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LNER Newsletter no 60 - April


TTO 24105’s current overhaul is still progressing, though this is another lengthy major work to remedy the ravages of time. Part of the problem is that currently SVR doesn’t have enough wheelchair-friendly vehicles to allow spares for phased withdrawals for the occasional overhaul. So the existing fleet soldiers on to ensure the public service. The SVR Trust has won a £75k grant from the Department of Transport to help transform the SVR’s travel offering for disabled passengers. This is to be used (a) to restore and convert an unused BR vehicle to accommodate five wheelchair users and their companions plus an accessible toilet on similar lines to early SVR projects (of which our Gresley 24105 was one of the first such adaptations on SVR) and (b) rebuilding a second carriage to provide dining accommodation for up to 16 wheelchair users.

For the longer term, there's a restoration plan to convert our current Bewdley workshop coach, GWR 5043 Corridor Third, to become another wheelchair-friendly coach and incorporating a much needed ‘GWR-style’ buffet facility for the SVR’s attractive second Great Western set – which currently has neither facility and makes do with a BR buffet car if available.

The pictures above show the state of 24105’s progress at mid April. The first image shows a newly varnished carriage door and some of the panelling being replaced after frame repairs and renewal of the ‘knee-iron’ angle brackets that give rigidity to the frame members. The centre picture shows a cleared saloon that will eventually gain new lino and fitting of the adapted seating units – the earlier attractive seating structures having succumbed to ‘wear and tear’ from today’s ‘weightier’ passengers. The third picture shows attention being given to the frame repairs made necessary by water ingress since the last overhaul. This is another facet of the long overhaul intervals caused by the service demands for wheelchair-friendly vehicles, which in turn mean less frequent revarnishings too. It’s a vicious circle of costs chasing practicality and resources – with no easy solution for any heritage railway. The fourth picture (right) shows the remade internal door that will give access to the wheelchair area of 24105’s saloon – pending its final installation.

Hopefully TTO 24105 will be finished for the summer traffic peak. Meantime the Gresley set can only offer the brake van area of our new Brake Third 24506 to accommodate wheelchairs in rather less friendly surroundings.

More on 24105’s history is at: http://www.svrwiki.com/LNER_24105_Open_Third


Work progresses here as time – and the demands of Gresley 24105 – permit. The pictures below show recent work. On the left are the new sandbox faces – still ‘decorative’ at this stage though work is progressing elsewhere on the design of replacement sandboxes. The right-hand picture shows the cleared cabin area that awaits the new floorboards. These can now be priced at £15 a length. And we need sponsors for thirty-seven (37!) of them please – of these 14 are for the veranda and 23 for the cabin.

... And that’s not counting the new roof boards needed for 17410 – another fifteen of these please, again at £15 each!

Honestly, we do unduly spoil our readers and supporters by providing all these opportunities to part with cash. It is however all in a good cause. When completed, our Toad will fill an urgent need to increase SVR’s stock of goods brakevans for use in demonstration goods trains and non-passenger stock workings. Other valuable revenue earning opportunities for the Railway include filming, photo-charters and occasional special event brake van rides.

Sponsoring a floor and/or roof board (or a few) is a fairly painless way of easing this project forward. A donation form can be downloaded at: http://lnersvrcoachfund.org.uk/Donations_and_Gift_aid_TOAD_17410_form.pdf

Do please keep the donations coming!

More pictures of the Toad project are at: http://www.svrwiki.com/GWR_17410_%27Toad%27_20T_Goods_Brake_Van and  http://www.lnersvrcoachfund.org.uk/gwrtoad17410prog2016.html


Our group’s annual meeting in March reported that sponsorship for the Trust’s Brake Third 24506 project had raised £50.2k which, with gift aid, achieved some £61.3k. With the £8.8k roof grant the total raised was £70.1k. That is a great result, and our thanks go to all who contributed. Every teak panel, all the lights and the LED bulbs, all nineteen doors, all the teak beading, the new window glass, the flooring, many of the mirrors, pictures and frames plus three complete compartments were sponsored, along with nine of the twelve pigeon baskets. Donations also helped to refurbish the guard’s van, the dynamo and regulator, to provide a new WC compartment, new gangway bellows and several new parts needed for the bogie overhaul. A fantastic achievement for all those involved. Thank you indeed. We could not have done it without such support. The result is there for 24506 to be experienced and enjoyed in the Teak set.

