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LNER Newsletter No 57 - December 2016

SVR’s superb coach collection

It was always a challenge for SVR to follow up September’s visits of Flying Scotsman and Tornado. But, being the SVR, the Railway did this in its usual grand style for the ‘end-of-season’ Gala. One of the main visiting locos was LMS ‘Crab’ No.13065 from the East Lancashire Railway. That engine returned to service in 2014 in the rich and glorious LMS Crimson Lake livery. It looked most pleasing running with the SVR’s set of restored LMS coaches. The SVR can uniquely run ten such coaches (12 eventually). This picture shows eight of these running with two BR Mark 1 dining vehicles at the back. These latter coaches were forming the volunteer-run Severn Valley Venturer dining service.

New-build A1 Pacific 60163 Tornado also returned to the SVR adding an LNER dimension to the Gala. Tornado’s further visit here was for some winter work, making use of Bridgnorth’s wheel drop facility. But, for once, Tornado was not the focus of interest!


December’s edition of Bewdley Town’s ‘Bridge’ magazine has, as its colour centre spread, a piece on the restoration work over the last 44 years to create a complete nine carriage Gresley teak train for the SVR. As is the way of things, news about carriage projects often gets overwhelmed by items about famous engines. This piece sought to redress that, particularly as much of the Teak Train work has been done at Bewdley - mostly out in the open and in all weathers...


This Christmas, BBC Four viewers can sit back and enjoy a sixty minute trip from the driving seat of Flying Scotsman, with a signal-by-signal guide to life on the footplate of the nation's favourite steam engine. In a special one-off ‘slow-TV’ treat for Christmas, the crew take locomotive 60103 down the Severn Valley Railway, making its way through the stunning landscapes between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster.

‘Flying Scotsman: From the Footplate’ is to be transmitted on BBC Four at 9pm on Thursday 29th December. Filmed during the engine’s visit to the SVR, the documentary will take viewers on a special ‘slow-TV’ one hour trip along the Valley in real time. This is something to look forward to as a post-Christmas treat while you finish up the mince pies. Remember to set your recorders! Just hope the carriages get a mention too.......



This recently out-shopped Tourist Third Open ran during September’s special event with a temporary information panel, as we wanted the finished version to bring the Teak Train story up–to-date with coverage of the Flying Scotsman visit. The finished version, with suitable pictures of both 60103 and 60163 hauling the nine carriage Gresley teak train, has now been fitted in 52255





An order has been placed for the Douglas Fir external planking needed for the bodywork refurbishment once the steel sections are finished. This allows the wood to be seasoned before machining to the required sizes.

The cabin-end buffers and a number of rivets have been removed. This gave access to extract the extensive rust under the corner posts and beneath the floor there. Corroded angle iron has been removed too. This means the destructive stage is now ending, allowing rebuilding to progress. Following the contract work done at the veranda end, the cabin end floor plate has now been welded to the headstock. This makes a more weather-proof joint reducing the risk of new rust gaining a hold.

The outer ends of the veranda side plates have been spot-welded to the new corner posts, thereby neatly closing up any gaps. The new steel side plates have been straightened to pull them into line with the doors. Work has also started on refurbishing the angles which form the brackets that hold the sandboxes to the sides. A recent donation allows us to order some further metal components. And a very sorry looking guard’s stove is now in store pending its repair over the coming months. Please keep donations coming in 2017!

The latest news and pictures on the project can be checked at:  http://www.svrwiki.com/GWR_17410_%27Toad%27_20T_Goods_Brake_Van


Historic pictures! One shows Doris Gunning at her teak train fund-raising post in the former LNER shop that used to reside on Platform One at Bewdley.The shop was housed in a wooden shed.

The second shows what is now our Brake Third 24506 in its early condition as received from the South Devon Railway. Richard Gunning says this picture was taken just before the few remaining guard ducket support screws were removed in a controlled way. One of the adjacent van doors did decide to drop off of its own accord shortly after an attempt was made to open it! Just as well that didn’t happen during its trip to us along the M5!!!

LNER Newsletter No. 56 - October


Memories of the SVR Charitable Trust’s historic special fund-raising trains on 21st September remain firmly with us. But the SVR has settled back to its more usual operations and is now preparing for the approaching Santa season.

Newsletter readers may like to know some of the initial results from the September event. Certainly the SVR Charitable Trust had a very successful fund-raising day on 21st September. As well as ticket sales revenues, an impressive £30,000 was raised by way of on-the-day donations from individual supporters, helped through the HLF match funding project and the addition of Gift Aid. This wonderful result shows the importance of making the fullest use of the Lottery Fund scheme** before this match funding opportunity expires in June 2017. The Trust’s total income from its special event was £75k, which will all go to support projects across the Railway. The event equally raised the Trust’s profile as a major player in the SVR’s future as well as helping to attract a wider new audience to our Railway.

