Severn Valley Railway Timeline 2020-2029

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Significant events in the history of the Severn Valley Railway in preservation between 2020 and the present date are set out below.

Information on current events on the SVRSevern Valley Railway can be found here.


2020 saw the 50th anniversary of the official opening of the SVRSevern Valley Railway. A ‘must-do’ engineering project was starting, an overhaul of Falling Sands Viaduct, with trains restricted to the Bridgnorth to Bewdley section from 30 December 2019.

January 2020

  • Winter works included track relaying to effectively join up the two previous relayings between Bewdley Tunnel and Falling Sands Viaduct. The opportunity was taken to install a new point at Foley Park as part of a long term plan to develop the area.
  • 3 January was the 50th anniversary of the final regular timetabled BRBritish Rail or British Railways passenger services between Bewdley and Hartlebury and Kidderminster.
  • A new buffet building was installed at Bewdley.
  • New cylinder patterns were produced for 7802 Bradley Manor.
  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway announced a new Loyalty Pass to replace the Annual Family Pass, now available to individuals, couples, less-able visitors or families.

February 2020

  • The Footbridge outside Bridgnorth Station was closed for repairs to the damaged holding down bolts discovered in 2018.
  • Storm Dennis, with heavy rain falling on already saturated ground, contributed to record highs on the River Severn and consequent widespread flooding. Access to the SVRSevern Valley Railway was disrupted during half-term running from 15 to 23 February, with lower than usual passenger numbers. Flooding caused land movements at Sterns and Alveley Woods.
  • On 25 February PPM50 Parry People Mover Class 999 No. 999900 visited for testing. It was previously tested in 2002 and has since been renumbered 139000 and most recently 139012[1].

March 2020

  • Specialist contractors removed asbestos from around the cylinder block of GWR Large Prairie 4150.[2]
  • A new pair of cylinder blocks for GWR 7802 Bradley Manor were poured, believed to be the first 7800 class cylinder blocks to be cast for 70 years.[3]
  • Brush Class 47 Co-Co 47773 [D1755] arrived at the SVRSevern Valley Railway from Tyseley for contract bodywork repairs in the Diesel Depot.
  • A severe acute respiratory syndrome, coronavirus disease (COVID-19), was declared a pandemic. It caused widespread disruption and international travel restrictions. On 18 March the SVRSevern Valley Railway cancelled all services and closed The Engine House and refreshment rooms throughout March and April. It cancelled the following events: Easter Holidays, Spring Steam Gala, Open House Weekend, Spring Diesel Festival and 50th Anniversary Event. On 20 March it announced it would close the Railway's two pubs in line with a measure announced by the Government that day, and the shops followed on 24 March.
  • The combination of February's flooding, the continuing planned work at Falling Sands, coronavirus and land movements meant the SVRSevern Valley Railway was faced with a serious financial challenge. On 20 March the Railway launched an Emergency Appeal for £250,000 to help the SVRSevern Valley Railway through the emergency, which raised £50,000 in the first four days.

April 2020

May 2020

  • Kidderminster station was lit to honour the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On 15 May the second Isle of Man boiler built at Bridgnorth was despatched following completion and testing.
  • Phase 2 of the Falling Sands Viaduct work commenced on 18 May while the railway was closed to other traffic, involving replacing damaged brickwork and corbelling, and repointing throughout.
On 28 May 47593 and 47805 delivered nine HST trailers to Kidderminster from Crewe for storage, and moved one stored sleeper out.

June 2020

  • By 1 June the Fight Back Fund reached £745,000.
  • The Railway was granted by HSBC a £1.5 million loan under the CBILSCoronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, a government backed loan scheme scheme, which alongside its existing overdraft facility would mean £3 million available. The SVRSevern Valley Railway Charitable Trust applied for a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to support the reopening of the Railway.
  • The Railway detailed remedial work planned for landslips at Sterns (water managenent and drainage) and Alveley woods (drainage scheme, soil nailing and partial replacement of the existing ash embankment material).[5]
  • On 26 June 33108 took a train of 19 coaches as part of a stock move from Bewdley to Kidderminster, for maintenance and turning and reforming to prepare the sets as all compartment rakes for August reopening. The line had been breached for nearly six months.

July 2020

  • 26 July saw the final testing and commissioning of the new S&TSignals & Telegraph equipment between Kidderminster and Bewdley, including the new ground frame at Foley Park.[6]
  • The long running project to replace the lighting at Bridgnorth progressed with the erection of four of lamp standards along the embankment side of the car park[6].

