John Leftwich, Trustee and Supporter, talks about why he is proud to be involved with the SVR Charitable Trust
Fifty years ago, it would have been easy to let the Severn Valley Railway slip quietly away into obscurity. Like so many other picturesque lines, the tracks would have been torn up, bridges left to collapse and cuttings completely overgrown. An important piece of our industrial heritage would have been lost forever.
Thanks to the spirited vision of the early preservationists, quite the opposite has happened and the Railway now is as picturesque and thriving as it ever was. Remarkably, more passengers are now carried on the Railway than in its heyday as an operational line.
The Severn Valley Railway means different things to different people. For elderly visitors, a trip down memory lane. For families and younger travellers, an involving educational experience in how things were. For many volunteers, they appreciate the worthwhile activities and interest that the Railway brings into their daily lives. Local businesses value the contribution that the Railway makes to the economy and employment in the area.
They all share one thing in common: the enjoyment that is to be had by being surrounded by the evocative sights, smells and sounds of a bustling heritage railway. The smiles on the faces of everyone down the line are testament to the fun of simply riding on a train.
The cost of the day-to-day running of the Severn Valley Railway is covered thanks to the Railway’s 1,300 volunteers and a small group of paid staff who help generate the daily income from passenger fares, the shops and catering outlets.
However, to maintain the ageing infrastructure and rolling stock the Railway now needs to raise money. To ensure it can continue to provide children, adults and enthusiasts with an authentic experience of the Golden Age of travel, the Trustees and I are committed to securing the funding needed for this important programme. Ultimately the ambition is to have the Severn Valley Railway recognised as the leading Heritage Railway in the UK.
I believe that we would not be doing justice to the pioneers who have brought the Railway this far, if we did not keep this pioneering spirit alive and continue their work for the benefit of future generations.
That is why I am personally delighted to be contributing my own time and money to the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust. I sincerely hope that you feel the same.
Formerly The SVR Rolling Stock Trust, the Charitable Trust was formed in May 2012 in recognition of the increasing demands of the railway and a need to broaden the scope of our activity. Originally caring exclusively for the railway’s vehicles, the remit was expanded to cover the 150 year old infrastructure, buildings and other developments.