The whole September special event led to extensive publicity with wide media coverage on ITV Central and BBC Midlands Today. The latter channel broadcast their 21st September evening news programme live from Bridgnorth Station. This included Shefali Oza’s renowned weather forecast for the region, on this occasion set against the background of our Gresley train, though on a rather gloomy damp evening. None of this would have happened without a huge amount of hard work and dedication from so many SVR people. The Trust is extremely grateful to all concerned in making the event the success it was.

YouTube also carries many videos of the event, all showing Flying Scotsman and our glorious set of Gresley teak carriages to their best. Readers may care to sample the following small selection of what is on offer – though be warned, they do include that dreadful defective whistle still being carried by 60103.

https://youtu.be/c5piBpJfWxo - SVRCT charity day train after leaving Bridgnorth on 21/9/16

https://youtu.be/hVne585Qhlw - The BBC Midlands Today evening report

https://youtu.be/IxrEJ5I96v4 - More general views of the event including the other public trains operating

https://youtu.be/yjLZk0zNfDs - Filmed from a drone flying between Highley and Arley. FS looks fresh out of its Hornby box.

Below are two more great pictures of the event. One by Rodney Towers shows Flying Scotsman with the nine teaks descending Eardington Bank and forming the Trust’s fund raising train on 21st September. The other by Richard Herrington shows the locomotive being turned at Kidderminster on its arrival from the main line. Magic!



These two pictures graphically show the progress now being made with our Toad project. The first shows the condition of the Toad’s veranda end as received, and the second shows the renewal work now done to fit new steel panels and either new or repaired frame sections. Quite a difference! What we need now, please, are some donations to help start paying for the project. We have received a handful of generous donations including one from Sir Nigel Gresley’s grandson, Tim Godfrey, who is one of our Group’s Vice Presidents. Tim has sponsored the two corner veranda frame posts, shown in the second picture and which are now in the process of being fixed permanently to the new sheeting.But much more is needed.So come on Great Western enthusiasts! Swindon’s honour is now at stake!


1. With all the celebrations of nine Gresley teaks being hauled on the SVR in September it is worth drawing attention to the comprehensive and well illustrated book by Messrs Hughes, Benham and Nettleton published earlier this year with the title ‘FLYING SCOTSMAN – the locomotive’. Its cover reproduces of one of the delightful paintings of Malcolm Root FGRA showing Flying Scotsman as LNER No.4472 hauling an express train of – yes, you’ve guessed it – nine Gresley teak carriages!

2016 is clearly a magical year, though even now your editor still half expects soon to be aroused from his slumbers to be told it has all been a dream.

This excellent book is available from the NRM at the modest price of £9.95.



2. Just as a light-hearted contrast, here’s another image that may tweak the tails of some of our Great Western friends. It shows an ‘LNER Mallard’ dealing somewhat unceremoniously with a ‘GWR Toad’. But, rest assured, we have no plans to adopt this as an icon for our current restoration of Van 17410!



LNER Newsletter No. 55 - September



The SVR Charitable Trust’s special fund-raising trains on 21st September were a hugely enjoyable and a resounding success. The whole ‘not-to-be-missed’ complex operation went extremely well. All the recent months’ of close planning of the day, both on and off the trains, paid off and can only have enhanced the Railway’s reputation for excellence. Running three full round trips with the nine-carriages Gresley set in among the SVR’s ordinary service trains was quite a challenge. But your editor heard only praise and admiration for the staff involved in making the day such a success. This includes those ‘behind the scenes’ activities such as the huge efforts to complete the interior upgrade of our open carriage 52255; the 200+ hours spent cleaning and polishing the nine teaks; the organisation, delivery and distribution of the hundreds of hampers and picnics to passengers of each train; the on-train and station volunteer staff; and dealing quietly and effectively with all the rubbish generated (up to 30 full-size bin-bags for each special train). The whole carriage set and the wider SVR shone, and your editor felt great pride in being part of such a special day. Among our passengers (See Right) were Tim Godfrey, Sir Nigel’s grandson, with his wife Ann and Marion Crawley, wife of the late Malcolm Crawley, a former chairman of the Gresley Society Trust and Doncaster Premium Apprentice with Arthur Peppercorn (the post-war A1 Pacifics’ designer, of which new-build Tornado is the modern 50th class member). The adjacent picture shows your editor inspecting new Brake Third 24506, which proved its worth as the operating hub for organising the excellent on-board food hampers (supplied by the Deli in the Village of Hagley – see menu below).