August 2020

  • On Saturday 1 August passenger services restarted as planned, with the day being a sell-out.
  • The Stanier 8F Locomotive Society announced it had raised £60,000 towards the costs of the next overhaul, against a stretching target of £250,000.[6]
  • On 2 August arsonists attacked and badly damaged Country Park Halt‎,.[8]
  • By 6 August the Fight Back Fund reached £900,000.
  • From 13 August locos in service 2857, 7714 and 75069 carried wreaths in memory and support of those who were involved in the previous day's collision at Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.[9]
  • Access to the large bracket outside of Bewdley South signal box was prohibited due to rot, with a temporary replacement prepared.[10]
  • During a test run on 24th August with 1501, a crack was discovered in the right hand return crank. Luckily no further damage was caused.[9]
  • Restoration work to repair the brickwork at Falling Sands Viaduct restarted after the discovery of bats[9].

September 2020

  • On 1 September the PPM50 Parry People Mover (see February) departed on a low loader.
  • On 4 September the first advertised passenger diesel trains of the decade ran.
  • On 23 September the film Enola Holmes, filmed partly on the SVRSevern Valley Railway the previous year, was released
  • Wyre Forest District Council awarded the Railway £50,000 under its discretionary business grant scheme for COVID-19 relief.[11]
  • Bewdley station hosted a VIP delegation that included the Mayor of Bewdley and the High Sheriff of Worcestershire to show support and appreciation for the efforts made following the February floods and the coronavirus pandemic[11].

October 2020

  • On 1 October Bewdley South wooden bracket signal was taken down due to rot in the post. A temporary replacement was installed.[11]
  • On 7 October SRSouthern Railway BulleidOliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Southern Railway 1937-1948 West Country class PacificLocomotive with a 4-6-2 wheel configuration 34046 Braunton arrived with the Saphos Trains 'Severn Valley Enterprise' railtour. The locomotive was declared a failure on arrival at Kidderminster due to a hot box on a driving wheel axle, and remained at Bridgnorth MPDMotive Power Depot for some days after moving there light engine. 34027 Taw Valley hauled the tour from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth and back to Bewdley, from where Class 47 47805 made the return trip to Crewe.
  • On 9 October the SVRSevern Valley Railway was awarded a £906,000 grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.[12] Nigel Huddlestone MP, The Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage visited the SVRSevern Valley Railway.
  • More than a mile of track that was removed as part of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension was donated to the SVRSevern Valley Railway by Transport for West Midlands and the Midland Metro Alliance.

November 2020

December 2020

  • Christmas services ran to Arley for the Railway’s first-ever Christmas show, Jingle, Jangle and the Christmas Cookbook.[13]
  • On 5 December a power-twin set of vehicles 50933 and 52064 became the first DMU to operate for two years following bogie repairs, when it operated the Christmas staff train.[13]
  • On 9 December a special autotrain ran with 1450 and GWR 178 Autotrailer Third for several trips between Bridgnorth and Highley for the owner to mark the end of the locomotive's boiler ticket.[13]
  • The civil engineering work on Falling Sands Viaduct was completed in mid-December with the final piece of corbelling being slotted into place.[14]
  • On 17 December 4930 Hagley Hall’s boiler arrived back from Northern Steam Engineering following its extensive overhaul.
  • On 29 December snowfall resulted in the day's services bring cancelled.
  • On 31 December COVID-19 restrictions resulted in services being suspended for the third time.


2021 started in a third English national lockdown for the COVD-19 pandemic. All non-essential voluntary work was prohibited and vulnerable staff and volunteers required to 'shield', by staying at home. Vaccines were being rolled out to the population, with the most vulnerable (elderly and front line workers) being given priority. Many SVRSevern Valley Railway staff were furloughed. SVRSevern Valley Railway public trains had been cancelled and The Engine House, the pubs, refreshment rooms and shops closed, with services hoped to recommence in April 2021.

January 2021

  • A reduced programme of winter works commenced consolidating works undertaken in 2020, with major works deferred.[14]
  • On 14 January John Hill died. He had the honour of driving the first passenger train out of Bridgnorth in 1967.

February 2021

  • On 11 February, during the third COVID-19 lockdown, a particularly egregious act of trespass occurred and was reported in the media. Two trespassers were disturbed by an engineers' train on Victoria Bridge, with abseiling equipment. The police were informed.[15]
  • On 15 February locomotive 66702 hauled newly converted 69001 from Longport (Stoke) to Kidderminster, for the delayed commencement of a testing contract.
  • New build 2999 Lady of Legend, GWRGreat Western Railway ChurchwardGeorge Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1902-1922 2900 Saint class 4-6-0, was announced for the 2021 Spring Steam UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) event which replaced the Spring Steam Gala. It had been announced for the 2020 event, cancelled due to COVID-19.

