Preserving our heritage for
future generations


A facelift for a sleeper car

Volunteers have recently finished painting one side of this Charitable Trust-owned coach No 9084 which ‘lives’ at Kidderminster. It’s used as sleeping accommodation for our wonderful volunteers who come to work at the Railway from often considerable distances. Soon, the coach will be turned so that they can paint the other side. Please donate to help fund more restoration projects at…

Thanks to Ronan O’Brien for the photograph

August 2019

New equipment in the Diesel Depot

Donations to the SVR Charitable Trust have enabled the funding of a raft of new equipment for the Diesel Depot. As diesel volunteer Roland Bull explains, it’s mostly aimed at making the work there safer and more efficient:

“There’s an auto hook that we can use to lift and move the huge jacks inside the Depot. Previously, this would have been a two-person job, with one person climbing up and down ladders to fix the hook to the jack. Now it can all be done by one person, without the need to leave ground level.

“There’s also a pipe threading machine and completely new LED lighting to illuminate the entrance and side of the building. The new equipment is worth around £15,000 and we are very grateful for the support of the Charitable Trust.”

Please donate to enable further support for the Diesel Depot.

July 2019

Interpretation volunteers needed!

We may have a few months yet until the hands-on restoration of Falling Sands Viaduct begins, but we've already started the educational and outreach work that forms an important part of this project – recently we hosted a class of nine-years-old from Sutton Park Community Primary School, Kidderminster who visited the Viaduct as part of an art project.

Also, two new staff members have joined us to assist with the delivery of the project, both funded by the National Lottery. Frankie Spickernell (left) will be managing the project and acting as the liaison between the Railway and The National Lottery Heritage Fund to ensure that we’re meeting the terms of our grant. Laura Hines (right) has just started with us as our activity and interpretation manager. 

She will be helping to deliver the educational and community outreach work that runs alongside the restoration works, and which will include the Stove R, our travelling exhibition space.

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer with the project, please contact Or pop into the Charitable Trust offices. Look out for further updates very soon.


Falling Sands – all systems go!

We have received official ‘Permission to Start’ from The National Lottery Heritage Fund on the project to restore Falling Sands Viaduct, and the associated educational and outreach activities. Our director of development Shelagh Paterson explains more:

“On receipt of our grant we still had some important information to gather and submit to the Heritage Fund before we could get started, but now it really is ‘all systems go’! Thank you so much to everyone who has helped us get to this point.

“Phase one of the project will tackle the drainage on the viaduct and we are currently in the process of confirming the contractor. The contract will commence in early January 2020, then in the spring we’ll begin phase two – the restoration of the brickwork."

Progress on 9581

Some very positive news is in from the LNER Coach Group, currently restoring GWR buffet car 9581, and adapting it for wheelchair accessibility.

The wall frame structure is now secure, and the volunteers are moving on to restore the roof, as Richard Hill explains:

“Fortunately much of the existing roof is restorable. But access to it needs to be via secure scaffolding around the coach. Space is at a premium in a crowded Bewdley Station Yard, and one of the obstacles has been the position of the skip where engine firebox ashes are stored, awaiting disposal. This skip is normally resident alongside our project coach. Luckily, an alternative location has been found to allow us access for erecting the scaffolding.

“There is a tight window for doing the roof repairs and making GWR 9581 watertight. This is because the area concerned needs to be clear of the scaffolding in time for the Bewdley Station Bus Gala on 1st September. If nothing else, that’s a considerable incentive to get on with the roof work ASAP!”

All eight of the coach’s passenger access doors are now fully sponsored, thanks to a recent generous donation. The doors have been beautifully made by specialist contractor, Jonathan Harrison, and are in process of being fitted to the coach. There are still the two end-corridor doors available for sponsorship at £750 each. May we tempt you?