It is too early to say what the financial return for SVR and the Trust will be, but it is much to be hoped that those who enjoyed their day with us will respond generously and make the Trust’s fund-raising the success it deserves to be.

This was a significant day in the history of the SVR and of the Charitable Trust. The event brought together the iconic locomotive Class A3 60103 Flying Scotsman and, for the first time since 1964, a complete train of nine teak carriages designed by Sir Nigel Gresley. For the three fully-booked special return trains those attending were all invited to enter into the spirit of a ‘1930s occasion’. The passengers certainly did so with great enthusiasm, as did our wonderful set of nine restored Gresley teaks, which all came in their 1920s and 1930s livery of fully lined varnished teak. Perhaps the only attendee which hadn’t read its invitation sufficiently closely was 60103 itself, as it turned up in a 1960s outfit that didn’t quite match the theme of the day! Even new-build Class A1 60163 Tornado appeared for the Pacific Power event in an appropriate apple green livery that nicely matched the Gresley teaks.

Every passenger on the Trust’s trains received an attractively produced souvenir booklet which focussed on the locomotive and the restored set of Gresley teak carriages. Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the media attention on the event focussed solely on fame of the locomotive and entirely missed the significant rolling stock milestone achieved that day. But that’s nothing new in the world of railway preservation...

LNER Newsletter No. 54 - August


Our Brake Third has had its test runs at last! 24506 had a brief foray from Kidderminster to Bewdley on 11th August to check out some of the modifications made during its Kidderminster Works overhaul. The top pictures (© LNERCG) show this first test – suitably hauled by diesel shunter No.D4100 DICK HARDY, named after a well known railway author and former LNER Doncaster premium apprentice). A full line test run on 17th August was hauled by GWR 0-6-0T 813. The delightful third picture (© Bob Sweet) shows this at Daniels Mill.

This special edition marks completion of the SVR’s ninth Gresley teak restoration. 24506 will soon be joining our ‘all-Gresley Teak’ Set N to become the main brake in the public service LNER train. It will first be ‘run-in’ for a few weeks and, assuming all is well, it will then take up its new official rôle as the Set N brake. Pending its forthcoming overhaul, Brake Composite 24068 will be rested after the September special events with the LNER Pacifics.        

As has been commented to your editor, our 1943 full brake pigeon van 70759, now adapted as a Brake Third 24506, certainly ‘scrubs up well’! These pictures show just how far we’ve come on this project, which has involved repairs to damaged doorways, woodworm eviction, new floor timbers, a change of under-frame, a roof rebuild, and a revised internal layout to accommodate the revenue earning new compartments – not to mention the extensive fund-raising to pay for it all. It has been quite a challenge...

A short video of the 17th August test run is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyDbuLPdz6E









Tourist Third Open 52255’s major overhaul is also nearing completion. TTO 52255 is now in the mechanical shop to conclude its overhaul prior to re-entering traffic as part of the Gresley teak set. This will be in time for the September visits of A3 60103 FLYING SCOTSMAN and A1 60163 TORNADO.


‘Toad’ 17410 is commanding much of our time now, as we progress with minimum-cost survey, cleaning and corrosion removal work. But now some serious expenditure is needed to advance the project to restore 17410 back to operational condition. So this is an appeal for your generosity in the form of sponsorship moneys to help in this worthy work.

Imminent is a decision on the purchase and fitting of new steel to recreate the veranda end. Here the structure proved far too corroded for a simple ‘patch-and-paint’ job. Most of the steel panels and framework at this ‘weather end’ of the vehicle have had to be cut out and removed. The pictures illustrate the extent of the problems – including, literally, bucket-loads of rust plus a squirrel’s nut hoard and evidence of a rat’s nest!

We have received an attractive quotation to make and fit the new veranda-end steel panels along with the associated steel floor and framing. The new steel is to be fitted and welded on site by a local contractor.

So we now have our first ‘bucket-list’ of parts suitable for sponsorship to allow a rebuild of the veranda end as a first step towards the Toad’s new life on SVR.

 Here is our ‘Veranda List’ for this first structural stage of the project: 


  • Three wall plates (two side walls and one end-wall) at £300 per panel.
  • One new steel floor panel at £300 – beneath the wooden floor members.
  • Fourteen frame sections to hold the panels, including the upright and longitudinal sections at floor and waist height – at £50 per frame section.
  • Four sandbox faces at £50 per piece.
  • Two rebuilt veranda doors at £500 per door (picture right).