March 2021

  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway announced an end to lineside passes and privately-run photo charters as income received is insignificant when compared to the potential risk these activities naturally contain.[16]
  • Thieves on 29 and 30 March stole 23 metal signs from Arley.
  • On 30 March GWR Large Prairie 4150 was shunted out of Bewdley Down Yard after more than 43 years there, in preparation for a move to Bridgnorth Loco Works for restoration to be completed. The move followed the following month.

April 2021

May 2021

  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway Charitable Trust’s £425,000 'Home & Dry Appeal' launched to raise funds to make Bridgnorth Loco Works a safer, drier, and more efficient place to work.[17]

June 2021

  • On 5 June the first charter visited the SVRSevern Valley Railway since England entered its second lockdown, with a private GBRfGB Railfreight, a main line rail freight operating company. charter utilising the high profile VSOEVenice Simplon Orient Express Pullman[18].
  • Between 16 June and 3 July the SVRSevern Valley Railway hosted a new weedkilling train undergoing high speed testing between Kidderminster and Bewdley.
  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway applied for Listed building alterations in association with the conservation, renovation and reodering of Bridgnorth station, including reconstruction of the former parcels office and change of use to a shop.[19]

July 2021

August 2021

  • On 1 August friends and family gathered at Kidderminster Railway Museum to celebrate the life of John Hill.[19]
  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway Charitable Trust’s 'Home & Dry Appeal' reached £330,000 against a revised target of £475,000, because of the spiralling cost of steel and additional improvements needed inside Bridgnorth Loco Works.[19]
  • It was announced that the 2021 Christmas services would include the 'Enchanted Express', based around the classic poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, narrated by actress Dame Julie Walters.[19]
  • On 4 August GWR 1450 was moved by low loader to the Flour Mill locomotive repair workshop in Bream, Gloucestershire, where the owner Pull Push Limited had arranged for its overhaul.[19]
  • SVR(H) announced that an increase in the shareholding levels at which various shareholder travel benefits are earned, effective from 2022. This was the first change to benefits since 2010.
  • British Sugar 7-plank open wagon had its new signage painted at Kidderminster Railway Museum by former Gloucestershire and England wicket keeper Jack Russell MBE.[20]

September 2021

  • On 4 and 5 September a group of volunteers organised an 'SVR O Gauge event' with five layouts at The Engine House, including Burlish Road in O gauge.[20]
  • From 7 September the Railway welcomed back ‘hop on, hop off’ passengers to all regular services and the return of observation saloons and footplate experiences, following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in July.[20]
  • 50044 Exeter returned to the mainline on 12 September for the first time since 2012.[20]
  • In its first mainline outing since suffering a major B engine failure in 2016, D1015 Western Champion suffered a seized engine during a test run on 17 September.
  • The Autumn Steam Gala on 16-19 September featured GWRGreat Western Railway 4953 Pitchford Hall and GWRGreat Western Railway 0-6-0PT 9466. The Hall did not work on the Sunday due to a failure, while 9466 did not arrive in time to work on the Thursday but was also used on passenger services until 16 October. 813 suffered from leaking boiler tubes and was withdrawn on the Friday of that event.[21]
  • At the SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) several attendees expressed concerns over the way in which changes to shareholder benefits were communicated. Helen Smith apologised and Nick Paul agreed to put a moratorium on changes until the board had the opportunity to reflect and review the decisions.[21]
  • The Guarantee company announced a major reorganisation of the Volunteer Liaison Office, with five co-ordinators sought.[20]
  • A project at Bewdley to improve access to the station for passengers with limited mobility saw contractors lay a reinforced concrete path between the gates protecting the rail crossing and the yard gates adjoining the car park.[21]
  • Nick Paul stood down as Chairman of SVR(H) after 10 years and was succeeded by Mike Ball.
  • A start was made on the 2021/22 project funded primarily by the SVRSevern Valley Railway Charitable Trust to improve access at Bewdley for those with restricted mobility.[21]

October 2021

  • 813 underwent a retube.[21] The owning The GWR 813 Preservation Fund became a charity this month.
  • On 17 October, the Great Western (SVRSevern Valley Railway) Association officially commemorated the return to service of GWR 6045 Bow-end Composite with a special train for supporters and volunteers. On 30 October the Stanier Mogul Fund organised the 'SMF 50 Golden Jubilee' charter train to mark 50 years as a preservation group in 2020. In both cases the celebration had been delayed by COVID-19.[22]

