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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.