Great Western (SVR) Association
In summer 1968 the opportunity arose to acquire seven redundant coaches from Didcot, including two GWRGreat Western Railway HawksworthFrederick Hawksworth, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1941-1948 Full Thirds and five LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway coaches. The Severn Valley Railway Society was still in the process of raising the money to acquire the line itself, so funds to acquire rolling stock needed to come from individuals and groups. Members of the C&WCarriage & Wagon Department, which had just been established in the newly leased Bewdley Goods Shed, hastily formed the HawksworthFrederick Hawksworth, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1941-1948 Coach Fund and succeeded in acquiring GWR 829 Full Third, with the other HawksworthFrederick Hawksworth, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1941-1948, GWR 2119 Full Third, being acquired by an individual member.
Although this first purchase was successful, it was clear that pre-nationalisation stock was being withdrawn at an 'alarming rate' and that fundraising at short notice was not easy. The HawksworthFrederick Hawksworth, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1941-1948 Coach Fund members therefore decided to form a more permanent fund, adopting the new name of Great Western Rolling Stock Fund (also referred to as the 'GWRGreat Western Railway Coach Fund'). At that time there were fewer than ten members and only a very informal structure with no officers or meeting minutes. The Fund continued to accumulate pre-nationalisation carriages, including part of the Swindon test train in 1969, the last opportunity to acquire complete GWRGreat Western Railway passenger coaches in good condition.
In 1972 a separate group, the Great Western Locomotive and Carriage Society, was formed with the intention of saving a locomotive, Collett Mogul 9303/7325, from Barry Scrapyard. The two groups shared common aims and members, and in 1973 merged to form the Great Western (SVRSevern Valley Railway) Association, the somewhat convoluted title being chosen to avoid any confusion with the Didcot-based Great Western Society. The first Annual General Meeting of the new Association was held on 18 May 1974.
The Association's 25th Anniversary was noted in SVRSevern Valley Railway News in 1998. The Constitution which governs the Association’s status as a registered charity was adopted on 24 October 1998.
It ran a special train on 12 May 2019 to celebrate “the 50th Anniversary of the Association on the Severn Valley Railway”. This anniversary relates to the 1968 origins rather than the Association’s formation in 1973.
Membership and fund raising
The Association is a membership body, by payment of a subscription. An illustrated members' Newsletter is nominally published twice yearly.
In 2019, for the Association’s 50th year, it launched a fund to return Mogul 7325 to the CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941 GWRGreat Western Railway condition of 9303.
Acquisitions and disposals
The MogulLocomotive with a 2-6-0 wheel configuration was purchased in 1974 and moved to the SVRSevern Valley Railway in 1975; it is still owned by the Association.
Acquisition of further redundant ex DepartmentalRolling stock used for the railway’s own functions (engineering etc.) rather than for general passenger or goods traffic. Stock continued in the 1970s. By mid-1998 the Association owned 14 carriages and ‘brown vehicles’. Since that time:
- Collett bow-ended Corridor Third 4546 which had been used as a dormitory coach left circa 1999.
- A further 5 carriages in private ownership on the SVRSevern Valley Railway were taken over by the Association.
- 2426 was acquired from SVR(H).
- 5043 (now 9581) was acquired from The 2857 Society in 2014
- In 2017 the Association agreed to transfer 5043 to SVR(H) in exchange for GWR 4786 Full Third.
- In 2019 the Association acquired GWR 2242 Corridor Brake Third.
As of 2022[update] the Association owns 21 carriages (three of which are owned by Association members), one Siphon G Milk Van, and a Macaw B Bogie Bolster.. A full list of SVRSevern Valley Railway-based rolling stock owned by the Association may be found here.
Most recent restorations
- The Association's restoration of GWR 9103 Nondescript Saloon was the overall Winner in the Heritage Railway Association's Carriage and Wagon Competition for 2015.
- Art Deco Brake 3rd 650 entered service in November 2015
- Bow-end Composite 6045 whose restoration was completed in April 2020.
Yet to be returned to working order
Only three carriages have yet to be returned to working order. As of 2022[update] work on 2426 and 4786 is in progress at Bewdley Down Yard, while repairs to HawksworthFrederick Hawksworth, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1941-1948 Brake Third 2242 have been paused waiting the work on the roof and space in Bewdley Yard for work to continue on the interior.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 157
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 25
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 128, "The Great Western (SVRSevern Valley Railway) Association celebrates 25 years"
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 34
- Charities Commission website
- Leaflet circulated to members, January 2019
- GW(SVR)A website ‘How to help’ (retrieved 8 February 2017)
- Full list of shareholders at 24 June 2016
- SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book Ninth Edition
- Stock list on the GW(SVR)A web site (retrieved January 2020)
- GW(SVR)A website (retrieved 6 January 2017)
- GW(SVRSevern Valley Railway)A booklet (since publication 6045 has been completed and 2242 acquired)
- GWR(SVRA) October 2022 news update (Retrieved 14 October 2022)