Sunday, 22 November 2015

The 'Severn Valley Limited' Dining Train...

Good day everyone. Today we were fine dining again, this time on the Severn Valley Railway at Kidderminster. I've always had alot of time for this railway; its just beautiful. When we arrived the sight that greeted us at Kidderminster was quite something: not one, not two but three Great Western Manor types all together in the station area. At the head of our steam hauled dining train ready for our Sunday Lunch was 1939-built 4-6-0 No7812 "Erlestoke Manor". Alongside was her recently overhauled sister No7802 "Bradley Manor" and standing not far away was 7820 "Dinmore Manor". Our Manor was decked out with a compliment of 'Dannys Bull'; an affectionate name given to the white paint used to mark up the buffers and smokebox hinges ready for an appearance on the 'Cambrian Coast Express' back in the day. If she'd been wearing the Cambrian headboard she'd have been perfect! We walked down the pathway to the delightful passenger area of the station, under the glass roof. The station had been well decorated in preparation for the popular Santa Special's which begin next weekend...
Having checked in at the Diner Reception, we were shown to our table on board the Great Western coach. The table was set for lunch and we settled down, grateful for the steam heater alongside our shoes. Maisie was looking forward to the meal, and no doubt my explanations as to why the Manors were designed for life on the old metals of the Cambrian Coast...
With a blast on her whistle and right on time, 7812 got the 'Severn Valley Limited' underway on the 16-mile run to Bridgnorth. The Starter was served on route to Bewdley where we passed 2857 (a brief glimpse of which I saw last night as we roared through Kidderminster with 4965, returning from Oxford). The train made its steady way along the picturesque setting of the Severn Valley, rattling and rolling. The main course was soon served and, well, it was just lovely (I could have eaten it twice!)...
After our lovely main course, we settled back into our seats watching the scenary gradually pass by the window. 7812 was in good voice, climbing out of Highley with ease whilst echoing her Great Western bark across the valley. The idea behind the Manors was to create a powerful, compact 4-6-0 for routes which didn't allow big engines like the Halls, Castles and Kings to travel over them. 30 examples were built, with a total of 9 finding a home in preservation. Pulling gradually into Bridgnorth, we spotted a whisp of steam drifting over from the shed area, even though 7812's sister (7802) had just departed for Kidderminster. The drifting steam was escaping slowly from Hawksworth Pannier No1501, built in 1949 as an unusual varient of the Pannier Tank. The engine found a home after BR withdrawal in 1961 at Keresley Colliery, working trains for the NCB not far from where I live. This 'extra life' allowed 1501 to survive until 1970 when she was purchased by the Severn Valley Railway. She's a lovely old thing...
We walked over the footbridge to watch 7812 head onto the shed and noticed that Bridgnorth yard was alive with engines, from the 'Flying Pig' to the famous "Royal Scot": what a fleet...
I tell you what, the wind was biting today. The sanctuary of our steam heated Great Western coach was very welcome as we boarded ready for Dessert and Coffee on the return run. 1501 would be in charge for the Bridgnorth departure, showing her might on the 6-coach train. The run back was very pleasant, as was the dessert. I will always highly recommend the 'Severn Valley Limited'. Once back at Kidderminster, we wandered (clutching our full stomachs in shame) back along the pathway to the car park, spotting 7802 waiting to leave with the final outward departure of the day. 1501 was spotted in a rushed shot alongside 7802, taken from the car as we were just pulling out...
The last thing to do was to drive home, back along the M42 and the M6 in failing light. It had been a very pleasant day and a lovely meal on the SVR. Its a beautiful railway in a lovely setting with impressive locomotives and wonderfully kept rolling stock: its just great. Many thanks for reading guys - I appreciate it. All the best, Sam...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

No problems with the "Three course challenge" on the SVR limited then Sam!
"Eddie the Late" would be impressed...
All the Best,
Emma-Claire.

Sam Brandist said...

Hi Emma. Never a problem on the SVR Limited with a 'Three Course Challenge'. No three course challenge can beat the mass of an Edwise three courser! All the best, Sam