Difference between revisions of "The Engine House"

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The Engine House is licensed for civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies which can be conducted in a variety of railway themed locations.<ref>[http://www.svr.co.uk/Weddings.aspx SVR website] (retrieved 7 January 2017)</ref>
The Engine House is licensed for civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies which can be conducted in a variety of railway themed locations.<ref>[http://www.svr.co.uk/Weddings.aspx SVR website] (retrieved 7 January 2017)</ref>
{{As of|2017}} other events at The Engine House include:
Other events held at The Engine House include:
*Children's 'Family Fun' events are held during half-terms and school holidays.
*Children's 'Family Fun' events are held during half-terms and school holidays.
*Open House Weekend
*Open House Weekend
*Peppa Pig and George
*'Peppa Pig and George'
*'Paw Patrol'
*Christmas Gift Fayre
*Christmas Gift Fayre
*Christmas Carol Trains
*Christmas Carol Trains

Revision as of 10:44, 27 December 2018

View of The Engine House from Highley Station (Wikimedia Commons)

The Engine House at Highley is the SVRSevern Valley Railway's main museum, Visitor and Education Centre. It is situated approximately 200 yards from Highley Station, on the site of the former sidings of Highley Colliery. The Kidderminster Railway Museum is the other major museum on the railway, being run by separate charitable organisation.

Entry to the Engine House is usually free with possession of a valid ‘Freedom of the line’ ticket or Annual Family Pass; otherwise an admission fee is payable.

Also based here are the SVR Archives.


The Engine House was originally conceived as a simple storage building to house "out-of-ticket" engines under cover in order to reduce the damage done by the weather. However for various reasons, including attracting external funding, the project morphed into the visitor museum and education centre that stands today, whilst still achieving the original aim of storing locomotives. Funding received towards its construction included £3,363k from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £948k from the European Union Regional Development Fund and £200k from Advantage West Midlands.[1]

The "modern" architectural design of the building has attracted polarised comments. Prior to construction, the SVRSevern Valley Railway noted that The Engine House will be of modern design, and will use modern materials in its construction. The reasons for this decision are many, but cost was a particular factor as was the stability of the ground on the Landsale Yard site. Geological factors and old mine and quarry workings are all factors here. The ground, the Engineers tell us, is ‘challenging’ to say the least.[1]

The main contractor for construction was George Law & Co. Ltd[2], the company who also built Bridgnorth Cliff Railway in the 1890s.[3] Construction of The Engine House began in 2006. The hillside behind the building was graded and stabilised using soil nailing, parts of the old mine workings underneath were grouted, and a large retaining wall was built. More soil nailing was carried out in front of the building to ensure no lateral pressure would be placed on the railway embankment. For the building itself, some 120 piles up to 15 metres deep were sunk and tied together by beams cast in reinforced concrete.[3]

The Engine House was scheduled to open in the summer of 2007. However Highley was one of the locations which suffered significant damage in the freak storms in June and July of that year. As a result, opening to the public was delayed until Good Friday, 21 March 2008; the day which also saw the resumption of services over the full length of the line.

An opening ceremony was held on 28 April 2009 with visiting BRBritish Rail or British Railways RiddlesRobert Arthur "Robin" Riddles, Member of the Railway Executive for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering responsible for the design of the British Rail Standard Class locomotives Standard 8PThe 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 PacificLocomotive with a 4-6-2 wheel configuration 71000 'Duke of Gloucester' hauling a special train from Kidderminster, carrying guests for the ceremony.[4] However the SVRSevern Valley Railway’s patron H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester was unable to attend due to illness, so The Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire carried out the official duties in his place. The Duke finally visited the Engine House on 21 October 2009, when he also carried out the opening ceremony for the new Highley footbridge.

There were over 120,000 visitors to the Engine House during the first 2 years of opening[5]. Before the opening of the Engine House, BR 80300 Post Office Sorting Van was used as the visitor centre.

