Saturday, 11 July 2015

Severn Valley Railway...

Hello everyone. Today was another day out, this time to the fantastic Severn Valley Railway. The 16-mile long SVR has featured on this blog many times but mostly during our dining experiences. Today myself, 'Eddie the Late', David and JB were off on an enthusiasts outing, allowing us to take our time and look at things properly. Upon arrival at Kidderminster at around 10:40am, we immediately met up with David before grabbing a cuppa' from the station buffet. The stock was in the platform ready for our planned 11:15am departure but, allas, just then a d-d-d-diesel pulled in and took up its place at the head of our train. It transpired that Pannier Tank No1501 had failed at the last minute with broken springs: a home from home! The Class 20 would take the engines place until standby engine No4566 could be brought into full steam...
Having grabbed a compartment on this busy train, the right away was soon given. The Class 20 marched away from Kidderminster with ease, towing behind it some beautiful Great Western corridor stock. Whilst myself, Ed and David sulked in the compartment at the thought of being hauled by a diesel, John was quite the opposite. For most of the run he leaned from the open window like an overactive boxer dog, often shouting things like "oh yes, its going for it now!". Dear me, another one goes to the dark side! Having passed a poorly 1501 at Bewdley as well as the 'Flying Pig' on a Foot-Ex working, the train continued to Arley. Arley saw us being passed by Bullied Pacific No34053 "Sir Keith Park"...
Owing to the diesel haulage at the head of the train, we decided to change our plans slightly and alight at Highley first, continuing to Bridgnorth later on. The pretty little station at Highley has seen its passenger numbers rise in recent years with the opening of the SVR's 'Engine House' in the station yard...
Having checked out the book stall, JB is spotted ambling along the platform with little rush, as seen by myself & David from the footbridge...
Over the bridge and up the yard lies the 'Engine House'. Owing to us being on the diner during most of our SVR visits, I'd never had the chance to alight and see it before. I'm so glad that I did so today because its quite a building. Making an imposing presence as you walk in is WD Austerity 2-10-0 No600 "Gordon", of 1943. A strong and useful Riddles type built chiefly for the war effort, these engines far outshone their original expectations. Today, "Gordon" awaits overhaul but has received a cosmetic paint job to keep her shining...
Next to "Gordon" stood another beast: 48773. One of Stanier's chunky 2-8-0 8F types, 48773 was built in 1940 as LMS 8233. Another engine awaiting overhaul, she stood proudly displaying her society's headboard...
As well as the two biggies, the 'Engine House' also included a Standard Tank, Churchward Mogul, Black 5, Jinty, Mickey Mouse (Ivatt 2) and the Hunslet 0-6-0 tank. Overall it is a very impressive building and well worth a look. Its lovely to see these out of ticket engines  so shiny and on display rather than rotting in a siding somewhere under a weather sheet. With that, it was on to the canteen!...
Having had some more tea upstairs, we wandered back up towards Highley station where freshly overhauled Bullied pacific No34027 "Taw Valley" had just pulled in. Built in 1945, this is another beautiful SVR restoration. She looked lovely...
With 34027 having cleared the line, her 1947-built sister No34053 rolled in from Kidderminster with a train for Bridgnorth. We duly boarded this working...
No34053 made light work of the departure upgrade from Highley with BR stock in tow...
After a good run up to Bridgnorth the Bullied pulled in alongside Ivatt Mogul No43106, nicknamed 'Flying Pig'. The engine was awaiting departure now that the line was clear...
Having alighted at Bridgnorth I walked down and underneath the track before climbing up the steps onto the footpath. This was a good place to capture 43106 pulling away. The Ivatt was hauling some beautiful LMS coaches...
In the shed yard at Bridgnorth stood a few Great Western examples. 28xx 2-8-0 No2857 and 14xx Autotank No1450 stood silent, though the former had heat rising from her chimney as if used yesterday. Hall Class 4-6-0 "Hagley Hall" was also spotted with dismantling in progress prior to overhaul...
No34053 "Sir Keith Park" was by now taking water ready for her next departure...
I just couldn't seem to ignore the sign below: it made so little sense!...
A view along the very clean boiler of "Sir Keith Park"...
Back aboard the train myself & JB enjoyed a beer whilst Eddie enjoyed his traditional, refreshing cup of tea. He seemed upset that no 'Three Course Challenge' had been had but you can't win them all!...
John eyes up 4-6-0 No7812 "Erlestoke Manor" over a pint...
34053 departed from Bridgnorth on time with another packed train. Stationed in the buffet car, we had the pleasure of some inebriated diesel fans before they alighted a couple of stops later. The Bullied put in a good performance, passing 34027 at Hampton Loade and 4566 at Bewdley before arriving into Kidderminster...
Over on the 7.25" gauge line, one of Station Road Steam's popular 0-4-0 'Feldbahn's was on duty with one of the final trains of the day...
In a final shot we see No34053 once more. Having run round the train and recoupled to the other end, she is ready for an imminent departure for Bridgnorth...
Now, after a long but very enjoyable day, it was time for the car ride home. All in all it was a great day in great company. The Severn Valley offers everything you could want from a preserved railway: slick operation, well turned out impressive locomotives, beautiful period rolling stock, tidy stations and great scenery: my hat off to all involved. Another grand day out! Best Regards, Sam...

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