...And, for variety, we also seek sponsors please for –

  •  Two newly made windows for the other end of the cabin at £400 each (picture right); and
  • the central hatch opening at the non-veranda end. This complex wooden structure also has to be remade as it is beyond repair. Appropriate sponsorship is at £500.



This picture, dated 2/5/1932, appears in © ‘LNER Reflections’ edited by Nigel Harris, The book contains images from the Hulton Picture Library and was published by Silver Link Publishing Ltd in 1985 with several reprints.

The caption claims it is a ‘Flying Scotsman working’. But the departure is from King’s Cross suburban Platform 15, which at best would hold half dozen corridor carriages. More likely this is a trial for the famous ‘Beer Trains’ that developed into the ‘Cambridge Buffet Express’. The leading vehicle is a GNR Diagram 164K of which only ten were built including our Corridor Composite 2701. So there’s a fair chance this may be 2701...


Before its SVR adventures with a certain Gresley A3 locomotive, new-build A1 Pacific 60163 will set out from London’s Victoria Station on Thursday 8th September heading for the SVR. Travelling via Leamington Spa, Solihull and Tyseley, ‘The Severn Valley Venturer’ will pass through the revived Birmingham Snow Hill station, then on via Smethwick, Old Hill and Stourbridge Junction to Kidderminster where Tornado will take the SVR link from Network Rail. With No. 60163 still at the head, the train will call at Bewdley before travelling the length of our railway to Bridgnorth. Here passengers will have a break of around three hours. For the return journey the use of Bulleid West Country class Pacific No. 34027 Taw Valley has been requested as far as Bewdley, where a DB Cargo Class 66 diesel will take over for the return journey back to London Victoria.


Brake 4149 just might have been destined for SVR to sacrifice its underframe as a replacement for the corroded one under our Pigeon Brake 70759. Reflecting the known history of BGP 4149 against the anonymity of our 70759 and 70442 (the latter being the underframe and spares donor vehicle), wiser counsels led to the complex exchange of vehicles described in Newsletter No.3, which readers can find at: – http://www.lnersvrcoachfund.org.uk/news_letters/Newsletter_03-2011.pdf

Whilst working on the pigeon van/ambulance car BGP 4149 our Great Central Railway Vehicle Preservations colleagues discovered hundreds of chewing gum wrappers tucked into the bases of the steel roof hoops. These are thought probably to date to 4149’s wartime days when it served as an ambulance train vehicle in Europe. In that rôle the American soldiers that were carried in it were supplied chewing gum as part of their K-rations.



Yes, I know it’s more on the GWR theme. But your editor could not resist including this serendipitous conjunction of three attractive Great Western locos seen at Bewdley on 11th August. Tank loco No.813 was out on test following its recent overhaul at Bridgnorth; 4-6-0 No.7812 ERLESTOKE MANOR was arriving on a scheduled passenger service; and 0‑4‑2T No.1450 (currently a visitor from the South Devon Railway) was awaiting its next duty.

Earlier the day had seen 24506’s test run, and 813 has now had the honour of hauling our 24506 on its full trial run.

Every day’s a gala day on the SVR!

LNER Newsletter No. 53 - June 2016


Work continues in Kidderminster Carriage Works to finish this carriage for operation as the main brake vehicle in our Gresley set. Completion date and the final bill for the workshop costs are awaited. Sponsorship, including the most recent for the steam heat pipe has so far raised an impressive £48.7k, which with gift aid and the grant for the new roof means a total raised of £68k. More opportunities still await you, and every little helps!

24506’s body is complete apart from some toilet reassembly once a vital piece of its below-floor ’plumbing’  arrives from the makers. The mechanical overhaul is proceeding, but the pace is slower than hoped because of a staff vacancy. The steam heat has been completed, tested and passed fit. The draw and buffing gear has been refurbished, the handbrake mechanism bushed and pinned, and an overhauled pair of vacuum brake cylinders fitted on refurbished pivots to work through refurbished linkage. The rusted platework above the centre bogie castings has been replaced with new, whilst a badly bent bogie pivot pin has also been replaced. The dynamo and electrical regulator have been exchanged for a freshly overhauled set. The gangways have also been refurbished and are being fitted meaning that 24506 looks externally complete. But it still rests on its accommodation bogies pending fitting of its overhauled pair. 24506 is due to be completed and released to traffic by the end of July, when it will replace the very tired 24068 in Set N.


