first impressions

BH entrance proposal original

So there I was back in Spring 2011, grappling with the challenge that the new owner of the pub opposite had presented. He knew that our lower car park did not look like the entrance to a leading heritage steam railway. He knew that his customers would cheerfully park there, assuming it belonged to the pub. It became very frustrating driving past that spring/summer and seeing all those cars whose drivers were taking advantage of us.

I took loads of photos from all and every angle, and I realised that visitors approaching from the north – down the hill – simply did not get any clue that they had arrived. We even once had a police response from Shrewsbury who drove straight past and had to turn round having worked it out. I wanted to show our local management what I believed was the problem. When you know somewhere like the back of your hand – you drive into the site every week for years – you simply don’t see it how it really is. The photo compilation was designed to remedy that – look at the photos and see what our first-time visitors see. It took a while but I persuaded our WWCC team that my proposal was achievable.

BH entrance proposal proposed

Having secured support and agreement, the next stage was to put together the planning application. At Bridgnorth we’re the only Severn Valley Railway station in a Conservation Area. The process took the rest of the summer.

existing site entrance

In the meantime we did lots of planning of the methodology, which would involve entirely volunteer labour, preparing, assembling and installing a lot of brick wall and timber paling fence.

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bill of q

To be continued…

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Fenced in

IMG_3558 IMG_3544

The project to construct the perimeter fence to make it somewhat more obvious that visitors are entering a heritage steam railway station has taken a long time.

The next few posts will document the process. We’re just about getting used to its appearance, although there’s lots more to do to make the first impression that visitors have fitting of Severn Valley Railway’s jewel in the crown.

first impression from south

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SVR on BBC Inside Out feature


19 minutes in.. the Inside Out team report on how the preserved railway started and includes some impressive vintage film

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Kidderminster Railway Museum


The Kidderminster Railway Museum people are celebrating their 25th Anniversary later this year – there will be lots of special events for us to enjoy, details of which will be posted by the end of March.

Their March opening hours:
1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th – 9.30am (Sundays 10.00am) to 6pm
20th, 21st, 22nd (Gala weekend) – 9.30am to 7pm each day
28th, 29th, 30th, 31st – 10.00am (Saturday 28th 9.30am) to 6pm

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The castle walk


Once upon a time a station was built on an imposing site so that it was clearly visible from all around… Well we can’t do much about the building that has encroached since those early days in the late 1800s, but the ‘greenery’ that has cut us off visually is now being cut back (following granting of necessary conservation area permissions) – and look! We can see the Castle Walk from the station.

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Welcome to Bridgnorth Station…


The new fence is making quite an impression. We aim to have it completed by spring gala, and with the enthusiasm of the team, and weather permitting, it should be achieved.


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Hunting the founding plaque

Severn Valley Railway hunts founding plaque

Steam locomotives at Bridgnorth station in 1967Steam locomotives were displayed at Bridgnorth station in 1967 ahead of the heritage line’s opening in 1970

A heritage steam line is attempting to track down an original plaque marking its founding in time for the attraction’s 50th anniversary.

The Severn Valley Railway, a 16-mile line between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, was set by a group of steam enthusiasts in 1965.

A wooden plaque was displayed for 30 years in the Coopers Arms pub in Kidderminster where they first met.

Severn Valley said its fate after that is unknown.

Clare Gibbard, from the heritage line, called on the current owner to come forward and allow it to feature in a 50th anniversary exhibition opening next month.

Bridgnorth, Shropshire, 1880s (image: Kidderminster Railway Museum Archive)The original line was built in the 1860s to link Hartlebury, near Droitwich, with Shrewsbury
Bewdley Station in about 1910 (image: Kidderminster Railway Museum Archive)During the late 19th and early 20th Centuries the line was important for transporting freight as well as passengers
Grey line
  • The line was originally built in the 1860s
  • It follows the course of the River Severn from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, to Bridgnorth, Shropshire
  • It closed to through passenger and freight services in 1963, as part of the Beeching cuts
  • Steam enthusiasts first reopened a section of the line as a heritage attraction in 1970
  • The railway, run largely by volunteers, now carries more than 200,000 passengers a year
  • It has featured in many films including The Thirty Nine Steps (1978), Howards End (1992) and Sherlock Homes – A Game of Shadows (2011)
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