1973-74 - Severn Valley Railway heads south to Highley, Arley and Bewdley . . .
Spearheaded by the ﬂamboyant Sir Gerald Nabarro MP, the then Chairman of the Company, a share issue was launched. The aim was to raise £110,000.
The cost of purchasing the nine miles of line from Alveley Colliery sidings, through Highley, Arley and Bewdley as far as Foley Park, near Kidderminster, was set by British Railways at £74,000.
In the event the share issue was so successful that, with additional ﬁnancial help from local engineering company Rubery Owen Group, the line to Bewdley was purchased and progressively opened during 1974.
Love him or hate him, the charismatic Sir Gerald had a way of getting things done! This did not always go down well with the volunteers, with the result that at one point in 1973 a strike was seriously threatened.
The press loved the story with headlines such as ‘Tyrant’ Nab must go say train fans in the Daily Mail and "I’ll steam on" says Nab in the Daily Express. In the Birmingham Evening Mail the headline read "Ultimatum to Nabarro: Go – or trains don’t".
It is pleasing to report that the only strike ever to be mooted on the Severn Valley Railway never took place.
After this incident Sir Gerald’s interest in the SVR quickly waned. He died suddenly in November 1973 at his home in Broadway, Worcestershire.