Preserving our heritage for
future generations

News from the SVR Charitable Trust

The SVR wins funding for Anderson

The railway has been awarded £10,000 funding to construct a purpose-built Anderson shelter and covered seating area at The Engine House Visitor and Education Centre, Highley. This will greatly enhance the facilities for children to learn about air raids and experience what it was like to take cover inside when the siren sounded its warning.

The project has been made possible thanks to a grant from Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The existing Anderson shelter has always been one of the highlights of the day, but its tiny size and lack of adjacent outdoor seating left a lot of room for improvement, as SVR education officer Helen Russell explains:

“Rebuilding and enlarging our Anderson shelter and creating a covered seating area will make a huge difference to what we’re able to do with the children. In the past, we could only fit a small number of children inside the shelter at once, and it’s been a real disappointment when we’ve had to cancel this popular activity because of bad weather. The youngsters really enjoy getting hands-on when they take part in our 1940s activities, and the new enlarged shelter and seating area will really bring to life the experiences of evacuees during World War Two.”

SVR to say ‘thank you’ to National Lottery players

The SVR has invited National Lottery players to go behind the scenes, on an exclusive tour of the Carriage Works at Kidderminster on Thursday 6th December. This special opportunity is being made available as part of #ThanksToYou week, when heritage attractions across the country will be giving back to those who’ve raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket or scratch card.

The free tour offers the chance to get up close to some of the rolling stock that’s being restored, and meet the apprentices and volunteers who are making it all happen. There’ll even be a free mug of tea and a plate of biscuits in the engineers’ mess room to round things off. 

November 2018

Update 29.11.18: The places on the tour have filled up very quickly, and we are now oversubscribed!

November 2018

Alan stars in The Railway Magazine

Recent graduated from our Heritage Skills Training Academy, improver fitter-machinist Alan Brookes features in the latest SVR column in the November edition of The Railway Magazine. He's living proof of the Academy’s success in addressing the skills shortage facing heritage rail, and you'll find him working in the mechanical section of the Carriage Works at Kidderminster.

It costs £21,000 a year to fund each of our apprentices. Alan Brookes is proof that we’re doing the right thing. Will you help us continue this essential investment in the future of the SVR?             Donate now

November 2018

Hinton Manor is home

We’re delighted the Charitable Trust’s own locomotive 7819 Hinton Manor is back on home ground at the SVR. After a little bit of cosmetic attention, it will be going on display at The Engine House, Highley and will take on the rather special role of our ‘wedding engine’, licensed for civil ceremonies.

7819’s returns marks a huge milestone for one of the SVR’s volunteer drivers, Kev Cronin. Since his childhood, he’s been well acquainted with the loco, but by the time he was old enough to train as footplate crew, it had sadly gone out of steam. Now that it’s back and in the queue for eventual overhaul, Kev’s dream of driving Hinton Manor has moved tantalisingly closer. Watch our film clip to hear the deep passion Kev feels for this particular loco; it’s the stuff this wonderful railway is built on.

The Charitable Trust has contributed towards the cost of Hinton Manor's return, and in due course we will launch an appeal for its restoration. You can donate now to fund rolling stock and infrastructure restoration.

September 2018

Apprentice Barney gets down to work

Check out our video clip of 20-year-old Barney Hill, one of the SVR’s latest recruits. He’s already getting to grips with the finer points of routine mechanical maintenance on the SVR’s set of British Rail Mark 1 coaches. Working under the supervision of team leader Nigel Hanson, Barney talks us through how they adjust the brake blocks. 

It costs £21,000 a year to fund each apprentice within our pioneering Heritage Skills Training Academy, and the Charitable Trust funds the majority of the costs. Please donate now to support the essential work of the Academy, in training the SVR’s future heritage engineers.

