High speed testing
As with other heritage railways, the SVRSevern Valley Railway operates normal services at a maximum speed of 25 mph under its Light Railway Order and Safety case. The SVRSevern Valley Railway and Great Central Railway have permission to operate non-passenger carrying trains at higher speeds under certain controlled conditions.
Class 175 'Coradia 1000' diesel multiple units 1999-2000
From 1 August 1999 the speed limit was increased to 50 mph to allow commissioning of Alstom's new Birmingham-built units, owned by Angel Trains and destined for First North Western. A special temporary shed with a pit road was built for the purpose outside the Carriage Repair Works at Kidderminster. Prominent notices were in place on rights of way by the previous April to warn the public of the increased speeds.
Three-car unit 175 101 arrived in August 1999, fitted with test instrumentation, and clocked up a few thousand miles of test running. Two-car 175 001 was fully fitted-out. It moved from the SVRSevern Valley Railway to Chester depot behind 47 775 on 10 January 2000.
Testing took place after services had finished and no other trains were in service, with assessed SVRSevern Valley Railway crew driving and guarding under appropriate supervision[note 1].
High speed testing between Bewdley and Kidderminster
In more recent years testing is restricted to the section between Bewdley and Kidderminster. The railway's policy during high speed testing periods mandates there is no lineside access and restrictions are published in the Traffic Notices, on SVRLive and the SVROnline intranet. Examples of high speed testing include the following (incomplete list):
- 2012: Newly overhauled Metropolitan Railway E Class 0-4-4T No. 1 underwent running in trials between 28 and 30 November 2012 in preparation for the 150th Anniversary of the Metropolitan Railway in 2013. Test runs using three Mark 1 carriages were completed at 25mph, 30mph, 40mph and finally 50mph.
- 2015: LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway StanierWilliam Stanier, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway 1932-1944 Royal Scot 7PThe British Railways system of classifying steam locomotives by power using a number from 0, least powerful, to 9, most powerful, followed by either F for freight, P for Passenger or MT for Mixed Traffic. Class 4-6-0 46100 Royal Scot undertook running in after overhaul from 9 September 2015.
- 2016: Recently converted locomotives 73951 and 73952 ran test trains in July 2016 between 1900-2300, after the end of daily services.
- 2021: Between 16 June and 3 July the SVRSevern Valley Railway hosted a test contract for Bayer Environmental Science's Smart Weed System Train with GBRfGB Railfreight, a main line rail freight operating company. 66709 ‘Sorrento’ and 66771 ‘Amanda’. Testing took place at 35 mph at Bewdley and mainly used a 200 metre site near Bewdley South DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Distant Signal.
- A thread on the private (members only) Unofficial Facebook Group in January 2023 with contributions from those involved relates that SVRSevern Valley Railway crew including Alun Rees, Nigel Hanson and Ray Trantor passed out as drivers, and SVRSevern Valley Railway crew acted as conductors. It also refers to a BBC Look North West programme of 30 November 1999 about the 175s being introduced in that area
- Train testing.com (Retrieved 20 April 2018)
- Class 175 Chronicles (Retrieved 20 April 2018)
- Buckinghamshire Railway Centre stockbook (Retrieved 20 April 2018)
- SVR Forum
- SVR Forum