Severn Valley steam trains return to normal after loco shortages

3rd August 2012

SEVERN Valley Railway steam trains are running normally again this weekend, after a series of setbacks last week which forced the Kidderminster – Bridgnorth line to increase its reliance on its historic diesels on a number of days.

The railway will have its full advertised complement of steam locomotives – three on Saturday, and four on Sunday - in service, for what, during the schools holiday period, is expected to be one of the busiest weekends of the summer season.

“We’re back on par again” said SVR General Manager Nicks Ralls today “and we expect steam locomotive availability to improve again from here.”

The return to service of two Great Western Railway steam locomotives which overran their overhaul schedules -  Churchward 2-8-0 No.2857 and Hawksworth pannier tank No.1501, the completion of routine maintenance and a ‘boiler washout’ for  GWR ‘Manor’ No.7812 Erlestoke Manor, and the arrival of an extra locomotive – GWR pannier tank No.3650 from Didcot Railway Centre for the peak season trains, has brought the SVR back into the comfort zone.

Ironically, during last week’s locomotive shortage, another recent addition to the Severn Valley Railway’s steam fleet – former Southern Railway ‘Battle of Britain’ class engine No. 34053 Sir Keith Park - was running over the line on ‘proving’ trials, and is expected to be ‘passed’ for passenger train operation in the next few days.

The railway carried a formal apology to visitors on its website during the steam locomotive shortage for failing to keep up to its normal high standards, and SVR Visitor Services Manager David Mee described the shortage as “a combination of mechanical setbacks all coming together at the same time – the ‘Murphy’s Law’ principle that’ if something can go wrong, it will’.”