August 2018

The Charitable Trust’s loco Hinton Manor is coming home

Next week (Tuesday 21st August)  sees the long-awaited return of 7819 Hinton Manor to the SVR. The loco has spent the past 10 years on display at a designer shopping outlet, built on the site of the former Great Western Railway works in Swindon. In a meticulously planned operation, 7819 will be extracted from the building by an SVR team and carefully transported back to Kidderminster by road hauliers Allelys. Come and see the SVR Charitable Trust-owned loco for yourself; it will be on public display from Thursday 23rd August, and over the Bank Holiday weekend at Kidderminster.

August 2018

Built by Victorians, 141 years ago

Civil engineer Jonathan Symonds of David Symonds Associates talks about living and working conditions for the Victorian navvies who built the SVR’s Falling Sands Viaduct in the 1870s.

Our ‘helping hands for Falling Sands’ appeal is raising £275,000 for urgent repairs to Falling Sands Viaduct, which stands a mile from our Kidderminster station. We are also bidding for £1million of Heritage Lottery Fund. With all the money in place, work should begin early in 2019.

July 2018

Careful with that door!

Look at what the SVR’s restoration teams have to deal with. After 60 years of not-so-careful door slamming, the structure around these carriage doors was so badly damaged, it was, according to apprentice Ronan O’Brien, “more holey than a colander”! Never mind, it’s all getting sorted in the Carriage & Wagon department at Kidderminster, where Ronan, two other paid staff and around 40 volunteers are working on carriage 80776.

Restoring 80776 is part of an SVR Charitable Trust project to upgrade the Railway’s wheelchair facilities, and has been partly funded by a £75,000 grant from the Department for Transport . Could you help fund our restoration work? You can donate online now.

August 2018

What a difference a day makes!

Especially when you’ve got the SVR’s fabulous Monday Vegetation Gang on the job! These hardworking volunteers are based at Bewdley, but came to Highley to tackle the waist-high brambles and weeds at the site of our soon-to-be Commemorative Garden. We are hugely excited that the project is starting to move forwards– look out for further changes in the coming months as you pass the Engine House. The garden will be accessible to everyone, whenever The Engine House Visitor Centre is open, to remember their loved ones and reflect on their passion for the Railway. It will have a superb view of the trains as they pass close by.

July 2018

Two new apprentices for the SVR

The SVR’s newest recruits, Barney Hill and Jacob Cox, had a warm welcome from their fellow apprentices when they visited the SVR in advance of their official starting date next month.

Jacob (16, pictured on the left) and Barney (20) have fought off competition from hundreds of other applicants to gain their places in the SVR’s pioneering Heritage Skills Training Academy. During their first year with the Railway, they’ll get the chance to work in different areas. Barney is starting in the Carriage & Wagon department at Kidderminster, while Jacob spends time at the Locomotive works at Bridgnorth.

As he looks forward to starting next month, Barney said, “My dad was a cleaner on steam engines at the SVR years ago, and my great-grandfather was an engineer for the LNER, so it’s lovely that I can keep the steam railway connection alive in our family.”

Jacob added, “I’m really excited about starting, to be honest. I just want to get going! Yes, it’s a big thing going from school, aged 16, into the workplace, but for me it’s about doing something active.”

The SVR Charitable Trust is the majority funder for apprentices at the Railway. If you would like to help us train future heritage engineers, please donate now.

July 2018

It’s a flaming hot June, and our latest edition of Platform is also hot off the presses!

Platform 2018  is packed with news about the SVR Charitable Trust’s activities over the past year. What a busy one it’s been, with the launch of our ‘helping hands for Falling Sands’ appeal, our successful ‘flash’ fundraising drive to restore two vandalised carriages and great progress being made on a host of projects around the Railway. Click on the cover image on the right to download your copy. 

June 2018

Falling Sands Viaduct Progress 2018

As our appeal gathers pace to raise £275,000 to save the viaduct, we talk to civil engineer Jonathan Symonds about the sheer size of the restoration project.

