Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Festive "Severn Valley Limited"...

Hi everyone. Once again, as per, today we were on our annual jaunt to the Severn Valley Railway for their 'Festive Season Lunch Train'. A frosty but clear morning allowed us a good run up the M42 out towards Kidderminster and we arrived at Midday, in good time for our 12:50 departure. At the head of the 'Limited' stock stood Ivatt Class 4 No43106, built at Darlington in 1951 and affectionately known as the "Flying Pig". We headed down into the festively decorated station area before having a cuppa' in the Valley Suite...
After our tea we walked along Platform 2 and boarded the 'Limited'. The festively decorated train was cosy and tables were set for the 4-course dinner...
The "Flying Pig" departed on time at 12:50 and took us on a leisurely run along the 16-miles of picturesque track. A hearty Tomato & Red Pepper soup, prior to passing 9F 92214 at Bewdley, was followed by Turkey and all the trimmings, by which point I was already stuffed. Desert and Tea was to be served on the return journey but an abrupt stop a mile or so from the terminus at Bridgnorth soon aroused suspicion. An hour later, the train still had not moved. The friendly restaurant car staff served the tasty deserts and tea whilst we awaited some news. 43106 had failed with what later transpired to be a broken snifting valve, probably meaning that any steam applied through the regulator was just leaking to atmosphere. A powerful but very slow diesel shunter of the Class 11 type had been deployed from Bridgnorth to assist, and dragged the train the rest of the way, eventually arriving around 75 minutes late. An impatient GWR 28xx No2857 had been waiting to depart for Kidderminster for some time...
Upon arrival at Bridgnorth the Diners were quickly removed from the 'Limited' stock and were asked to board the very late train behind 2857. This two trains into one operation provided the 28' with a very well loaded Mk1 train and seats were a virtue. I took this quick shot of the terminus station as we crossed the bridge...
With all passengers crammed on, 2857 duly left but little could be done to make up for lost time. Having passed 92214 at Hampton Loade with another no doubt late train, we crossed with a Class 20 running light at Bewdley. The 20 was no doubt on its way to collect the Limited stock. 2857 is captured here following arrival at Kidderminster's Platform 1 well over an hour late...
All this simply goes to show that even the best of railways have their problems occasionally. The failure of 43106 put the timetable over an hour out for the rest of the day and the crew aboard 2857 would have been no doubt put out by their late running. You can't blame the SVR for todays goings on as you can't account for loco failure and, particularly not as Diners, because we did get our very nice meal nonetheless. However, I will say that the communication between the operating staff wasn't good as even the restaurant car ladies didn't seem aware of the reason for delay until an hour had elapsed. Ahh well, can't be helped. Anyway, following our late return to Kidderminster it was back out onto the motorway for the frosty drive home. All the best guys, Sam... 

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