By Phil Marsh

Celebrations at Severn Valley Railway Spring Diesel Festival and Isle of Wight steam railway’s 50th anniversary railway gala

Published: 8th May 2016

Two huge celebratory events in the preserved railway calendar to savour

The Severn Valley Railway has been building a Diesel Depot at Kidderminster over the last two years adjacent to the huge Carriage Shed built over a decade ago. The Diesel depot is to be opened with a huge diesel gala on 21 May billed as their ‘Spring Diesel Festival’. Parking at Kidderminster is limited so the advice is to travel there by London Midland or Chiltern services.

The late Spring Severn Valley evenings will resonate with sounds of the 60s English Electric, Maybach and Sulzer diesels running on the 16-mile route between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. To celebrate the new diesel depot opening, visits are being allowed from 10am - 4pm on Saturday 21st May for a donation, and some locomotive cab visits will also be on offer. The locomotive roster is impressive and remember, all are subject to availability.

Spring Festival visiting locomotives – all subject to availability

Class 20 No. 20142 and 20205 courtesy of Class 20 Locomotives Limited & Michael Owen

Class 26 No. 26007 courtesy of Victor Korzeniewicz

Class 31 No. 5580 courtesy of A1A Locomotives Ltd

Class 33 No. 33035 courtesy of the Pioneer Diesel Locomotive Group

Class 37 and a 68 from the DRS fleet

Class 40 No. D213 Andania from Barrow Hill Roundhouse

Class 46 No. 46045 owned by the Peak Locomotive Company

Class 50 No. 50008 Thunderer courtesy of Garcia Hanson

Class 55 'Deltic' No. D9002 King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry from the National Railway Museum

Class 66 No. 66763 which will be named Severn Valley Railway during the event courtesy of GB Railfreight

What operates on what days?

The visiting locomotives will be in operation on the following dates (updated 06/05/2016):

• Monday 16th May - Class 33 No. 33035

• Tuesday 17th May - Class 46 No. 46045

• Wednesday 18th May - Class 31 No. 5580

• Monday 23rd May - Class 33 No. 33035

• Tuesday 24th & Wednesday 25th May - Class 52 No. D1015 Western Champion

• Thursday 26th May - Class 31 No. 5580

• Friday 27th May - Class 20 No. D8059 or No. D8188

The visiting fleet will be augmented by the SVR based fleet including: D3201, D4100, Class 20s No. D8059 and No. D8188, Class 50s No. 50035 Ark Royal and No. 50049 Defiance, Class 52 No. D1015 Western Champion . And to add variety to it all, London Underground's 4TC Unit will also be visiting the Railway to operate with the air-brake only locomotives.

A goods train on Friday and Saturday will also be in operation while on Sunday 22 May the former Southern Region 4TC electric Unit will be used pulled by some of the visiting diesels between Kidderminster, Highley and Bewdley throughout the day.

Drive a Deltic opportunity

The Class 55 Deltic is an iconic locomotive and the SVR is offering driving days on No. 55019 Royal Highland Fusilier this month. The diesel will be hauling a 200 ton train on the length of the line with participants driving for 8 miles and acting as secondman for 8 miles plus a ride in the rear cab of the locomotive for a further 16 miles for £375. The cost includes tickets for six guests who can travel on the Footplate Experience train. These Deltic days operate on: May 16th, 18th, 23rd, 24th and 25th.

IOWSR commemorates 50th anniversary of closures & launches Ivatt 41298 into service on May 28/29/30

Half a century ago, steam services were entering their last six months of operation on the Isle of Wight using a fleet of Class ‘02’ tank locomotives. A group of preservationists decided to try and save some engines and carriages and formed the Wight Locomotive Society, now the Isle of Wight Steam Railway (IOWSR).

At the end of May, their progress has to be seen to be believed. Apart from restoring over five miles of track between Smallbrook Junction and Wootton their locomotive fleet is into double figures. They were gifted three locomotives by the Ivatt Trust in June 2009 and No. 41298 will be formally introduced to service at this event. This engine, along with three others, were based at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre for four decades but circumstances there precluded these locomotives from being restored in this time.

The one slight disappointment is the failure to appear at the event of a Great Western Prairie tank engine No. 5521 owned by Bill Parker. But this will be more than made up by the operation of the resident IOWSR fleet of Class O2 No. 24 Calbourne, ex-Island ‘Terrier’ No. 11 Newport with sister engine No. 8 Freshwater on display along with the sole surviving Class ‘E1’ class locomotive No. 2 Yarmouth.

Mixed red and green liveried vintage trains will be operating an intensive service running past the million pound now fully open ‘Train Story Discovery Centre’ and don’t forget the normally out of bounds workshops open for the event. And new for 2016 is the Haven Falconry Bird of Prey centre where visitors can see many birds of prey and attend flying displays behind Havenstreet station as steam trains pass by.

There is a large newly surfaced car park at Havenstreet but otherwise, the best way to travel to the IOWSR is by rail to Smallbrook Junction on Island Line with good connections via Portsmouth and Ryde. And trains run to Portsmouth Harbour from London Waterloo via Woking and Guildford while Great Western run trains from Cardiff via Bristol and Salisbury and Southern operate coastway services to meet the Wightlink fastcat service.

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