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, in 2016 a half-mile section between Bridgnorth and Eardington received the necessary attention, and previous projects have included
sections through Bewdley Tunnel and between Bridgnorth and Hampton
More recently, the Charitable Trust funded a ‘makeover’ for the SVR’s most heavily used track and points in Kidderminster yard. This serves both the carriage shed and the diesel depot, and its track and turnouts (points) were laid many years ago using recycled components. Having seen more traffic movements than anywhere else on the Railway, it was all thoroughly worn out, and well overdue an upgrade.
Whenever possible the Railway will buy materials secondhand from the national railway network, or bring them in as manufacturer's seconds. Even so, the annual cost is still around £120,000.
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