passed a late-running rebuilt Battle of Britain Pacific "Sir Keith Park" at Bewdley and the DMU set at Highley, before pulling into Bridgnorth after finishing our starters and main courses: "Yum"! The train in the opposite platform as we arrived was about to depart behind an absolutely immaculate No2857: one of the Great Western Heavy Freight 2-8-0s; the earlier development of 3803. With a 20-minute wait in prospect, I decided to leave the train briefly and walk under the line via the road bridge towards the Bridgnorth locomotive shed. 43106 then ran round gradually...
Having chugged gently up to the home signals, 43106 backed down into the loco yard: much to everyone's surprise (many had expected a prompt return departure). The loco was backing down for coal... 
With the Class 4 taking on coal, I wandered calmly back under the line before clambering up onto the footbridge. It always amazes me how people scatter when they hear a loco whistle, or see a loco move. Many reboarded the train in fear of being left behind but one wonders..."how do they think the train will move with no locomotive on either end?". Ahh well! One thing that I always enjoy about visiting the SVR are the different rakes of coaches to be seen and enjoyed. Most of them are in very good condition too, no doubt because of the huge rolling stock shed they are kept in overnight!...
Looking over into the locomotive yard here does make you a bit jealous. 7812 "Erlestoke Manor" was being warmed up ready for service tomorrow whilst, as I've said, 43106 was in steam as was "Sir Keith Park" and 2857. Further towards the shed stood Small Prairie 4566 and Hawksworth Pannier 1501: both steam-able. Also in the yard are other engines awaiting overhaul, including 5164, the unique Stanier Mogul 42968 and "Hagley Hall". There are others about too! Wouldn't it be lovely to come in and say..."well, what loco shall we take today?"...
'Locomotives Everywhere'
I was very impressed with the LMS Dining Car which we travelled aboard. I don't think this coach belongs to the SVR but it certainly was a beautiful addition...
On the return run we enjoyed a fabulous desert, followed by a cup of tea and a hot Mince Pie. Meanwhile, up at the front, the 'Flying Pig' was living up to her name, and making herself heard...
'Very Civilised'
Soon enough we were back at Kidderminster. 43106 was uncoupled ready to run round and did the usual 'open the drain cocks to strike fear into the public'...
As we walked up towards the car park after a wonderful run and some great food, 43106 is spotted running round. I quite like this engine...
'Flying Pig'
Well, that's another dining experience done! Thanks very much for reading folks and I hope you've enjoyed scanning through. 43106 certainly proved to be an impressive loco and I wouldn't mind a go on it I can tell you! Best Regards, Sam...

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