The Permanent Way is the official term for the rail track and track bed, along with the surrounding environment. And it comes in for a good deal of wear and tear, especially when the SVR runs the large engines and long trains that are so popular with visitors.
At least half a mile of the SVR Permanent Way requires re-laying each year, but limited finances mean only the most deserving section can be renewed during the January/February shutdown period. In 2015 a section near Trimpley was completed, and previous projects have included sections through Bewdley Tunnel and between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade. This year, we've re-laid a half-mile section between Bridgnorth and Eardington.
Despite the fact that many of the materials this year were either
purchased secondhand from the national railway network, or were bought
in as manufacturer's seconds, the cost to the SVR has still been in the
region of £120,000.
Fortunately the SVR Charitable Trust was able to step in with a £30,000 donation. Keeping the Permanent Way in good order is just one aspect of ensuring a sustainable future for the Railway, and it looks like equally substantial donations from the Trust will be vital on an ongoing basis.
Since the pioneering days of early restoration during the 1960s, there's been a doctrine of 'make do and mend' at the SVR, and you can be sure that it hasn't been abandoned. In the background, teams of volunteers are still supporting the cause, working away to renovate other sectons of track at minimal cost to ensure that they will provide a few more years of service before they too require complete renewal