Preserving our heritage for
future generations


Changes to our board of trustees

At the Annual General Meeting of the SVR Charitable Trust on 8th April 2019 the following changes were announced: 

 •Chairman Hugh McQuade and trustee Roger Scanlon stepped down from their roles

John Leftwich took on the role of interim Chairman

•Two new trustees have joined the board: David Owen OBE (pictured on the right) and Paul Fathers (pictured on the left)

 Commenting on the changes, chairman of SVR Holdings and fellow trustee Nick Paul said:

 “Hugh’s input from the beginning of the discussions to enlarge the remit of the Charity until the present day has been crucial to its success. He recognised from the outset that we needed to become professional fundraisers, and has supported the Charity to the hilt throughout his time as chairman.”

Under Hugh’s chairmanship, the Trust has contributed over £1.5 million to Railway projects, created a £1.3 million endowment fund and recently won a bid for £850k for Falling Sands Viaduct from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Nick added: “Roger brought a vast amount of hands-on rolling stock experience to the board, as a locomotive driver of more than 30 years vintage. He started his volunteering career with the Railway in 1971.

“We are hugely thankful to both Hugh and Roger for everything they have done for the Charity, and wish them well with their future SVR endeavours.”

At the AGM, the Trustees unanimously voted in John Leftwich as interim chairman. John has been spearheading the Trust’s fundraising efforts since 2012, with commendable success. His background in sales and marketing, as marketing vice president for Microsoft for 10 years, have helped him shape the Trust's fundraising efforts.

Welcoming the new trustees, John Leftwich commented: 

“David Owen’s involvement with the SVR started back in 1973, when his company Rubery Owen bought 150,000 shares to support the extension of the line from Hampton Loade to Bewdley. He served as a director of SVR Holdings until last year, and brings a vast amount of business acumen to his role with the Charity.

“Paul Fathers will be well known to many people on the SVR. He’s been a staunch supporter and volunteer since his teenage years back in the 1960s. He brings a wealth of experience with him, and will play a key role in assisting the Charity to develop its fundraising strategy and contribute to its governance.” 

David and Paul join existing trustees John Leftwich, Nick Paul, David Williams, David Mead, Ron Treverton-Jones and Peter Copsey.

March 2019

Come with us on a ‘Journey through Time’

Don’t miss this new exhibition at The Engine House, Highley. Funded and developed by the SVR Charitable Trust, it charts the history and development of the line, starting with the growing need for transport during the Industrial Revolution.  

The exhibition includes many fascinating archive photographs and articles recovered from the British Newspaper Archive. It’s the first exhibition at the Railway that’s covered the pre-preservation history of the SVR, and it heralds an innovative programme of new interpretation that’s planned over the coming year, including a major new Engine House exhibition in 2020 as part of the Falling Sands restoration project.

March 2019

SVR clinches £853k of National Lottery funding for Falling Sands Viaduct

We’re celebrating after winning a £853,800 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. We will use the grant, along with other funds raised, to restore Falling Sands Viaduct in Kidderminster, and to launch an exciting programme of community engagement and exhibitions that will explore the Railway’s early history. 

News of The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant comes very soon after we announced we’d raised £397,000 in donations from thousands of individuals, community organisations, charitable trusts and foundations, and businesses. It means the Railway can now go ahead with essential repairs to the 142-year-old viaduct, as our director Shelagh Paterson explains: 

“Our iconic structure has suffered badly over the years, with water seeping deep inside, causing cracks and erosion to the brickwork. Now, thanks to the support of National Lottery players, and our many generous donors, we can get it back into shape. When the work is completed, we’ll be able to lift the current speed restriction on our heritage trains, and look forward to at least another century of service from the viaduct. Restoring Falling Sands Viaduct will help safeguard the SVR’s future.” 

As well as ensuring the long-term viability of the viaduct itself, the project will engage a wider audience for the Railway, encouraging an appreciation and understanding of local heritage and the fascinating world of structural engineering, as volunteer Chris Haynes explains:

“I’ve been involved in a small team researching the history of the line for the Falling Sands project, and we’ve uncovered all sorts of interesting information. We discovered that some of the foremost railway engineers of the day were involved in the design of the loop line from Bewdley to Kidderminster, including Falling Sands Viaduct.

“The loop line’s construction took so long to complete that many of the key people had died before it opened. We’ll be bringing all these stories to life so that our visitors get a real sense of what life was like for the Victorians who built the line, and for those who used it in the following decades.”