On a more general note on progress, there is a web link at: http://www.svrlive.com/lner-coaches


Readers may like to know that an article has been published in the Gresley Society’s respected journal, The Gresley Observer, recording the historic SVR 2016 achievement of a nine carriage Gresley teak train hauled by Flying Scotsman – repeating a similar meeting some 52 years earlier in 1964 when that Society ran a special all-Gresley teak train also hauled by that locomotive. Happy Easter!

LNER  Newsletter no 59 - Febuary


Last year the SVR Charitable Trust was awarded funding by Department of Transport to transform the facilities that SVR offers to our passengers who use wheelchairs. While TTO 24105’s current overhaul works are not part of that grant project, we are taking the opportunity to ensure this carriage is compatible with current requirements. As noted in NL 58, the original double-leaf doors into the saloon are being converted to a single leaf door for easier use by passengers in motorised wheelchairs. Here is the door being ably demonstrated by our two ‘models’ and at its later varnishing stage.

Others in the team are busy at the Kidderminster Works undertaking repairs and refurbishment tasks. Among the now routine overhaul tasks is work to secure the roof timbers, as the last thing wanted is any movement leading to canvas damage and rainwater leaks. The centre picture shows pressure being applied to a buckled lower panel caused by the ingress of rain water through a higher panel joint. This had also caused an adjacent window seal to leak. Some consequential frame repairs will be necessary. Meanwhile, drawing on experience gained from TTOs 43600 and 52255, new seat side panels are also being assembled and fitted. This has been made necessary by the failure of elements of the old seating constructed for this carriage in the original 1990s restoration. Despite the originals’ more authentic appearance, these seats sadly had not stood up to the very heavy use this popular teak stock receives in its present day SVR service.


Work progresses on the Toad as allowed by the other demands on the Group’s time. One small addition  is the van’s tail lamp bracket – here demonstrating its rôle with a lamp of LNER design.

More progress is receipt of the excellent castings for the Toad’s new trunnions and drawbar guides. These were costly but essential replacements for the life-expired, heavily rusted and cracked originals – see the ‘before-and-after’ pictures above. Their production was enabled through the generosity of a significant donation from one of our stalwart supporters – thank you indeed, Michael. They arrived in a superb shot-blasted steel finish, which needed a quick protective coat of paint to prevent any rust forming (unfortunately before a photograph could be taken). These essential replacements were made by a firm of experienced Railway engineers and came with a certificate of conformance.   

Do please keep the donations coming!

More pictures of the Toad project are at:   




These pictures show the progress being made by our good friends on the Great Central Railway with this important restoration project. This is steel panelled LNER Brake Pigeon Van 4149, built at York in 1936 to Diagram 198 and becoming BGP 70361 in the LNER’s 1943 renumbering. It is probably the most historically important surviving World War 2 ambulance coach.Other circumstances might have led to this van being dismantled to donate its underframe as a replacement for the corroded frame of what has now become our Brake Third 24506. Wiser counsels thankfully enabled an exchange to be done with the Railway Vehicles Preservation group at Loughborough for their decrepit remains of BGP 4069/70442. That latter Van’s underframe – one of its few sound parts – now runs under our 24506.

BGP 4149 was converted in 1943 for overseas use as a Casualty Evacuation coach. It was allocated to U.S. Army Hospital Train No.27 in April 1944 operated by the 43rd U.S. Hospital Train Unit. It was based at Bournemouth West between 25.4.44 and 12.8.44 with LNER Class B12/3 locomotive No.8509. While there the vehicle was included in seven operational trains including one to Swindon and Kidderminster with 316 patients. The carriage was then shipped to France on 14th August 1944 as part of the first U.S. Hospital Train on the Continent. After service in France it eventually formed part of the first U.S. Army Hospital Train to enter Germany (via Aachen) on 15th February 1945. It was used for 75 operational U.S. Army trains that carried over 22,000 patients.

