LRO

Feb 28 1973 saw the first stage of the Light Railway Order for the southern end of the line come into effect.

The Order granted BR the power to operate as a Light Railway (under the Light Railways Act 1896). The Order was then transferred to SVR in 1974.

It covered the existing boundary at Alveley to a point 247 yards east of the Stourport Road Bridge. Power was also granted to operate over the Stourport Branch from Bewdley to a point 302 yards south of the southern portal of Mount Pleasant Tunnel.

Previously on this day,

In 1872 the GWR Board approved the provision of a single needle telegraph instrument at Eardington – presumably to control traffic in the loop siding

In 1894 the GWR proposed to make Coalport a crossing station, with a second platform and additional sidings.

Bypass for LRO

On 23 February 1970 the SVR entered into an Agreement with Salop County Council that the Company would dedicate the necessary land to build Bridgnorth Bypass, which would sever the line south of Bridgnorth. The SVR would then be responsible for construction of a bridge over the bypass. This agreement was necessary before the LRO could be granted to reopen the line.

before the bypass

Shropshire County Council had first announced plans for a bypass at Bridgnorth in around 1937, although by the 1960s no decision had been reached.

In response to BR’s application on 1 February 1968 for the first Light Railway Order, the Council objected on the grounds that it would add a further £60,000 to the cost of the bypass, were they to build it (for context, the SVR were negotiating with BR to buy the first section of the line for £25,000 at the time).

As the result of pressure from the Minister of Transport, SVR was advised to enter into an agreement with Shropshire County Council so that if and when the proposed bypass was authorised by the Department of the Environment, the SVR would dedicate the necessary land required by the Council to build the road, and then fund the building of the substantial bridge needed to keep Bridgnorth rail linked. The agreement enabled the LRO, so that public trains could run.

[By late 1972, with the bypass becoming a realistic prospect, concerns were mounting that Sir Gerald Nabarro could use this as a reason to abandon Bridgnorth… more on this another time]