1st February 1862, 1966, 1968

On 1 February 1862 public services began on the newly opened Severn Valley Railway.

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On 1 February 1966 the Severn Valley Railway Society met BR officials who agreed to the £25,000 offer for purchase of the line and buildings, subject both to contract and a Light Railway Order being granted by the Ministry of Transport.

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On 1 February 1968 BR’s application for a Light Railway Order covering the line between Bridgnorth and Alveley Sidings was published. Once granted this would downgrade the Branch to a Light Railway which could then be transferred to the SVR.

ex-Pensnett five upper sections

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#OnThisDay in 1969 the five upper sections of the ex-Pensnett signal box were lifted into place at Bridgnorth

Bridgnorth has had a number of signal boxes during its existence.

Initially construction of two boxes was authorised in 1891 and these were brought into use in October 1892.

Bridgnorth North signal box was situated north of the station on the Down side, where the two lines converged into the single line. The foundations can still be made out on the embankment side.

Bridgnorth South Signal Box was at the south end of the station on the Up side, opposite Pan Pudding Hill where it could control access to the goods yard. A photo of the latter box circa 1900 appears in SVR news edition 44.

In 1923 both boxes were replaced by a large single central signal box. It was far larger than Bridgnorth Station layout really required with many spaces in the lever frame.

This was future-proofing for alterations required for the planned line to Wolverhampton that was never constructed. This was closed by BR on 2 December 1963, and the upper structure was demolished in 1965 just before the arrival of the SVR Society.

The masonry base of the former central signal box was originally slightly longer than it is today. Evidence of this truncation may be found by inspection of the brickwork towards the northern end on the front wall.

The upper timber section was replaced by an ill-fitting box originally built in 1925 which was relocated from Pensnett in December 1968 and erected during the following year.

The frame originated from Windmill End Junction signal box, with parts of the interlocking and signalling instruments taken from Arley signal box, which would later require that box in turn to be re-equipped when the SVR extended southwards.

 

#OnThisDay 2 January

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In 1860 a young man James Painting died from injuries received after he was run over by some railway waggons near Berrington during construction of the SVR

In 1875 the Kidderminster Times reported that construction of the loop line to Bewdley would begin as soon as the weather became favourable

In 1905 the first halt opened at Foley Park with a full service of two railmotors introduced on that section

In 2018 34053 Sir Keith Park ran her last SVR services before her move to Swanage the following week

#OnThisDay 1 January

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In 1869 the Tenbury Railway was transferred into joint LNWR and GWR ownership

In 1948 following nationalisation, the Severn Valley branch of the Great Western Railway became part of British Railways Western Region

In 1963 control of the Severn Valley Branch passed from BR’s Western Region to their London Midland Region

In 1969 GWR 178 Autotrailer Third first arrived on the SVR

In 1977 Bridgnorth signal box suffered a fire – the resulting damage to the structure and equipment took several months to repair

In 1988 SE&CR Open Goods Wagon 12522 arrived on the SVR

In 2001 all SVR trains became non smoking

 

#OnThisDay 31 December

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In 1835 a ‘Grand Connection Railway’ was advertised in the Worcester Journal, seeking capital of £800,000 and intended to run via Stourport, Kidderminster, Stourbridge and Dudley to Wolverhampton

In 1858 the Board of the Severn Valley Railway agreed to pay an additional £20,000 to build the railway to double track width

In 1968 future resident 42968 was withdrawn from service by  BR

In 1977 the frame of 3205 was lowered onto the wheels using the 30 ton steam crane

In 1988 the total number of passengers carried in a single year exceeded 200,000 for the first time

 

#OnThisDay

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in 1973 the first of two days of “Santa Claus” specials ran between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade, hauled by ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST WD 193. The weekend marked the SVR’s first Santa services

in 1976 BBC1 screened their adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ghost story ‘The Signalman‘, scenes for which were filmed on the SVR

in 2001 SR 34027 Taw Valley took the Christmas Chester Chuffer from Birmingham International to Chester

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in 2001 following a successful appeal for lottery funding, the LNER Coach fund received permission to begin work on GNR 2701