Severn Valley Railway Company Limited
Severn Valley Railway Company Limited is a Company Limited by Guarantee (for which reason it is normally referred to on the SVRSevern Valley Railway as "the Guarantee Company").
Attempts to preserve the Severn Valley Railway began in 1965 with The Severn Valley Railway Society (SVRSSevern Valley Railway Society). However for legal reasons it was necessary for a Company, rather than a Society, to acquire and operate the railway. The Guarantee Company was therefore formed in May 1967 to negotiate the purchase of the line between Bridgnorth and Alveley Sidings, and to obtain the Light Railway Order (LROLight Railway Order) to operate the first section of line between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade.
From 1967 to 1969 the Guarantee Company worked towards this end, while the SVRSSevern Valley Railway Society remained the ‘public face’ of the SVRSevern Valley Railway. By late 1979, with the legal process coming towards a conclusion, the membership agreed that the Guarantee Company was now the organisation with which to go forward, so the SVRSSevern Valley Railway Society was merged into the Guarantee Company on 6th December that year.
The SVRSevern Valley Railway, operated by the Guarantee Company, began services in May 1970. However the next stages of development, including purchase of the southern end of the line to Foley Park and ultimately Kidderminster, required substantial investment. A Public Company with a Share Capital was considered a more suitable vehicle for this, leading to the formation of Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) Ltd. ("SVRSevern Valley Railway(H)") in March 1972.
When SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) was formed, it was envisaged that the Guarantee Company would no longer be required, leading to the creation of another organisation, the Severn Valley Railway Association (SVRASevern Valley Railway Association). However it transpired that the existing LROLight Railway Order could not be transferred to SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) at that time, so the Guarantee Company remained in existence. The activities of the SVRASevern Valley Railway Association were eventually merged into the Guarantee Company from October 2015.
In due course SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) assumed responsibility for the ownership of the infrastructure and operation of the SVRSevern Valley Railway.
Although it no longer owns the line, the Guarantee Company is still an active part of the Severn Valley Railway. It remains as the SVRSevern Valley Railway’s membership arm and provides volunteer staff to operate the railway (all volunteers must be members). The SVRSevern Valley Railway has around 13,000 members and membership is by subscription. Members receive preferential rates of travel.
At 31 December 2018 the Guarantee Company maintained a shareholding of 1,807,679 shares, approximately 17.83% of the issued share capital of SVRSevern Valley Railway(H). It nominates three directors to the SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) board.
It also publishes Severn Valley Railway News, a quarterly magazine, free to members.
- Companies House, 2018 Report and Accounts (Retrieved 16 July 2020)