November 2021

  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway again provided testing facilities for Bayer CropScience Uk who were producing a fleet of weedkilling trains for the UK Network.[22]
  • 813 moved to the Telford Steam RailwayTelford Horsehay Steam Trust Limited, a Charitable heritage railway located at Horsehay, Telford with proposals for running heritage trains into the Ironbridge Gorge and onto the former GWR Severn Valley branch. for Christmas and New Year, the first SVR-based locomotive to visit another event since COVID-19.
  • On 24 November More4 broadcast an episode of Britain's Scenic Railways featuring the SVRSevern Valley Railway.
  • A new Christmas service, the Enchanted Express, first ran. It was a sell out.
  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway announced the Loyalty Pass would end.
  • GWR Large Prairie 5164 transferred to the ownership of The Erlestoke Manor Fund.

December 2021

  • The Home & Dry appeal total reached 'almost £460,000'.[23]
  • The Falling Sands Viaduct restoration project was highly commended at the National Railway Heritage Awards.[23]
  • On 6 December new-build BR 3MT 82045 became a 2-6-2 for the first time, when fitted with its front and rear pony trucks.[23]
  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway announced that it had been awarded £1,012,900 as part of the latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund, paying for salaries and running costs for the period between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022[24].


2022 started with the COVD-19 pandemic continuing into a third year in the UK, with some mask wearing restrictions in place. The 2022 season was delayed until April to allow Network Rail to replace the long footbridge at Kidderminster, and for preparation for the roof and crane works at Bridgnorth Loco Works. No new major infrastructure works were planned, in recognition of the SVRSevern Valley Railway's financial state after two years' disruption.

January 2022

  • The Home & Dry appeal reached its target of £475,000
  • 70000 Britannia visited the SVRSevern Valley Railway for testing and running in after overhaul.
  • Contractors removed part of the formation at Sterns to replace with lightweight infill material, and undertook drainage works around Country Park Halt.

February 2022

  • Match of the Day was broadcast live from Kidderminster Town station featuring visiting 70000 Britannia, prior to Kidderminster Harriers' FA Cup tie against West Ham United on 5 February.
  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway announced that later in the year 34027 Taw Valley would temporarily carry a different name and appear in a brand-new purple livery to commemorate The Queen's Platinum Jubilee. The new name, "Elizabeth II", was chosen by a public vote.

March 2022

  • The long footbridge at Kidderminster was removed, to be replaced
  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway announced that it had cancelled its two 1940s-themed weekends later in the year, in the light of the conflict taking place in Ukraine.
  • It announced that footplate experiences in April and May would be cancelled to conserve its coal stocks. It soon extended this to cancelling Monday and Tuesday trains all season, and running all standard timetables with some diesel operation. Ovoids and e-coal were also to be tested.
  • 60007 Sir Nigel GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941 [LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 4498] visited for testing and running in.

April 2022 The SVRSevern Valley Railway launched a new Unlimited Pass to replace the former Loyalty Pass.

  • WD 71516 Welsh Guardsman operated its first public trains on the SVRSevern Valley Railway in preparation for its appearance that month at the Spring Steam Gala.
  • Around 7,500 visitors attended the Spring Steam Gala over the four days. For context, pre-pandemic visitor numbers peaked at around 4,500 for what was usually a three-day spring event. The last Autumn Steam Gala to attract that many visitors was in 2008 (7,596), the first 'proper' gala after the 2007 Storm Damage.
  • Contractors arrived to commence the roof and crane works at Bridgnorth Loco Works, with areas out of bounds including the main locomotive shed and paint shop. Work was expected to take until August.

May 2022

  • On 11 May the SVRSevern Valley Railway announced that the railway would be hosting a section of the Queen's Baton Relay on Saturday 23 July as part of the final build-up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
  • Also on 11 May, after a major overhaul which began in 2013, 4930 Hagley Hall moved a few yards in the works yard under its own steam. The locomotive was last steamed in 1986.
  • The Charitable Trust launched an appeal to help raise £500,000 to restore Bridgnorth Locomotive Yard.

June 2022

  • The Railway began offering discounted travel to emergency and forces personnel.
  • On Thursday 4 June the SVRSevern Valley Railway began a four-day special event to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Locomotives used included No 70 Elizabeth II in 'Royal Purple' livery with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee logo on the tender, and 2900 Saint class No 2999 'Lady of Legend' which had remained on hire following an appearance at the April Spring Steam Gala.
  • BR Class 20 20048 arrived on hire to help with running diesel services due to the ongoing coal supply issues.

