SVR's purpose-built diesel maintenance depot had its official opening in May 2016, and is making a huge difference to volunteers and staff working on the diesel fleet. For the previous 20 years, facilities were very basic, as Chairman of the SVR Diesel Committee Jonathan Dunster explains:
really didn't have proper facilities at all, and were literally working
in a field, in all weathers. Now we have most of the specialist
equipment we need and most importantly a clean and dry environment."
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The 1000m2 Depot boasts two inspection pits, lifting jacks and a 10 tonne overhead travelling crane. Most of the SVR's diesel locomotives are over 50 years old; three are more senior than our newest steam locos. Jonathan says diesel is integral to the Railway's operation:
"The SVR simply couldn't function without its fleet of diesel shunting locomotives. And let's remember that around 10% of our scheduled passenger services are diesel-operated. There's significant interest in heritage diesel locomotives amongst railway enthusiasts and the public, as you no longer see them operating passenger trains on the national network. These locomotives are as much a part of Britain's industrial heritage as the steam locomotives they replaced, and the SVR has a particularly notable collection."
The Depot has been funded by many contributors, including the SVR Charitable Trust. The Railway's General Manager Nick Ralls is delighted with this addition to SVR's infrastructure:
part of recognising the importance of preserving heritage diesel as well
as steam locomotives, and we're now in a great position to maintain and
overhaul our diesel fleet, keeping it operational for future
generations to enjoy."