LNER Newsletter No 58 - January 2017


The first picture shows our Tourist Third Open 24105 in the siding by Bewdley Buffet and in the form it was received from British Railways in 1980. It had been much modified, including blanking several windows, to become part of the ‘hush-hush’ civil defence trains for use in the eventuality of war. The second 1994 picture shows restoration work starting to recreate a passenger TTO adapted for wheel-chair use. This possibility arose because BR had added a double door access for the civil defence use.

The carriage is now due for its periodic SVR major overhaul, and the opportunity is being taken to upgrade the interior on similar lines to the recent improvements in TTOs 43600 and 52255. This involves dismantling and storing the tables, seating and other interior components. The seating’s construction has been investigated to determine how to undertake repairs prior to reuse of parts to be retained and also to remove an undesirable rubbish trap. The double leaf doors into the wheelchair area of the saloon are being modified to become a single leaf door and more ‘user friendly’ for powered wheelchair users. This and other improvements will ensure the carriage is compliant with current legal requirements. The carriage will also gain some LNER design wall-lamps; improved table coverings; a few more coat hooks; and other details.


Here are three important archive pictures of 17410 dating from around 1970/71 shortly after the Toad’s arrival on the SVR. The first shows the van in original ‘as received’ condition (along with what is now known as the ‘Cadbury’s Van’, a familiar sight on SVR). This picture confirms that 17410 arrived in ‘BR Bauxite’ livery, the standard for vacuum brake fitted goods vehicles. The second picture shows Bob Timmins and Colin Jenkins giving the Van its first repaint into GWR livery.  We’ll draw a veil over the ‘health and safety’ aspects of that picture – but in early restoration days the volunteers just got on with the job with the minimal facilities then available. These two survived to tell the tale! The third picture shows the Toad and ‘Cadbury’s Van’ as repainted, the latter vehicle being used for the Signals & Telecommunications department. We are indebted to David Massey for use of these pictures. Dave is still an active SVR volunteer nearly half a century on and these days works with the GW(SVR) Association on coach restoration projects and as our Group’s treasurer. He is also a highly skilled varnisher. SVR would certainly not be the railway it is today without this long and steadfast dedication by many such individuals. See link below for latest news on the Toad project: http://www.svrwiki.com/GWR_17410_%27Toad%27_20T_Goods_Brake_Van


Presentation: At our Group’s informal Christmas gathering we made a presentation to Richard and Doris Gunning of a framed photograph by Bob Green, showing the SVR’s beautiful nine teaks behind Flying Scotsman during the engine’s September visit. This was to thank them for their long commitment to creating a restored Gresley teak train for the SVR – Richard as our Project Manager and Doris as a key fund raiser over the decades (assisted in later years by her daughter Sue). Our Group Chairman, Hugh McQuade, who also chairs the SVR Trust, made the presentation.


Your editor found this much publicised ‘slow TV’ programme a rather disappointing ‘media’ production. It seemed a missed opportunity to add visual and educational interest by showing more of the Severn Valley’s geography, industrial history and its superb scenic delights. This could have been neatly done in the tried and tested ‘slow TV’ context by occasional on-screen text messages. And, need it even be said, there was not a single word about the unique SVR and national railway history being created behind the loco.

The September event was the first time for over half a century when a complete operational Gresley train had been assembled comprising a famous Gresley loco and nine restored Gresley teak carriages. That Flying Scotsman itself was involved in both the 1964 and 2016 historic events was surely worthy of a mention? 

There were a few brief shots of the whole train. Here are two stills from the transmission (© BBC). The first is a drone view taken between Highley and Arley, and the second shows the stationary train at Kidderminster Town, where the station is making a brave effort to replicate Doncaster. Happy New Year!

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