July 2022

  • The increased fire risk following hot and dry weather led to an all-diesel service from 13 July. Two more class 20s, 20142 and 20189, arrived on short term hire to help cover services.
  • On Saturday 23 July the SVRSevern Valley Railway hosted a leg of the Queen's Baton Relay as part of the final build-up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The baton travelled from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth aboard a special train piloted by No 70 'Elizabeth II', double headed with visiting Class 20 20142 due to the continuing fire risk. The Baton Relay had begun on 7 October 2021, when Her Majesty The Queen placed her Message to the Commonwealth into the Baton at the start of its 294-day journey which took in all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
  • On 27 July steam services restarted, although both 1501 and 7714 were paired with a Class 20. The following day normal steam services resumed.
  • The EMF announced the launch of an appeal to raise funds to return Large Prairie 5164 to service[25].

August 2022

  • On train dining returned with the Severn Valley Limited on 3 August, for the first time since Covid-19 restrictions.[26]
  • The Environment Agency declared a drought in the West Midlands on 23 August and across much of the country, following 11 weeks of hot and dry weather. Fire risk saw the reintroduction of exclusively diesel-hauled passenger services from 10 to 15 August, and for a third time from 31 August.[26]
  • The Charitable Trust appeal to restore Bridgnorth Locomotive Yard passed £100,000.[26]
  • The roof and crane works at Bridgnorth Loco Works were completed on time and on budget.[26]
  • Leading geotechnical specialist company 'Geobear' trialled a geo-polymer injection system in pioneering stabilisation work at Alveley Woods, at zero cost to the SVRSevern Valley Railway.[26]
  • The Railway announced that the contract for the refurbishment of the existing Bridgnorth station building was 'unlikely to go ahead until 2024 at the earliest' and now required around £300,000 of additional funding. It was a phase I project under the oversubscribed 2016 share offer and originally it had been announced the contract tender would be issued in January 2017.

September 2022

  • On Wednesday 7 September the Charitable Trust hosted a ceremony at Bridgnorth Loco Works to mark the completion of the "Home and Dry" upgrade of the building.
  • Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8 September, the SVRSevern Valley Railway announced that it would continue to operate services but with all locomotives carrying wreaths. Books of condolence were also opened at the main stations. 34027 remained in purple '70' livery but in addition to carrying a wreath, the locomotive also carried black flags and black 'Elizabeth II' nameplates as a mark of respect.
  • 4930 Hagley Hall returned to passenger service. The locomotive took part in a renaming ceremony at Kidderminster on Friday 8 September before completing two round trips carrying invited guests.
  • The Autumn Steam Gala on 15-18 September featured guest locomotives LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway StanierWilliam Stanier, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway 1932-1944 'Black 5' 45231 The Sherwood Forester, GWRGreat Western Railway-inspired WSR MogulLocomotive with a 2-6-0 wheel configuration 9351 and Hunslet 0-6-0ST Works No. 1873 Jessie. 15-inch gauge Exmoor Steam Railway 0-6-2T Works No. 323 Anne carried passengers on a 200m track at The Engine House. The event was also billed as featuring the return to service of 4930 Hagley Hall, although unfortunately the locomotive was withdrawn after the first two days following three lineside fires.
  • From 24 September a fourth steam ban was introduced following further lineside fires and representations from the fire services and local residents and landowners.
  • During the 1992 Diesel Gala, 50031 became the first Class 50 to haul a public passenger train in preservation. On Saturday 24 September the Class 50 Alliance celebrated the 30th anniversary of the event with four class 50s rostered to the "S1 diagram"; the morning run being 'top and tailed' by 50007 and 50049 and the afternoon run by 50033 and 50035.
  • On Tuesday 27 September the SVRSevern Valley Railway hosted an incoming HST rail tour from Leeds to Bridgnorth, which took place to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Modern Railways magazine and 40 years of HSTs on CrossCountry's North East to South West route. While at the SVRSevern Valley Railway, CrossCountry power car 43366 was named "HST40" (sub-scripted with "Celebrating 40 years of High Speed Train services on the Cross Country network"), while GBRfGB Railfreight, a main line rail freight operating company. loco 66799 was named "Modern Railways Diamond Jubilee".

