Severn Valley Railway News

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Severn Valley Railway News

Severn Valley Railway News ("SVRSevern Valley Railway News") is the quarterly magazine of the Severn Valley Railway Company Limited provided free to its members, and on sale for £3 as of 2020 at SVR shops. The first edition was published in November 1965, three months after the meeting at the Cooper’s Arms which resulted in the formation of the Severn Valley Railway Society.

Format, publication and distribution

The earliest editions of SVRSevern Valley Railway News served the purpose of publicising the Severn Valley Railway Society.[1] The first issue took the form of type-written foolscap sheets with some hand-drawn and photographic illustrations included. It was produced on a hand-operated duplicator at John Garth’s factory in Lye.[2] Issue 2 (February 1966) was produced in the same manner but with the pages folded in half to produce a booklet.

Issue 3 (July 1966) under the new editorship of David Williams reverted to the unfolded page layout. At the time the Society membership had reached 300 and David's brief from Secretary Bert Cleaver was to produce four magazines and eight other newsletters per year (the latter were discontinued five years later after 37 issues in December '71).[2] Further issues of SVRSevern Valley Railway News were produced in the same format every 3 to 5 months ending with issue 10 in October 1968.[1]

By the end of 1968 membership had risen to around 3,000 and hand duplication was becoming unworkable. Issue 11 (January 1969) was the first to be commercially printed and bound in the A5 booklet format which is still used today.[2] It consisted of 24 pages including the outside covers[note 1] and was wholly in black and white. Issue 14 (Autumn 1969) was the last published by the Society with issue 15 (Winter 1969-70) the first published by the Guarantee Company. Simple colour bands appeared on the front cover from issue 26 (Winter 1972-73), while a one-off colour photograph was used on the cover of issue 28 (Summer 1973). Colour photos on the cover became a regular feature from issue 34 (Winter 1974-75), although they did not appear in the magazine itself until the centrefold of issue 110 (Spring 1994). Other colour photos began to appear increasingly from issue 115 (Summer 1995), although contemporary black and white photos were still in use as late as SVRSevern Valley Railway News 160 (Winter 2007-08). Since that time pictures have been wholly colour apart from historical photographs.

The number of pages also increased over time, while varying from issue to issue depending on the amount of content available. By the end of the 1970s issues were typically 48 pages, rising to 60 pages by the end of the 1980s. The late 1990s and early 2000s saw typical issues of 76 pages, with the greatest number of pages being 88 in issues 128 (Autumn 1998), 136 (Summer 2001) and 137 (Autumn 2001). After that time the number of pages began to decrease, partly to save postage costs. Since mid-2015 the 'standard' has been 64 pages with occasional issues of 72 pages.

Issue 209 (Spring 2020) was for the first time wrapped in an environmentally-friendly potato starch envelope. Some other material may also be distributed with the magazine such as the Guarantee Company accounts and AGM paperwork or appeals leaflets. Issue 210 (Summer 2020) included The Way Ahead, a COVID-19 themed supplement.

As of 2020 the SVRSevern Valley Railway has approximately 12,500 members. 10,000 copies of each edition of SVRSevern Valley Railway News are produced with approximately 9,400 being sent to members (joint members receive one copy)[3].

Typical contents

  • Details of the Officers of the current SVR organisations and departmental structures
  • An editorial and summary of the content
  • Diary of events
  • General Manager's Notes
  • Notes from various railway departments
  • News items
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Obituaries
  • Branch meetings
  • Small ads

Although SVRSevern Valley Railway News is a magazine of the Guarantee Company, it covers the Railway as a whole and frequently includes material relating to the other SVR companies and preservation groups.


  • The first 2 issues were produced by Paul Wyers.
  • David Williams took over as editor for issue 3 in July 1966, and remarkably is still the editor as of the latest issue having held the role for over 50 years.

Back copies

Many of the fundraising shops on the SVRSevern Valley Railway have old editions of SVRSevern Valley Railway News for sale, although the first ten editions are very rarely found due to the manner in which they were produced.

See also


  1. Since mid-2015 the front and rear covers have been included in the page numbering, thus the first inside pages of a 64 page issue will have the list of officials on page 2 and the contents and editorial beginning on page 3, with the back cover being page 64. Before that time page numbering excluded the covers, with the contents and editorial being on page 1. All numbers of pages quoted are consistent with the present method.


  1. 1.01.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 50, David Williams, Fifty Not Out
  2. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 40, David Williams, Ten years of editing
  3. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 212, Winter 2020, General Information


SVR S&T website with a library of S&TSignals & Telegraph notes from edition 151 onwards