As reported in Newsletter 52, 43600 is back in service. With the clear evidence of movement in the roof boards causing splits and leaks in its 30-year old canvas (now resolved) it has been decided that 20-25 years should be the maximum expected life of these roof canvases.


Work continues with Tourist Third Open 52255’s major overhaul and interior improvements. Three months ago it was beginning to look unlikely to make its date with Flying Scotsman in September. However a supreme effort by the Paintshop staff, SVRCT apprentices, volunteers, the LNER gang and Martin, our French intern, has brought it along to the point where, barring unforeseen disaster, it will be smart and serviceable. The lining and livery may not be complete (a common wartime feature), and the toilets may not work. But it'll be presentable, watertight and with an improved 64-seat saloon interior. After the frame and panel repairs described in the latest edition of SVR NEWS, all the exterior panels and beading have been refitted, all windows replaced, the roof made sound and re-canvassed (the old one was 35 years old and just as bad as 43600's), and the fittings are going back. Internally the ceiling has been made secure and painted, new lino laid, ‘Rexine’ applied to the walls, and the reupholstered seats are being installed. The new wall lamps and the new donated pictures are being installed. Meanwhile the refurbished vestibules are in their tasteful caramel and teak paintwork. If time runs out on the livery, it'll be completed later in the Teak Train’s ongoing refurbishment programme.


Brake Composite 24068 also has a leaking roof from the ‘loose planks’ syndrome causing canvas splits. This is particularly annoying as its canvas is only 15 years old and so should have been good for another 5-10 years. To minimise further damage it will be withdrawn from service as soon as 24506 is ready, only reappearing for the Flying Scotsman and Pacific Power events. Its overhaul is scheduled to span the Christmas 2016 period, and we hope to smarten up the compartments with new upholstery on refurbished/new seat cushions. This will include new donated pictures (thank you, Neil) and, as a bare minimum, a good clean of the walls and ceilings. At its initial restoration in 1980, sapele wood was used as a teak substitute for some exterior panels on cost grounds. Last time round a few of these were replaced with teak where they had rotted. The others will be examined and replaced if in poor condition, or stained to match the others if they can be expected to last until its next overhaul in another 7 years.

Wheelchair 3rd Open 24105 has now been in traffic for 19 years needing very little ‘TLC’. But it too is leaking, mainly through the window frames, and would be withdrawn from service now if it could be spared. It will be withdrawn after the Christmas 2016 service for its overhaul to commence and will follow 24068 through the paintshop. Although the roof appears sound, canvas replacement is felt prudent given its 20 years age. The reproduction LNER seats made and fitted in 1996 have not stood the test of time, and these will be replaced with the now SVR standard "Gresley profile" seats based on the durable Mk1 structure. Quotations are being sought for a new set of ends to an updated style (based on those in 1920s vintage Diagram 27 series of Open Thirds); the related ironwork is already under construction. Otherwise, it needs a good tidy inside, some new paint, and exchanging the BR-pattern wall lamps for the LNER-style ones obtained a couple of years ago.


Tourist Third Open 43612 is due for its overhaul after 24105; it should be complete by mid-summer 2017. Apart from its 30-year roof canvas, it appears sound. Internally the BR wall lamps will need exchanging for LNER-style version.  We do have a set of LNER luggage rack brackets to replace the BR Mark 1 type currently fitted. But this is a time-consuming job and will depend on available resources. Most of the teak panels on this carriage are of poor appearance either through bad splits following "wild" grain patterns or failed jointing of narrow panels to make wider ones. We've enquired, but unfortunately our Moors LNERCA colleagues don't at present have the teak available to supply replacements. So these panels will have to do for the next seven years. LNERCA are attempting to source a log, and once a price is available we expect to launch a "panel appeal" for this otherwise very attractive carriage.


‘Toad’ 17410 has been plated to identify its new owner. The SVR Trust is to launch a fundraising initiative to raise £10k to restore 17410 within 3 years. Donations will be sought plus a parts and materials sponsorship scheme. Now partially dismantled for survey, it appears that most of the exterior woodwork and the floor need to be replaced (middle picture), together with about 75% of the veranda steelwork (third picture).  Fortunately most steelwork associated with the cabin should be repairable. A volunteer has agreed to bush and pin the brake linkage, and work has commenced. In addition to the new side doors (making of which was covered in Newsletter 51), work has also started on a new pair of opening windows for the non-veranda end. The guard's seat has been repaired and is at Kidderminster where the volunteer upholsterer will ‘do his thing’ when required. Similarly the vacuum cylinder awaits overhaul. An offer has been received to profile the tyres, but extracting the wheel sets may not be possible at this stage.

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