Published: 30th June 2016
The Severn Valley Railway is offering the chance to glimpse its inner workings by seeing what lies behind normally closed doors during its July 16 Peep Behind the Scenes event.
Locomotive sheds, carriage works and new Diesel Depot (see http://www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/2016/severn-valley-railway-opens-heritage-railway-diesel-facility/ ) will all be opened up to let visitors view the backstage work undertaken by SVR’s dedicated staff and skilled volunteers to keep the railway running.
The now-annual event organised the 4150 Locomotive Group not only opens up normally closed areas but raises funds for one of the largest current restoration projects at the railway, returning GWR Large Prairie No. 4150 to steam. The ex-Stourbridge and Severn Tunnel Junction engine was withdrawn in 1965 after working for just 18 years. It is now the only Severn Valley loco saved from Woodham Brothers’ Barry scrapyard yet to steamed in preservation.
The restoration team is based in a normally inaccessible corner of Bewdley Yard, which will be opened up on Peep Behind the Scenes day. You will find the cab roof, bunker and ‘bottom-end’ of the 1947-built loco are virtually complete and be able to see the new side tanks, fabricated on-site and awaiting final riveting and welding. No. 4150 is due to go to Bridgnorth Loco Works for a major boiler overhaul in late October, the start of a final big push to complete the project over the next two to three years.
At Bewdley: visitors will also be able to view progress on the LNER Carriage Group’s overhaul of SVR Charitable Trust’s GWR ‘Toad A’ vacuum fitted 20-ton brake van. A two-car DMU shuttle will operate on short sections of the Stourport and Tenbury branches between 11.00 – 16.00.
At Bridgnorth: In addition to the Motive Power Depot and yard, latest progress on construction of new build Riddles 3MT No. 82045 being constructed by the 82045 Steam Locomotive Trust will be on view including the bunker, cab and smokebox of will be on view. The completed frame assembly is awaiting wheeling to create, initially, an 0-6-0 rolling chassis while work proceeds on the front and rear pony truck assemblies.
At Kidderminster: current rolling stock service and maintenance projects will be on show in Kidderminster Carriage Works, coaches being stored and cleaned can be seen in the Carriage Shed, the Diesel Depot will be open with the opportunity of visiting the cab of a diesel locomotive. There is also the turntable, Kidderminster Railway Museum and visits inside the Wrangaton signal box.
Other signal boxes will also be open along the line, not to mention The Engine House visitor centre at Highley where a new Terence Cuneo exhibition is showcasing the work of the famous railway artist.
SVR will operate a conventional timetable with normal fares applicable. To take advantage of the Peep Behind the Scenes attractions, purchase a special wristband for £5 (accompanied children aged 16 and under go free) on the day from Kidderminster, Bewdley or Bridgnorth stations.
Note that with the SVR being a working railway, some facilities may be closed during the weekend for operational reasons.
The SVR is easily reached by rail, the national network serving Kidderminster station, just a short walk from SVR’s Kidderminster terminus.