October 2022

  • SVRSevern Valley Railway News 2019 enclosed a 'Values and Behaviours' document for working members, for them to help "us all to work collectively to keep the SVRSevern Valley Railway as the best place to work, volunteer and visit in the UK."
  • The new Kidderminster Footbridge was craned into place.
  • 34027 Taw Valley reverted to its correct name and number, although still carrying a purple livery.[27]
  • On 13 October Mk3a sleeping coach 10569 ‘Leviathan’ left the SVRSevern Valley Railway.[27]
  • On 22 October the resurrected Junior Club held an induction session for a new cohort.[27]
  • Eight-year-old Corey ClarkT. F. Clark, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Metropolitan Railway was the guest of some of the SVRSevern Valley Railway’s volunteers. His fundraising work for the Food Share Wyre Forest Project, including a 10-mile sponsored walk, had raised £920.[27]
  • On 29 October, LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway B1 Class No. 61306 Mayflower arrived behind 20107 and 20096 with support coach 35461 for test running following an overhaul which included the fitting of air brakes.[28]
  • More than 2,500 passengers visited the SVRSevern Valley Railway over the Halloween period.[27]

November 2022

  • On 5 November DMU car 51941 was lifted off its bogies at Kidderminster TMD and lowered back down onto a set of accommodation bogies. The removed bogies will be overhauled by an engineer in Yorkshire.[27]
  • With test running completed, 61306 Mayflower left on 8 November.
  • On 9 November 7812 made its first movements under its own steam at Tyseley Locomotive Works, following overhaul.
  • On the evening of 26 November the SVRSevern Valley Railway ran a diesel-hauled ‘park and ride’ public service between Kidderminster and Bewdley, for Bewdley’s Christmas light switch on.[27]

December 2022

  • 7812 Erlestoke Manor returned to the SVRSevern Valley Railway for further testing.
  • Damage to points at Arley meant the cancellation of two of the seven Santa trains on the following day. Concerted efforts saw them repaired for the final week's services.


2023 saw the Railway announcing voluntary redundancies, cost savings and a reduced four days a week peak service with a maximum of one steam engine in use on non-special days, as it had recorded its third consecutive annual loss in excess of £400,000 and faced nationwide reduced footfall, economic contraction and a cost-of-living crisis.[note 1] It coincided with the resignation of Helen Smith as Managing Director, who moved to another heritage role. The year marked the 60th anniversary of the official closure of the SVRSevern Valley Railway north of Bewdley. Another ‘must-do’ engineering project was starting, with phase 1 of the relaying of Bridgnorth Loco Works' yard.

January 2023

  • On 2 January 1501 and 2857 both came out of traffic at the expiry of their boiler tickets.
  • SVR(H) vice-chair Jonathan Dunster was appointed interim Managing Director.
  • On 10 January an allotment of shares took the SVR(H) issued capital to £11,000,457.
  • Phase 1 of the relaying of Bridgnorth Loco Works' yard started.

February 2023

  • On 15 February the SVRSevern Valley Railway announced a statutory consultation on 18 compulsory redundancies. On the same day The Erlestoke Manor Fund and the Railway announced newly overhauled 7812 would spend the summer on the West Somerset Railway where it could earn fees, as with up to six steam locomotives in traffic the SVRSevern Valley Railway was over-supplied for its reduced timetable.

March 2023

  • The season opened with a limited service running between Kidderminster and Highley, while infrastructure work was completed at the north end of the line. Phase 1 of the relaying of Bridgnorth Loco Works' yard and attention to trackbed levels at Alveley Woods were completed by the month end.
  • Mike Ball stepped down as Chairman of SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) and was succeeded as interim Chairman by Chris Walton. Tim Hargest stepped down as Chairman of the Charitable Trust and was succeeded as acting Chairman by Ron Treverton-Jones. With the SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) interim Managing Director position, three of the most senior roles were being held on an interim or acting basis.

April 2023

  • The full line reopened on 1 and 2 April with the Open House Weekend.
  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway announced the launch of a Survival Fund to enable it to overcome the current financial crisis and implement longer-term plans for its future. Information and details of how to donate may be found on the SVRSevern Valley Railway's Survival Fund page.
  • A successful three-day Spring Steam Gala attracted 5,000 paying passengers and GWR Collett 4-6-0 4079 Pendennis Castle, its first visit to a heritage railway since its repatriation from Australia. 4079 also featured in the SVRSevern Valley Railway's first photo charter since 2021.

May 2023

  • On 5 May Rail Adventure's 43484 and 43465 delivered three wagons to the Diesel Depot for contract examination/storage.
  • A second steam hauled train was reintroduced on a timetable for busier 'regular' days.
  • The spring diesel festival featured 22 locomotives from 15 classes, plus others on display. It attracted record visitor numbers.