May 2018

4930 Hagley Hall's boiler on the move

Locomotive 4930 Hagley Hall’s boiler is about to leave the Severn Valley Railway for overhaul, as the project to restore GWR “Hall” No 4930 to running order takes a major step forward.

The announcement was made by the Friends of Locomotive 4930 Hagley Hall, in association with the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust. The SVR has finalised a contract with Northern Steam Engineering Ltd of Stockton for an overhaul of the locomotive’s boiler. The boiler leaves the railway on 10th April, with work on the overhaul expected to start immediately, to allow a completion during summer 2019.

Speaking on behalf of The Friends of Locomotive 4930 Hagley Hall, Paul Hobson said, “This is an exciting development in our quest to return Hagley Hall to steam, and we would like to acknowledge the financial support we have received both from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and also from our loyal group of 4930 supporters. Many of these people have been regularly contributing funds to the restoration appeal in recent years, in anticipation of a return to active service of the SVR’s former flagship locomotive.”

The Charitable Trust’s director Shelagh Paterson added, “This announcement shows that the restoration project is progressing well. Alongside this development, we are delighted that the new cylinders for 4930 are about to be cast. These two schemes are clear evidence that Hagley Hall’s return to front line duties on the Severn Valley Railway is well under way.”

April 2018

SVR raises £10,000 for vandalised carriages in just a week

A flood of donations has come in following an attack by vandals on two of the Railway’s carriages. So fast was the response that we reached our target of £10,000 in just a week!

We launched this appeal to meet the costs of putting right the damage caused when vandals sprayed paint along the sides of the heritage vehicles on Christmas Day, the only day that the railway was closed over the festive period.

Our director Shelagh Paterson said:

“The speed and generosity of the response we’ve received shows us just how shocked people were when the news of this awful incident broke. It also shows the depth of their passion for the Severn Valley Railway, and everything it stands for. Keeping our heritage alive and accessible is clearly very important to the wide range of people who’ve come forward to add their support. With the exception of a handful of larger amounts, most of the donations we received were between £10 and £25. Each one was a vote of confidence in the sterling skills of the SVR’s restoration volunteers and staff, and we are so grateful to everyone for their support.”

A generous donation of £1,000 took the appeal past its £10,000 target. This came from the Worcestershire Ambassadors, a group that draws together leaders of industry, enterprise and public life. The group’s chair, Phil Dutton of Handelsbanken Worcester, said:

“When we learnt about the vandalised carriages, we felt very strongly that we wanted to help the railway in its time of need. As a group, our aim is to promote Worcestershire as a place to work, live and visit. Making this donation to the county’s leading heritage and visitor attraction is exactly the sort of cause we want to support.”

We've received hundreds of individual donations for the appeal. Many people added personal messages of support, such as Daniel White who said:

“The SVR preserves important machines from our past and the experience people can have from them. I hope this helps it to continue to preserve the two vandalised carriages for everyone to experience.”

Another donor, Elaine Leung told us:

“After our Christmas Eve Santa visit which you made so magical, I wanted to give you something back for this senseless act of vandalism.”

Work to restore the first of the vandalised carriages, the teak-bodied GNR 2701 dating from 1922, is well underway in the SVR’s Kidderminster paint shop. A team of volunteers spent three days removing the spray paint by hand. The gold leaf lettering and painted lining on the carriage was badly damaged but is now being painstakingly restored. The team will then apply several fresh coats of varnish to finish things off. Paint removal has already begun on the second vandalised carriage, the metal-skinned GWR 1146.

The unscheduled work to restore these two important carriages has meant a delay to January's scheduled projects, including the conversion of a vehicle to provide first class dining accommodation, suitable for wheelchair users and their companions.

January 2018

We're delighted that we've reached our initial appeal target of £10,000 so soon, but still need donations for other urgent SVR carriage projects. You can donate online now, or phone 01562 757940 and donate using a credit or debit card.