Relaying the footpath, part 1

On this day in 2012, relaying the brick footpath to the front of the station building had got this far…

so looking very smart

To reach this stage had taken many months of painstaking and cheerful effort which started the previous autumn. The cause was the risk to pedestrians from collision by vehicles as the path had sunken so far that the curb had become level with the driveway.

new and old levels of brick footpath

The remedy was to lift every single brick off the sand base and put aside carefully, then relay on a raised mortar base within new higher curbs also carefully mortared down. At regular intervals a protective post of cut-off rail was installed to ensure no vehicular intrusion.

More to come…

Opening the view

This vista from the Castle Walk dates back a while but does reveal the imposing position that the station was built on to create a prominent scene.

One of the facets of the restoration and redevelopment scheme was to open up the view again, and the work carried out by qualified volunteers back in 2015 has resulted in expansive views opened up from the front of the station across the high and low towns.

Since this clearance, the scene has changed a lot more – to be covered in a future post.

on this day… 16 February

1865, the GWR Traffic Committee sanctioned expenditure of £50 to relocate a spare crane from Stourport to Bridgnorth where it was ‘much required’.

1971, SVR formally agreed to buy the southern section of the line between Alveley Sidings and Foley Park for £74,000, subject to contract. This confirmed the provisional agreement reached with BR in August 1970.

Alveley Sidings, between Highley and Hampton Loade, opened on 30 January 1939 to serve Alveley Colliery, across the river. The Halt at the south (Highley) end of the sidings was used by miners travelling to the colliery by railway.

The sidings remained in use – accessed from Bewdley – for coal traffic after the closure of the Bewdley to Shrewsbury line in 1963, but became uneconomical to work. It closed in 1969, with the sidings and line north of Bewdley closing at the same time as no other source of traffic remained.

The area at the north (Hampton Loade) end of the sidings is usually referred to as Alveley Woods.

The Light Railway Order allowing passengers services between Hampton Loade and Bewdley was granted in May 1974, but the sidings were deemed unsuitable for the storage of SVR stock due to the remoteness of the location and the resultant risk of vandalism. They were eventually dismantled and much of the rail and point work reused elsewhere on the line. In 1996 Country Park Halt was opened on the site.

Book the coving

The annual repaint of the booking hall involves a lot of sandpaper and filler and paint. But way back in 2010-11 a much more significant rebuild was needed.

In the outer lobby the ceiling was stripped back for the timbers to be treated and the window frames were replaced. As Bridgnorth station is grade II listed, this required relevant permissions, and appropriate grades of timber and design.

Then in 2012 a reworking of the booking office space resulted in the L-shaped corridor to the back office, around a smaller self-contained ticket office for better security.

We take great care of our heritage architecture here, and the internal finishes have to be in keeping. So how do you fit coving to where it’s missing…? You make it yourself, taking the pattern from a retrieved piece to create a template. We were very fortunate at the time to have in our number a time-served builder and other willing trades. Colin and Robin were a fabulous double-act and greatly appreciated.

on this day..

1937, the 10 lever frame signal box at Burnt Mill Junction, originally ordered in 1894 between Shrewsbury and Berrington, was taken out of use by the GWR.

Berrington was the first station south of Shrewsbury, 4.25 miles away on the original Severn Valley line. On the opening of the line on 1 February 1862, it had a single platform and siding, with the station building on the east (Cross Houses) side of the line. On 14 June 1893 the GWR authorised the construction of a passing loop with a platform shelter. The Up platform was also extended, and a signal box and more significant sidings provided. In 1922 the station had a staff of 6.

On 2 February 1963 the goods yard was closed by BR. The station itself closed on 9 September, when passenger services between Bewdley and Shrewsbury were withdrawn by BR. Through freight services continued until 30 November.

The line through Berrington was maintained in working order for the move of boilers and other large equipment to Ironbridge power station on 22 April 1966, then the line south of Berrington was completely closed and the track lifted.

In common with all stations on the Severn Valley Railway, revenue from freight exceeded that from passenger services, and the fall in number of tickets sold between 1903 and 1938 was proportionately greater at Berrington than any other station on the branch.

