by Phil Marsh

Severn Valley Railway Autumn Galas take shape

Published: 10th September 2013

Classic traction treats at the two spectacular Severn Valley railway galas

The annual Severn Valley Railway (SVR) Autumn steam gala takes place between Sept 20 and 22 with their Autumn Diesel Gala following two weeks later between October 3rd to 5th inclusive. Both are highlights of the preserved railway season.

In chronological order, the steam gala has seen a number of changes from the originally envisaged line-up due to locomotives being out of service. But, Met No. 1, star of the London Underground 150 celebrations this year will be appearing as planned along with Metropolitan Railway carriage No. 353 on a shuttle service between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade on all three days.

This features a stiff climb in each direction over Eardington summit and carriage No. 353 will be positioned behind the locomotive on departures from Bridgnorth and at the rear of the train on departures from Hampton Loade.

This is the first time Met No. 1 has worked passenger trains on the SVR but note that a supplementary fare of £5.00 per single journey (in addition to your train ticket is payable to sample this vintage carriage. Advance bookings cannot be made for this but there will be a couple of other carriages in the train as well.

Replacement steam locomotives

Ex GWR 'Hall' class 4-6-0 No.4936 Kinlet Hall last operated on the SVR five years ago so will be a welcome return visitor and replaces BR ‘Britannia’ No. 70000, Britannia which has still not returned to service six months after being damaged in an accident on the North Norfolk Railway. Another engine not available is Southern Railway ‘King Arthur’ No. 777, Sir Lamiel which is also out of traffic.

The replacement for many will be far better in the shape of LMS ‘Duchess’ No. 46233 Duchess of Sutherland. This was last on the SVR in 2006 but in maroon livery, it is now in green.

The Southern is represented by the National Railway Museum owned, Mid Hants Railway operated ‘Lord Nelson’ Class No. 850 Lord Nelson Southern Railway 'Schools' Class 4-4-0 locomotive No. 925 Cheltenham and the Bridgnorth based ‘West Country’ No. 34053 Sir Keith Park. The line-up is completed with SVR based engines No. 43106 ('The Flying Pig!) fresh from an intermediate overhaul plus pannier tank No. 1501 and other members of the resident fleet as are required.

The Diesel Gala

The Severn Valley Railway’s annual diesel gala, to be held on October 3-5, is now established as one of the country’s most popular diesel events in the calendar. There will be more than ten locomotives in action over the three days, providing plenty of classic traction variety with an intensive timetable including trains running well into the evenings.

Guaranteed 100 per cent steam free

Following an experimental suspension of all steam workings at this event for the past two years, the gala will again see all trains powered by diesels with not an operational steam loco rostered all weekend. This has proved a popular format for diesel enthusiasts, who travel to the line from far and wide specifically to experience the sight, sound and haulage by diesel locomotives.

In addition to the locomotives the SVR’s resident Class 108 diesel multiple units will be running.

National Collection visitors

Among five locomotives visiting the SVR for the weekend will be two guests from the National Railway Museum at York. The top spot goes to the mighty ‘Deltic’, Class 55 No. 55002 The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, recently restored to working order by a group of volunteers after it had been on static display at the museum for many years.

The other NRM loco is another English Electric thoroughbred, the first-built Class 37 No. D6700. Perhaps surprisingly, neither of these two well-known diesel-electrics has ever visited the SVR before, and this is the only one of the six surviving production ‘Deltics’ not to have run on the SVR previously.

Other visitors booked

Another ‘Deltic’ and a Class 37 are also due to appear at the gala. Class 55 No. D9009 Alycidon is coming from the Deltic Preservation Society at Barrow Hill, while EE Type 3 No. 37109, owned by Chris Guntripp and normally based on the East Lancashire Railway, will be available for the weekend. This loco arrived on the SVR earlier in the season to provide additional diesel power as needed, but has stayed on for this occasion.

The fifth visitor is Class 24 No. 5081 from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and is also making its first appearance on the SVR in preservation.

Home fleet variety

The railway’s own diesel roster provides an excellent selection of varied classic classes, namely Class 20s Nos. D8059 and D8188; Class 42 ‘Warship’ No. D821 Greyhound, Class 50 No. 50031 Hood, and Class 52 ‘Western’ No. D1062 Western Courier. A couple of the diesel shunters based on the line should also see operation, while some of the non-operational members of the resident main-line diesel fleet will be on display at Kidderminster, and open for cab visits.

Tickets

One, two and three-day tickets are available for adults, children (4-15 years), seniors (60+) and families (two adults and four children). These can be booked in advance at reduced prices via website www.svr.co.uk. Example fares are: one day rover adult on the day £19.50, in advance £17 plus £1 booking fee; family £56.50 or £46 plus £1 in advance.

Getting there

Kidderminster SVR station (DY10 1QX) is adjacent to the main line station served by trains from Birmingham to Worcester. These connect with those from London Marylebone, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire at Birmingham Moor Street. See London Midland and Chiltern Railways timetables.

Bewdley (DY12 1BG) and Bridgnorth (WV16 5DT) stations are only accessible by road. All three stations have pay-and-display car parks.

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