June 2023

  • The Railway offered a weekday discount throughout June for people living in nearby postcodes.
  • Guided tours of Bridgnorth MPDMotive Power Depot were provided in June and July, the first time for many years.
  • 1501 and 50007 were exhibited at the Rail Live 2023 exhibition at Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre. It raised the Railway's profile in the mainstream rail industry as it sought more commercial work, in order to secure the future of the heritage operations.
  • Step Back to the 1940s returned after a three-year gap.
  • The Charitable Trust's Survival Fund Appeal reached £343,587, including Gift Aid.
  • SVRH's 2022 annual accounts were published. They looked at the need to look at the way the Railway is structured across three companies, and the benefits that would accrue "if we could achieve a structure that has charitable status at its heart."

August 2023

  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway confirmed the sale of LMS Black 5 45110. The locomotive left the railway by road on 15 August.[29]

September 2023

  • On 8 and 9 September respectively 7714 operated as long-scrapped classmates 9624 and 4665 with a 'last train' headboard, to mark the 60th anniversary of the last BRBritish Rail or British Railways passenger service to leave Bridgnorth.
  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway announced an official partnership with Network Rail. Billed as a 'win-win' for both parties, the SVRSevern Valley Railway would receive professional skills, advice and redundant railway materials, while Network Rail would receive support, training and facilities to help their staff operate and maintain more traditional railway technology.[30][31]

November 2023

December 2023


The continuing financial difficulties saw SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) enter the year after a fourth consecutive large annual loss, notwithstanding a profit of £250,000 from the sale of 45110 and £725,000 in grants from the Charitable Trust.[34] The 2023 figure of £641,224 gave an accumulated 2020-23 loss exceeding £1.96 million. Early 2024 saw phase 2 of the project to re-lay Bridgnorth Loco Works' yard. The year marked the 50th anniversary of the reopening from Hampton Loade to Bewdley, and the 40th anniversary of the reopening to Kidderminster Town.

January 2024

  • The 2023 season ended with the SVRSevern Valley Railway's first Winter Steam Gala on 6-7 January 2024. The event saw a return to passenger services after a lengthy overhaul for StanierWilliam Stanier, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway 1932-1944 MogulLocomotive with a 2-6-0 wheel configuration 2968 and also saw the retirement of 'Flying Pig' 43106 at the end of its ticket. It attracted more than 2,500 paying passengers, with revenue twice as much as had been expected.[35]
  • An indication of the continuing trading difficulties was 2023 had generated just 6,516 more ticket sales than COVID-19’s 2021 (which had no services until April, followed by restricted numbers until September). This was despite 2023 having two extra galas and visitors having an incentive of a free return ticket. It was just 69% of the tickets sold in the last pre-pandemic year, 2019.

February 2024

  • SVRSevern Valley Railway individuals and groups won three HRA awards.
  • February half-term services were reintroduced.

March 2024

  • The SVRSevern Valley Railway gained a few more yards of infrastructure when 50035 was used to test out the new Foley Park sidings and ground frame, the first locomotive to access it.[36]
  • LNER-designed Peppercorn Class A2 No. 60532 Blue Peter arrived for running in and testing, following overhaul, in preparation for its future mainline duties.
  • The Railway commemorated on social media the 50th anniversary of the recommissioning of Highley signal box on 2 March 1974, prior to the recommencement of services from Hampton Loade to Highley in April of that year. Otherwise the 50th anniversaries of the southwards extensions to Bewdley (May 1974) were unpublicised, ahead of celebrations of Kidderminster Station 40th Anniversary in July.

April 2024

  • New-build locomotive 6880 ‘Betton Grange’ did not appear at the Spring Steam Gala for what would have been its first runs in traffic. There was insufficient time to organise transport and allow sufficient loaded testing for it to take part, as had been planned.
  • Replica GWRGreat Western Railway cast signs were stolen from Hampton Loade, and lamps from Eardington.

May 2024

June 2024

  • On 3 June the partly assembled firebox, boiler shell and smokebox destined for new-build BR 3MT 82045 was lowered into the frames for the first time in the boiler shop, for a successful 'trial fit'. It was then removed for further work towards completion.[38]
  • Barry Railway Carriage 163 left the SVRSevern Valley Railway.
  • A special Supporters’ Day was arranged, on a non-public service day. Over 1,300 shareholders, members and Charitable Trust patrons and guardians enjoyed a complimentary day out on the line, with an intensive timetable and special behind-the-scenes activities on offer.[39]
  • GWRGreat Western Railway ChurchwardGeorge Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1902-1922 2900 Saint class 4-6-0 2999 Lady of Legend arrived for an extended visit, prior to an Autumn Gala appearance.