The chance to sponsor an inch (or half-inch) of GWR 9581’s 700 inches body length, is proving popular, and is a very useful way of helping with the many materials needed for the work but which cannot readily be identified to a specific visible part of the coach. Around £4,500 has been raised in this way – plus a further £1,160 in added Gift Aid.

Another sponsorship opportunity is the remaining 13 roof vents at £150. These have been designed to give 9581 an authentic Great Western appearance. 

You’ll find a downloadable donation form at: or you can donate online.

July 2019

Toad 17410 now out of its hole

Many generous donations have allowed the SVR Charitable Trust's GWR 'Toad' brake van No17410 to be fully restored to its 'as built' condition. This £20,000 project was mainly achieved by the Trust’s LNER Carriage Group volunteers at Bewdley, who were briefly at ‘a loose end’, having completed their restoration of Brake Third No 24506 for the Railway’s LNER Gresley teak set. Volunteer Richard Hill explains more:

“Our group took pity on this very run-down Great Western Toad brake van, which was languishing in the open at Bewdley. It was becoming increasingly dilapidated after giving years of sterling service, mainly on SVR permanent way trains. The van was still owned by a number of individuals, and those that could be traced readily agreed to assured the Toad’s long term future by transferring it to the SVR Charitable Trust’s ownership. After extensive repairs and renewals by Bewdley’s LNER group and a visit to Bristol HST depot for wheel turning, the final restoration touches and the mechanical overhaul were completed by Kidderminster Carriage & Wagon staff.”

The first public duty of ‘Toad’ 17410 was to act as the guard’s brake van for the special centenary train run with GWR 2-8-0 goods loco No 2857 on 2nd June 2018.     

We are sincerely grateful to all those involved both in the transfer of 17410 into the Charitable Trust’s ownership and in the Toad’s extensive and thorough restoration. Their hard work and funding efforts will be widely appreciated by all who can now enjoy seeing and experiencing the Toad working at SVR galas and other special events. The popularity of this van is such that Kidderminster Carriage & Wagon Department have ‘adopted’ GWR Toad 17410 as their ‘mascot’ vehicle for the guard’s accommodation on trains testing vehicles under overhaul. It is good to know that Toad 17410 now has a useful and secure SVR future. 

Photo credit: LNERCG

June 2019

Tap to Give™ at Kidderminster station

At Kidderminster station, it’s now amazingly easy to donate to the Charitable Trust and help get 4930 Hagley Hall back in steam – all you need is a contactless credit or debit card. Just Tap to Give™ £3 (or more if you choose) on the concourse, just before the doors into the ticket office. As they say, every little helps! We’re trialling Tap to Give™ at Kidderminster this year, and if it proves popular, we’ll roll it out to other parts of the SVR.

June 2019

Happy 90th Birthday ‘Hagley Hall’!

As 4930 turns 90 this month, there are many different tasks underway to bring it back into steam at the SVR. A return to traffic during 2020 remains the target and work is progressing well, as Bob Sweet from the Friends of Locomotive 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ group reports: 

“Machining of the two halves of the cylinder block at Harco Engineering, Brierley Hill, has now been successfully completed, and attention has now turned to machining the castings for the valve liners. Work on the boiler at Northern Steam Engineering is also reported to be progressing very favourably. 

“At Bridgnorth Works, delivery of a new vacuum reservoir for the tender has taken place. No time has been wasted in applying a protective coat of black paint. Fitted bolts and studs for holding the cylinder block and bogie pivot in position have now been manufactured in quantity.

​“Volunteers Alan Pincher, John Ordidge and colleagues are busily engaged in fabricating new cabsides for 4930, using the original panels as patterns. They have also manufactured a new reversing box, reformed and replaced wasted metalwork, restored and replaced some of the locomotive splashers, and refurbished cabside handrails. Work has also been under way in recent weeks to replace pipework and other components on the underside of the tender. “

As is often the case with heritage restoration, 'Hagley Hall's costs have increased significantly from first estimates, and the final bill will be around £1,000,000. Please donate to get 4930 back into steam. 

June 2019

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