Vanessa Harbar, head of The National Lottery Heritage Fund West Midlands said:

“We’re delighted to support Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust to preserve Falling Sands Viaduct and to celebrate its heritage. Thanks to National Lottery players, people in the West Midlands will explore an important part of their local history.”

Falling Sands Viaduct stands half a mile from Kidderminster station, and is located close to the recently built Hoobrook Link Road and the Silverwoods residential and business development. Its impressive seven arches allow heritage trains to cross 64 feet above the river Stour and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal conservation area. More than two thirds of our annual 250,000 annual visitors begin their journey in Kidderminster, and the viaduct is an essential link between the town and the rest of the 16-mile line. Repair work will commence early next January, and will be fully completed by the autumn.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded us a development grant of £71,800 in 2017 for the Falling Sands project. The latest award takes the total amount of its funding to £925,600.

March 2019

There’s no slacking on the Kidderminster turntable! 

Here’s 9581 being turned round before being sent back to Bewdley to continue its restoration. The turnaround took place so that the LNER Coach Group can get access to the ‘other’ side to fit new body framework on the second side, having already completed the first. It was simpler to turn the coach rather than dismantle their working platform for repositioning. Much more fun too! This project to create a wheelchair-accessible buffet car for the GW2 set is being funded by the SVR Charitable Trust, and needs your help. Please donate at

Thanks to Peter Broxholme for sending us this video.

March 2019

Apprentice George is in the heritage press

The Railway Magazine is running a series of features about the SVR’s apprentices and its February edition features George Brogan. George is in the final year of his apprenticeship and is based at Kidderminster carriage & wagon. In the article, he describes his involvement with the ambitious project to restore and convert the Charitable Trust-owned British Railways Mark 1 carriage 80776 into the Railway’s first ever dining car, able to accommodate wheelchair users.

The magazine’s publishers, Mortons, are sponsoring apprentice training at the SVR, in partnership with the Charitable Trust. Support SVR apprentices.  

February 2019

Update on the Falling Sands Viaduct Appeal

The response to our ‘helping hands for #FallingSands’ donation wall has been phenomenal! The demand was so strong that we extended the sign up opportunity until 14th February. We don’t want to rush the next important stage of checking the thousands and thousands of names, and working with designers to create the wall, so please bear with us. Watch this space for more news about an opening date later this year.

February 2019

Ryan is in The Railway Magazine

Ryan Parsons of the boiler shop at Bridgnorth becomes the latest SVR ambassador to feature in January’s edition of The Railway Magazine. He talks about his work on BR Riddles 4MT 75069, and explains why the loco holds a special place in his heart. As a recent graduate of our pioneering Heritage Skills Training Academy, and appointed to the role of improver boiler smith, Ryan is another strong example of the SVR’s determination to bring new blood into heritage engineering. 

The Academy receives the majority of its funding from the SVR Charitable Trust, including sponsorship from Mortons, the publishers of The Railway Magazine. Would you consider making a regular donation to fund our future heritage engineers? 

The Railway Magazine is available at all good newsagents, or subscribe at The Railway Magazine

January 2019

Investing in the SVR’s future

One of the important jobs we undertake at the Charitable Trust is putting in applications on behalf of the Railway to various grant-making bodies. And we’re delighted to announce a further successful bid. The Ernest Cook Trust have awarded us a substantial contribution towards the Heritage Skills Training Academy, the SVR’s pioneering scheme to train apprentice heritage engineers. In this way, we’re future-proofing the skills we need to restore and maintain our rolling stock. Will you donate to apprentice training at the SVR?

January 2019


What’s the latest on 4390 Hagley Hall?

We’re delighted to report good progress on the restoration of the SVR’s flagship locomotive both in-house at Bridgnorth, and at Northern Steam Engineering in Stockton. 

Volunteers and paid staff at Bridgnorth have been busy cleaning, examining, painting and refitting various parts. On the loco’s mainframe, they’ve refitted the spring hangers with new pins, and replaced and repainted numerous rivets. After cleaning and examination, the bogie frame is now freshly repainted, and looking very shiny! Meanwhile on the tender frame, they’ve refitted all the hornblocks, replaced time-expired rivets, and refitted the trailing spring hangers. 

Meanwhile, at Northern Steam, work has started on reassembling the boiler, and new plate work is being prepared for welding. Some cracking has been identified in some of the remaining original plate work, and this is being investigated to determine the appropriate remediation. 

The SVR Charitable Trust was awarded £95,000 from the @heritagelotteryfund towards the restoration of Hagley Hall. We still need to raise more funds to get this important engine back into steam and you can donate now to add your support.

Photos by Martin White and Bob Sweet

 January 2019