Severn Valley Railway Timeline 2020-2029
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- On 27 February WD 71516 Welsh Guardsman arrived at Bridgnorth.
- Specialist contractors removed asbestos from around the cylinder block of GWR Large Prairie 4150.
- 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.
- 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.
- By 2 April the emergency appeal total reached £120,000.
- The Coronavirus pandemic lead to further total closures until the end of June and the cancellations of the 1940s weekends.
- A minimal contract engineering presence saw tests on the second of five new boilers for the Isle of Man Railway.
- On 15 April D2960 Silver Spoon took GWR 9055 Nondescript Saloon for a test after overhaul, running within the confines of the section signal at Kidderminster. The line to Bewdley remained severed for the winter works, interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The SVRSevern Valley Railway reported an increase in trespassing during the closure.
- John Leftwich, interim chairman of the SVR Charitable Trust, died.
- On 30 April the renamed Fight Back Fund total passed £650,000.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- On 27 July the first services ran on the SVRSevern Valley Railway since the closedown in March. The passengers were SVRSevern Valley Railway staff and volunteers, the intention being to test social distancing and other arrangements ahead of a public opening on 1 August.
- The Erlestoke Manor Fund announced it was in discussion with The 5164 Preservation Group and the SVRSevern Valley Railway regarding the proposed transfer of GWR Large Prairie 5164 to the EMF.
- The value of the Diesel Depot as a revenue earning resource was demonstrated by contract work on BR Class 37 37308, Clayton Class 17 Bo-Bo D8568, PPM50 Parry People Mover No 999 900 and 47773.
- WD 71516 Welsh Guardsman steamed for the first time on the SVRSevern Valley Railway, tested to ensure it to be fit to run if needed, or should the owner should have a request for it to work elsewhere.
- The Charitable Trust agreed grants of £120,000 for repair work at Sterns and £12,000 to complete the restoration of GWR 2242 Corridor Brake Third. The work at Sterns completed on 29 July.
- 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.
- 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.
- On 2 August arsonists attacked and badly damaged Country Park Halt,.
- 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.
- Access to the large bracket outside of Bewdley South signal box was prohibited due to rot, with a temporary replacement prepared.
- 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.
- Restoration work to repair the brickwork at Falling Sands Viaduct restarted after the discovery of bats.
- 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 listed for release
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'. For locomotives hired in, the table identifies whether they were present either for the Summer (S) or Winter (W).
|6960 Raveningham Hall||X||On hire 2020|
|7802 Bradley Manor|
|7812 Erlestoke Manor|
|34027 Taw Valley||X|
|WD 71516 Welsh Guardsman|
SVRSevern Valley Railway News unless otherwise stated.
- 4150 Fund March 2020 restoration update (Retrieved 2 April 2020)
- Erlestoke Manor Fund March 2020 update (Retrieved 2 April 2020)
- Shropshire Star 29 April 2020 (Retrieved 29 April 2020)
- Branch Lines, June 2020
- Branch Lines, August 2020
- EMF announcement
- Shropshire Star,'Arsonists wreck roof at Severn Valley Railway site', 2 August 2020 (Retrieved 2 August 2020)
- Branch Lines, September 2020
- Express Points newsletter, September 2020 (Retrieved 29 August 2020)