Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Severn Valley Railway...

Hi all. Well, I guess this week at long last we can finally say summer is here. Luckily for us we had already planned a day out to the brilliant Severn Valley Railway and so good weather was merely a bonus. Myself, JB and well known late arrival Eddie the Late arrived at the SVR terminus of Kidderminster Town Station at a little after 11am. Our first spot was standing at the head of the 11:45am departure: 43106, otherwise known as "The Flying Pig". Having purchased our tickets and grabbed a cuppa' from the cafe, we wandered along the lengthy platform to survey the Mogul. 43106 is a Darlington product of 1951 and was one of the 162-strong class of Ivatt Class 4 Mogul's. 43106 is the only survivor of the type and has operated happily on the SVR for many years. The cab layout is seen below, sporting a number of LMS features but with a pull-out regulator...
"Cab of 43106 - Flying Pig"
You could easily argue that this class of engine were the forerunners of the BR Standard Mogul's that came next; they certainly have some strong similarities. JB was chatting to the Trainee Fireman about the pedigree of the engine...
The running boards on the Pig stand high above the valve gear, giving the engine an unusually tall look. The class was designed with ease of maintenance in mind and you can appreciate the relatively easy access to components and pipework. Employing 17.5" cylinders with 5ft 3" wheels sat underneath a 225psi boiler, the Ivatt Mogul's pumped out roughly 24,170lb's of tractive effort...
"Anatomy Of The Pig"
We boarded the GWR rake of coaches behind 43106 and duly departed on time towards Bridgnorth. The 'Flying Pig' got the train away easily and she was soon strolling through the sunlit countryside on route to Bewdley. There was a short wait at Bewdley as the down train had been delayed by some P-Way issues. Meanwhile, JB and Ed were putting the preservation world to rights...
The late running 4-6-0 No7812 "Erlestoke Manor" soon passed us, allowing us a path into the next section of the line towards Arley...
The plan was to break our journey to Bridgnorth at Highley for a spot of grub at the well appointed Engine House. We left the train and clambered over the footbridge, the air littered with the echoing chrous of 43106's efforts as she worked upgrade out of the station. In the Engine House, the two big brute's (48773 and "Gordon") stood shining but silent...
The Engine House, though we've visited before, is very much worth a look and its always nice to see out of ticket engines being displayed in such pleasant conditions rather than rusting in a siding somewhere. The cafe is upstairs and having aided Ed on the gruesome ascent we sat down for lunch. He was very keen on the idea of an impromptu "Three Course Challenge" but unfortunately there wasn't time today...
"Lunch Stop"
JB managed to have an accident with his tray and duly covered himself in gravy. His expression of "I've never liked trays" was more aggressive than I can convey. Having heard a whistle over the sound of lunch being devoured, I wandered outside to grab a quick snap of the Bullied Pacific No34027 "Taw Valley" heading away from Highley towards Arley...
Stomachs replenished, we wandered back down into the loco area. GWR Mogul No7325 has been done up for footplate access, with some plates explaining what some of the controls do. The regulator is surprisingly thrust right up into full main valve which I think is optimistic in the circumstances as the brake valve is set to full application! Jokes aside, its nice to see that, even with no boiler ticket, 7325 is still providing a useful service to the SVR and is still being appreciated by many visitors. She is one of only two such Mogul's that survive today...
"Cabbing A GWR Mogul"
Other locomotives in the Engine House included the well known Black Five No45110 (famous for her 1968 exploits) and the Ivatt Class 2...
Having enjoyed our lunch and a walk around the Engine House, we wandered back over to the platform to await the 1:49pm departure for Bridgnorth. Right on time, in rolled 7812 "Erlestoke Manor". The 4-6-0 was very much in Cambrian guise, having been done up with a liberal application of 'Dannys Bull'...
"7812 Arrives"
The climb out of Highley requires a "good chuff" and even 7812's Fireman wanted to record her efforts with her 8-coach train...
Having passed 43106 at Hampton Loade, the Manor continued on towards Bridgnorth after a good run up Eardington Bank. The shed area at Bridgnorth was, as usual, alive with locomotives of all types and sizes...
The Manor was swiftly uncoupled before running over for water. The level was checked and it was decided that she had enough on board to continue...
Small Prairie No4566 was clearly being warmed up for a fairly imminent duty. Steam was escaping well from her snifting valves as a plume of smoke rose gently skyward...
7812 meanwhile took up her place at the head of our train: the 2:57pm departure for Kidderminster via all stations...
I took a fairly sedate video of 7812 as she got the train away. Its a good climb out of Bridgnorth and with the front end pinned down by a well-loaded 8-coach train, 7812 did slip now & again as she got herself together...

With the weight now moving nicely, the Manor was away...
On our return journey we enjoyed a most welcome beer from the Buffet Car. The guy working the bar recommended this one - 2857...
We passed "Taw Valley" at Hampton Loade before we saw 43106 again at Bewdley. Surprisingly the Pig had the same crew aboard - I thought the SVR would specify a crew change. She was working another train to Bridgnorth...
On "The Rock" at Bewdley was 7812's sister engine No7802 "Bradley Manor". "Bradley" returned to service last November after a full overhaul and looked very smart as she relaxed in the afternoon sun. 7802 is owned by the same group that owns 7812, though the former carries the larger 4000-gallon Collett tender...
"7802 Bradley Manor"
Leaving Bewdley in good voice, 7812 did some real shifting as she climbed towards Foley Park Tunnel. The crew were certainly determined to clear the fire out as she stormed into the tunnel with sparks flying down past the windows. I'm glad we rode in the first compartment as the noise was amazing as the 1939-built engine roared along. All too soon however, the regulator was shut and drift position assumed for the run into Kidderminster. Having backed away from the stock, I finally managed to get a fairly unhindered picture of the Manor...
With that, it was time for home. Well, what a very pleasant little day out to the Severn Valley Railway. No matter when you come on a visit here you get a nice engine on a nice railway with nice rolling stock. A visit to the SVR doesn't dissapoint. My thanks to Ed and JB for an enjoyable day chuntering around the countryside behind some very nice steam engines. Cheers all, Sam...

No comments: