SVRH

Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) Ltd was incorporated on 15 March 1972 to finance the purchase of the southern section of the line through the public share issue and to be responsible for overall policy decisions affecting the whole railway.

It was then re-registered as a public limited company on 15 March 1982 as company law changed in 1981, requiring limited liability companies whose shares may be freely sold and traded to the public to include PLC as a part of the legal company name.

SVRH owns the infrastructure – lines and stations, plus three steam locos, four operational diesel locos, and some carriages (full list). SVRH employs the paid staff and operates the trains. SVRH is responsible for safety, and provides contract engineering services. SVRH operates our shops, pubs and refreshment rooms.

SVRH shareholders are entitled to attend the AGM, but as an unlisted company, shares are not quoted on any trading platform. Issued share capital exceeds £10,700,000. There is no dividend – shareholders receive benefits based on their holding, and this gets revised by the SVRH board of directors – most recently from 2022

The Severn Valley Railway Company Ltd (limited by guarantee) has the largest shareholding at over 1.8m. The Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust Ltd has some 25k shares, many donated by shareholders with small holdings to support its work.

Also on this day,

in 1964, the signal box at Buildwas was taken out of use by BR

in 2020, the public train service was terminated due to government restrictions brought about by the pandemic covid-19 … as it turned out for 139 days as services did not recommence until 1 August.

Siphon

On 11 March 1976 GWR 1257 Siphon G Bogie Milk Van arrived on SVR, purchased from Wantage Road near Swindon.

Collett designed, 175 were built between 1936 and 1955 to two different diagrams and six different lots. The Siphon is an enclosed milk churn transport wagon. Being constructed on recycled chassis from earlier passenger carriage designs, they were not designated goods wagons, but carriages.

130 Siphon G, on a double bogied chassis of 50 feet, were built between 1913 and 1927, and commonly attached to the rear of passenger trains. This got the milk churns from farmer to milk processing facility in the shortest possible time.

1257 was built by Metro Cammell in 1927 and saw service with GWR and BRW and as the only remaining outside framed example, is considered of regional importance by the NRM. It was overhauled by GW(SVR)A 2004-2007 to be used for Santa Grotto duties and then a mobile store. It’s currently in Bewdley Yard for bodywork repairs.

Bridges

Our own Victoria Bridge is in good company. Its designer John Fowler became engineer to the Severn Valley Railway v1 in 1855.

He was a civil engineer specialising in the construction of railways, and in 1853 became chief engineer for the world’s first underground Metropolitan Railway, built with the cut and cover method under the streets (which earned him some £152k, now worth £13.9M), and the District Railway and Hammersmith and City Railway – now the majority of the Circle Line.

During his training he worked on the Aire and Calder Navigation, and the London and Brighton Railway with John Rastrick. With George Leather he was resident engineer on the Stockton and Hartlepool Railway, and appointed its engineer when it opened in 1841.

His client list included the Great Northern, the Highland, the Cheshire Lines, the East Lincs, and the OW&W. After I K Brunel’s death in 1859 he was retained by the Great Western Railway. His designs include London Victoria Station, Sheffield Victoria, Glasgow St Enoch, Liverpool Central, and Manchester Central where the 64m wide train shed roof was the second widest unsupported iron arch in Britain (after the roof of St Pancras).

His bridge designs include Grosvenor in the 1860s, the first railway bridge over the River Thames, and the 13-arch Dollis Brook Viaduct.

Our own Victoria Bridge was constructed 1859-61, and the near identical Edward Albert Bridge in nearby Coalbrookdale 1863-64.

When the Tay Bridge collapsed in 1879, Fowler and his partners Barlow and Harrison were appointed in 1881 to a commission to review the Bouch’s design for the Forth Bridge.

The recommendation was a steel cantilever, designed by Fowler and Baker, constructed 1883-1890. After its successful completion, Fowler was created a Baronet. Sir John Fowler 1st Baronet

Victoria Bridge on SVRWiki

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.