Stations on the Severn Valley branch line between Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury were Linley, Coalport, Jackfield Halt, Ironbridge, Buildwas, Cressage, Cound Halt, Berrington.

Cleobury Road bridge

Bridge 35 allows the road towards Cleobury Mortimer to pass underneath the railway. The plate-girder construction has a span of 55 feet on the skew and 35 feet on the square. As the points are beyond the bridge, locos cross it to run round, and the ‘viewing path’ at the foot of Panpudding Hill ends next to its northern abutment.

It has suffered a number of lorry strikes, the most recent in February 2008 when the railway was due to reopen after repairs following the 2007 big storm. The southern abutment was found to be out of alignment by about 10cm, and an emergency road closure was needed. The work was completed and the railway reopened on time on Saturday 9 February.

reopening train Saturday 9 February 2008

this week

This week in SVR history:

February 7

1963, the Ensign at RAF Bridgnorth was lowered for the last time.

1970, the SVR collected several tons of used wagon timbers from Bescot, for us in replacing the treads on the station footbridge.

1998, 24105 LNER Gresley Teak entered service following restoration including conversion to a wheelchair open third.

February 8

1860, Chief Engineer Sir John Fowler reported that the contractors were in possession of 34.5 miles of land and that between Hartlebury and Bridgnorth over 9 miles of formation was ready for the permanent way.

1970, the rails on Hay Bridge were removed as work began to replace rotten bridge girders.

1972, two days of filming for a Walls Ice Cream commercial with 3205 and four GWR coaches, and 46443 and four LMS coaches. 686 Lady Armaghdale was used for shunting.

February 9

1983, the concrete deck of the new bypass bridge was poured.

2008, following the storm damage the previous year, the first section of line between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade reopened for passenger services.

Data courtesy of the svr wiki

Annual booking

booking hall stripped for painting

Every winter closure brings our booking hall its annual date with sandpaper and paint brushes. The same team plan and carry out the process – Stephen, Ann, Chris – taking pride in making the first impression for our passengers the best possible one.

plaster damage

As the station dates back to 1862, it’s not surprising that weather has taken its toll on the stability of the internal plaster. Each year this gets patched very gently – too rough and more falls off – to give the smoothest surface for a fresh coat of buttermilk, chosen to be warm and bright, and dark chocolate gloss.

plaster damage by platform doors
repairs to damaged plaster
looking toward the main entrance doors facing the town
primer on the platform doors
patching and priming on the outer lobby window reveal
where it wasn’t painted last time, under the wonderful mounted map

It takes many weeks to complete the whole process – each layer of plaster, primer, topcoat, takes a long time to dry – and the team are only available on Saturdays, but gradually it all comes together.

getting smarter…
getting there…
lots of drying time now needed…

With the longer closure this year, a more thorough job has been possible. The ‘after’ pictures will look very smart!

welcome back

The long closure for engineering works gives us space to get projects done that need an absence of passengers.

The Tuesday and Saturday Wailing Wall sessions have been busy and productive, welcoming new recruits and enjoying the home-baked rock cakes.

First job, taking down xmas decorations
and carriage numbers
and their gantries

Miles of fairy lights carefully unfastened, wound up, boxed and stacked in the events store. 8 carriage number signs and the gantries holding them, dismantled. Extension leads and fittings packed up. Hundreds of cable ties binned. All done very carefully and ‘working at height’ compliant.

Lamp posts

Our locally-commissioned lamp posts to an historically-authentic pattern. We prime and undercoat, and topcoat in county cream and purple brown, before installation

The lamp post project has been ongoing for many years. Grants from the SVRCT and SVRG to support our own funds enabled a further batch to be ordered, and the main driveway was illuminated just in time for the seasonal evening trains – a godsend for the wellbeing and safety of our passengers.

Digging holes in the east facing soil embankment was quick and easy for the five posts involved. Not so for these two destined for the boiler shop crossing area.

hole for lamp post
and concrete base
another hole
still digging
hard stuff, Chalkie’s concrete

They got there eventually!

a week later – look what we did! 🙂
new post in place
new post bedded in

A great job by all involved!