Steam locomotives used

A table of steam locomotives used since 2020 is shown below. Where detailed mileage records were not published in SVRSevern Valley Railway News, locomotives used are marked 'X'.

Included are locomotives hired in, and the table identifies whether they were present either for the Summer (S) or Winter (W).

Not included are locomotives visiting for primarily for rail tours, test running or galas, even if they also operate SVRSevern Valley Railway services for a short period (as did, for example, GWRGreat Western Railway ChurchwardGeorge Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1902-1922 2900 Saint class 4-6-0 2999 Lady of Legend in 2022 and 2024, and USATCUnited States Army Transportation Corps Hill S160 class 2-8-0 2253 Omaha in 2023/4), unless their mileage is included in the SVRSevern Valley Railway News mileage records as hired locomotives.

Locomotive 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 Comment
813 347 X X
1450 213 Out of ticket 2020
1501 1,264 5,801 6,074 Out of ticket January 2023
2857 2,235 X 4,294 Out of ticket January 2023
4930 Hagley Hall X X X
6960 Raveningham Hall (S) (W) 705 X On hire 2020-21. Out of ticket 2021
7714 2,935 5,132 4,013 4,657 X
7812 Erlestoke Manor X X X Returned to traffic late 2022, on test
13268 X X Returned to traffic late 2023
34027 Taw Valley 1,437 X X X X
43106 1,870 5,382 X X Out of ticket January 2024
75069 3,941 X X 4,948 X
WD 71516 Welsh Guardsman 393 X Mileage mainly at other railways
Total 15,340 34,024 26,668 X

See also


SVRSevern Valley Railway News unless otherwise stated.

  1. British Rail Class 139 on Wikipedia
  2. 4150 Fund March 2020 restoration update (Retrieved 2 April 2020)
  3. Erlestoke Manor Fund March 2020 update (Retrieved 2 April 2020)
  4. Shropshire Star 29 April 2020 (Retrieved 29 April 2020)
  5. Branch Lines, June 2020
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Branch Lines, August 2020
  7. EMF announcement
  8. Shropshire Star,'Arsonists wreck roof at Severn Valley Railway site', 2 August 2020 (Retrieved 2 August 2020)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Branch Lines, September 2020
  10. Express Points newsletter, September 2020 (Retrieved 29 August 2020)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Branch Lines, October 2020
  12. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (Retrieved 9 October 2020)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Branch Lines, December 2020
  14. 14.0 14.1 Branch Lines, January 2021
  15. Brock, Alexander, 'Severn Valley loco makes emergency stop to avoid trespasser "set to climb off edge of bridge"', Birmingham Mail, 12 February 2021 (Retrieved 15 February 2021)
  16. Branch Lines, March 2021 (Retrieved 7 March 2021)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Branch Lines, May 2021
  18. Branch Lines, June 2021
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 Branch Lines, August 2021
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Branch Lines, September 2021
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Branch Lines, October 2021
  22. 22.0 22.1 Branch Lines, November 2021
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Branch Lines, December 2021
  24. Rail Advent
  25. EMF: The Big "Large Prairie" Appeal – Returning 5164 to service (retrieved 1 August 2022)
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 Branch Lines, August 2022
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 27.5 27.6 Branch Lines, November 2022
  28. Rail Advent, Severn Valley Railway to welcome steam locomotive 61306 Mayflower (Retrieved 29 October 2022)
  29. Rail Advent
  30. SVR Announcement
  31. BBC News
  32. Heritage Railway issue 313, p.106.
  33. The Railway Magazine, January 2024 issue 313
  34. Severn Valley Railway Company Limited Annual Report 2023
  35. Branch Lines January 2024
  36. SVR Facebook post 13 March 2024 (Retrieved 14 March 2024)
  37. News item on SVRSevern Valley Railway website, 22 May 2024
  38. 82045 SLT news update, June 2024 (Retrieved 6 June 2024)
  39. SVR website news page, 26 June 2024 (Retrieved 28 June 2024)


  1. The 2023 accounts noted "2023 [saw] staff reductions and redundancies for the first time in the history of the Severn Valley Railway". The 2011 accounts, however, had similarly noted: "..staff head count has reduced [..] through [..] some redundancies".