This £1.3 million project will secure the connection between Kidderminster (where 80% of our passengers start their journey) and the rest of the Severn Valley line. It is a major restoration project for the Railway with work on the internal parts of the viaduct starting in early 2020, and continuing throughout the year on the external walls and arches.
The Charitable Trust secured £397,000 in donations and £925,000 in grant funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to pay for the urgent and essential repairs that are needed to secure this marvel of Victorian engineering. For the latest restoration updates, and news on the exciting events and activities associated with this project, visit the dedicated Falling Sands website.
Skilled stonemason Philip Chatfield has been working at Bewdley off and on over the past couple of years, to repair and renew various parts of the station building, including the old exchange room bay window, the new sills for the booking office and repointing the platform side of the waiting room. This restoration work has been funded by donations to the Charitable Trust, and has helped to secure the structural integrity of the building and given it a much welcome 'face lift'. It shows the public that the Railway cares for its infrastructure.
Our photo shows one of the pieces Philip has created - a centre lintel for the bay window in the house to the right of the ticket office entry. Philip worked from a carefully created paper plan, to transfer a GWR roundel onto the stone, using traditional carving methods. He often attracts quite a crowd as he's working, using simple hand tools, just a hammer and chisel, pencil and card.In addition, the funding has enabled the rebuild of the structure housing the ladies' lavatories, after the original was deemed as structurally unsound.
The carriage shed's original lighting was old-fashioned and inefficient and badly in need of an upgrade. The Charitable Trust funded its replacement with modern LED lights. Not only does this mean hugely improved working conditions inside the shed, but also a 75% cut in electricity bills!
The Charitable Trust has contributed to repairs on all of these viaducts. The most recent of the repairs were to Borle Viaduct between Arley and Highley. Around £100,000 of repairs were needed to remedy the extensive erosion caused by the freeze-thaw action of water penetration, and the Trust funded the majority of the costs.
Preservation rather than restoration was the key focus in the projects we funded to improve the bypass bridges at Bridgnorth and Bewdley. The Bridgnorth bridge was mechanically prepared and repainted using a moss green high specification paint. It's planned that both bridges will display the SVR logo.