HLFHeritage Lottery Fund (National Lottery Heritage Fund from 2019) Legal Charge

On 26 February 2016 the The Trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (HLFHeritage Lottery Fund (National Lottery Heritage Fund from 2019)) took a legal charge code 0104 6274 0017 over the Engine House.[6]

Items on display

As of 2018 steam locomotives on display while awaiting overhaul are:

Carriages and goods wagons on display include:

Railway Royal Engineers' Roll of Honour

Locomotive LMS Stanier 8F 48773 is dedicated as a Memorial to those military railwaymen of the Corps of Royal Engineers (Transportation) who lost their lives in World War II. In 2002 the Stanier 8F Locomotive Society compiled a Roll of Honour and Books of Remembrance commemorating known casualties. Since 2008 it has been on display with the Roll of Honour at the Engine House and an additional Roll of Honour was unveiled by Brigadier Mike Stephens at a ceremony at the Engine House in 2011, together with a Roll of Honour commemorating the six Railway Sappers killed in an accident on the Longmoor Military Railway in 1956. Over 200 ex-servicemen, family members and visitors were present. Visitors can see the Rolls of Honour and information panels describing the history of the Railway Royal Engineers alongside the locomotive.[7]

Current exhibitions

Poster for '2007 Storm Damage – 10 Years on' Exhibition

As of 2018 current exhibitions are:

  • 2007 Storm Damage – 10 Years on (2017- ) – a look back at the damage inflicted by a freak weather event in the summer of 2007. The exhibition looks at the damage and the extensive work and funding involved to rebuild the railway.
  • Exhibition of work by renowned railway artist, John AustinJohn Austin GRA, renowned Bridgnorth-based member of The Guild of Railway Artists (2018- )
  • Peter’s Railway Young Engineers’ Centre (2014- ) - An exhibition that explains about railway engineering and how a steam locomotive works, for "any young steam fans and budding engineers." It is based on the Peter’s Railway series of children's books written by Christopher Vine, a Chartered Engineer, about Peter and his Grandpa building and operating a miniature steam railway on a farm.[8]
  • An exhibition on LMS Stanier Class 5 45110 and the end of steam on British Railways (2018- )

There are numerous other exhibits, video features and interactive items.

Former exhibitions

  • Terence Cuneo - The Man and His Mouse (2016) showcasing the work of the famous railway artist.
  • Severn Valley Railway - Our first 50 years (2015-16) celebrating in words and pictures 50 years of the Severn Valley Railway.
  • The Art of the Railway Poster (2017) – telling the story of how the ‘big four’ railway companies looked for ways of promoting travel by train to the general public, showcasing original posters of the era.
  • Signs of the Times (2017) - a display of London Underground and Great Western Railway signs, courtesy of London Transport Museum and Kidderminster Railway Museum.


The Engine House is licensed for civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies which can be conducted in a variety of railway themed locations.[9]

Other events held at The Engine House include:

  • Children's 'Family Fun' events are held during half-terms and school holidays.
  • Open House Weekend
  • 'Peppa Pig and George'
  • 'Paw Patrol'
  • Christmas Gift Fayre
  • Christmas Carol Trains
  • Christmas carvery



Until 2012 ‘Buffers’ restaurant offered a table service. In 2012 a refurbishment took place with the creation of a self-service 'The Flag & Whistle Food Stop'.[10]. In addition there is a gift shop and an outdoor children's play area. The restaurant balcony and outdoor picnic areas overlook the line and give good views of trains leaving and arriving at Highley.

Commemorative Garden

In October 2017 the Charitable Trust announced it was establishing an In Memory Garden for SVRSevern Valley Railway supporters, close to the Engine House. The area is directly beneath the gallery, on level ground below the retaining slope. Its design has been generously donated by Arup’s landscape architecture team. It will also feature an indoor commemorative area on the balcony inside The Engine House. This will be a screened-off area, with scrolls of honour and a memory book.[11] Initial work involved fencing off the area and creating a set of access steps, before landscaping and designing the garden layout and planting scheme.[12]. By July 2018 vegetation clearance was underway.

Anderson shelter

In 2018 the Postcode Lottery awarded a grant for the construction of a shelter to enhance the facilities for children to learn about air raids and experience.


See also

Kidderminster Railway Museum
Dogs on the SVR
Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust Ltd


  1. 1.0 1.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 152
  2. Highley Engine House case study on George Law's web site
  3. 3.0 3.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 154
  4. Sharpo's World image
  5. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 168
  6. Companies House, Legal Charge
  7. War Memorials online (Retrieved 22 April 2018)
  8. Peter's Railway website (retrieved 7 January 2017)
  9. SVR website (retrieved 7 January 2017)
  10. SVRLive
  11. 'Platform' magazine, 2018 Issue 4, p.16
  12. Memorial Garden - Landscaping garden design expertise needed, SVRLive, 16 October 2017 (Retrieved 14 July 2018


The Engine House on www.svr.co.uk