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Every journey ends with a memory.

50 Years of Steam at the Severn Valley Railway

Join our celebrations

Saturday 23rd May 2020 represents 50 years to the day since the Severn Valley Railway ran its first public trains between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade. From those humble beginnings the Railway has extended its services beyond Hampton Loade to Highley, Arley and Bewdley in 1974, eventually reaching Kidderminster in July 1984.

The scheme to preserve the line actually began in 1965, and for those that can remember those early pioneering days (and indeed for those who like a bit of nostalgia), we have put together a few press cuttings and photographs to remind people of the struggles and successes of those first formative years. We are indebted to both the Midland News Association group and the Kidderminster Shuttle group for permission to reproduce the various press cuttings on our website

The first five years (1965 - 1970) 


Bridgnorth station looking south on 24 April 1966, 2½ years after closure. By this time demolition contractors were working southwards, and had reached the station area, as can be seen by the missing track, the missing water columns and the partially demolished signal box. Fortunately, once the Severn Valley Railway Society had agreed terms with British Railways for the purchase of the line, demolition was halted.
Bridgnorth station looking south on 24 April 1966, 2½ years after closure. By this time demolition contractors were working southwards, and had reached the station area, as can be seen by the missing track, the missing water columns and the partially demolished signal box. Fortunately, once the Severn Valley Railway Society had agreed terms with British Railways for the purchase of the line, demolition was halted.

British Railways wanted £40,000 for purchase of the land and buildings but, with the savings they would make by removal of their maintenance liabilities, we finally agreed on a purchase price of £25,000. One of the first targets was to raise the deposit so, in addition to encouraging more members and asking for donations, we also organised stalls and fairground rides to generate further income, as seen here in Bridgnorth yard on 10 July 1966.
British Railways wanted £40,000 for purchase of the land and buildings but, with the savings they would make by removal of their maintenance liabilities, we finally agreed on a purchase price of £25,000. One of the first targets was to raise the deposit so, in addition to encouraging more members and asking for donations, we also organised stalls and fairground rides to generate further income, as seen here in Bridgnorth yard on 10 July 1966.

A trip to Hampton Loade station on 17 July 1966 showed how nature had already begun to reclaim the land, which for 101 years had proudly carried Severn Valley line services. Even the signalbox had succumbed to a local resident as a source of firewood!
A trip to Hampton Loade station on 17 July 1966 showed how nature had already begun to reclaim the land, which for 101 years had proudly carried Severn Valley line services. Even the signalbox had succumbed to a local resident as a source of firewood!

On the same day, these are the woods south of Hampton Loade, near to milepost 144½ , which formed the southern boundary of our initial purchase. And yes – the track is there somewhere!On the same day, these are the woods south of Hampton Loade, near to milepost 144½ , which formed the southern boundary of our initial purchase. And yes – the track is there somewhere!

Again on 17 July 1966, and just south of milepost 144½, were the sidings which served Alveley colliery (now the site of Country Park Halt). The colliery was actually on the other side of the River Severn, and the coal was transferred to the washeries (seen here behind the wagons) by an aerial ropeway.  The colliery closed in January 1969 leading, in due course, to further discussions with British Railways about possible purchase of the now disused railway.
Again on 17 July 1966, and just south of milepost 144½, were the sidings which served Alveley colliery (now the site of Country Park Halt). The colliery was actually on the other side of the River Severn, and the coal was transferred to the washeries (seen here behind the wagons) by an aerial ropeway.  The colliery closed in January 1969 leading, in due course, to further discussions with British Railways about possible purchase of the now disused railway.

25 March 1967 was a landmark for the Severn Valley Railway. Our first locomotive, Great Western Collett 0-6-0 No. 3205 arrived, together with 4 coaches. The locomotive had been moved from the Dart Valley Railway by its custodian David Rouse. Immediately, membership of the Society increased rapidly along with general interest in the Railway.
25 March 1967 was a landmark for the Severn Valley Railway. Our first locomotive, Great Western Collett 0-6-0 No. 3205 arrived, together with 4 coaches. The locomotive had been moved from the Dart Valley Railway by its custodian David Rouse. Immediately, membership of the Society increased rapidly along with general interest in the Railway.

Our very first visit by Santa was on 24 November 1968, when he arrived at Bridgnorth by train and then spent the day seeing children in a High Street store. Not the Santa operation of recent years, but it was a start!
Our very first visit by Santa was on 24 November 1968, when he arrived at Bridgnorth by train and then spent the day seeing children in a High Street store. Not the Santa operation of recent years, but it was a start!

This view, taken on 8 February 1969, shows the original 1895 footbridge linking the station with High Town. At this time work had also started on rebuilding the partially demolished signalbox, in readiness for the start of train services.
This view, taken on 8 February 1969, shows the original 1895 footbridge linking the station with High Town. At this time work had also started on rebuilding the partially demolished signalbox, in readiness for the start of train services.

In view of objections by Shropshire County Council and Chelmarsh Parish Council to our Light Railway Order application, a public enquiry was necessary and was held on 1 and 2 October 1968. On 6 April 1969, whilst awaiting the result of the enquiry, this impressive line-up of Severn Valley locomotives showed the world that we were “ready and waiting for the green light”, although it would be a further 13 months of negotiations before we were able to open on 23 May 1970.
In view of objections by Shropshire County Council and Chelmarsh Parish Council to our Light Railway Order application, a public enquiry was necessary and was held on 1 and 2 October 1968. On 6 April 1969, whilst awaiting the result of the enquiry, this impressive line-up of Severn Valley locomotives showed the world that we were “ready and waiting for the green light”, although it would be a further 13 months of negotiations before we were able to open on 23 May 1970.

Press Cuttings 1965 - 1970 

 
Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Kidderminster Shuttle Group

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Kidderminster Shuttle Group

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Kidderminster Shuttle Group

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

Click to read the full story. Kindly reproduced with kind permission of the Midland News Association

SVR News from the opening weekend 23rd May 1970



Issue No. 17 of SVR News celebrated the first steam engine on the Severn Valley Railway


As usual, SVR News was full of high quality photographs showing 3205 about the leave Bridgnorth station.


More incredible photos from SVR News


train cut out