Yesterday I took my first visit to the Severn Valley Railway since becoming a member.
The day started with the 30 minute drive to Bridgnorth, a mooch around the station, platforms and shop there before boarding my first train of the day; 34053 Sir Keith Park, at the head of a 8 coach ‘blood and custard’ rake pulling the 10.50 Bridgnorth – Kidderminster.
A stop at Hampton Loade and Country Park Halt meant a slightly late arrival at Highley, where I left the train to look around the Engine Shed, the SVR’s museum.
I didn’t spend too long in the museum – little has changed in there except a really excellent exhibition about the floods they suffered in 2007 and the work done since – and headed back to a deserted station, eating my lunch in lovely peace and quiet, aside from a conversation with the young volunteer on station master duties.
The silence was shattered as the 12.51 Highley – Kidderminster arrived though with 7802 ‘Bradley Manor’ at the front of a Royal Scot coach set. I parked myself in the dining car and settled back as the train left Shropshire and entered Worcestershire.
The next stop was Arley. What a beautiful station. I was tempted to disembark and spend some time there to get lots of photographs for some research (the reasons why will be in a forthcoming blog) but as the weather had started to look iffy I grabbed a few rushed (and subsequently rubbish!) photos. However, straight after Arley comes one the SVR’s most notable landmarks; the Victoria Bridge. It’s quite a sight from the valley below, and it’s no less impressive to travel over.
After a stop at a wet Bewdley the train headed to Kiddermisnter, arriving bang on time.
There was a 22 minute wait as the loco ran round it’s train (allowing a quick look around the impressive station at Kidderminster) before I made the non-stop journey back to Bridgnorth, leaving at 14.00 and arriving one minute early (15.09) at Bridgnorth.
All in all, a wonderful day out. The SVR is full of friendly staff all quick to say a cheery hello, stop for a chat or help out, the trains, carriages and stations are all spectacularly maintained and the scenery is breathtaking. I’m very lucky it’s more or less on my doorstep. I’d very much recommend a visit.
As an aside, you’ll have read about my acquisition of a Hornby Hall, with the intention of turning it in to 4930 Hagley Hall, resident on the SVR. I knew the loco was undergoing maintenance, having been withdrawn from service. However, I got quite a shock when I saw it outside Bridgnorth shed!
I’m pretty sure that my model will be in service before the real thing!