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LNER Newsletter No 65 - December


It is with sadness that we have to report the death on 7th December, after an illness, of our SVRCT LNER Group’s illustrious Vice President, Tim Godfrey FCIM, F Inst D, FFB. Tim was one of Sir Nigel Gresley’s grandsons and had been a great friend and supporter of our Group since his appointment as our Honorary Vice President in 2008. Tim’s funeral is expected to be on 26th January, and any readers wishing further information should contact the newsletter editor. In his memory, we reproduce pictures of Tim in action in his rôle as our Vice President.

At Kidderminster on 16th August 2008 for the launch into service of GNR Corridor Composite 2701 and for the presentation of Sir Nigel Gresley’s top hat on loan to the SVR’s Engine House for display there.

In these two pictures Tim Godfrey clearly enjoyed an opportunity to be on the footplate of an A4 travelling with his wife Ann in the beautifully restored LNER Kitchen Composite 7960.

This was one of 7960’s first public service duties on the SVR when A4 4464 BITTERN, in full garter blue livery with its side valences, visited the SVR for the 2012 spring gala.
Again with his wife Ann, in 2011, Tim drew the winning tickets in the SVR Association’s raffle to assist with the Charitable Trust’s purchase of LNER Tourist Third Open 52255. 

At the Engine House Tim later pointed to his grandfather’s name in the roll of honour for Railway Transportation Units of the Royal Engineers in World War 2.


Another special occasion where Tim officiated for us was the roll-out of former Brake Pigeon Van 70759 after its costly re-roofing to remedy the ravages of time and corrosion. That vehicle is now in regular SVR service carrying passengers as Brake Third 24506 in our teak set. It joined the set just in time for the visit of Gresley A3 Pacific 60103 FLYING SCOTSMAN in 2016.

The picture (below left) shows Tim Godfrey (holding one of his grandfather’s hats) with (left) Nick Paul, Chairman of SVR Holdings PLC and (right) David McIntosh, then the chairman of the Gresley Society Trust.

Tim was also present at the 2014 re-entry into service of Tourist Third Open 43600 after an overhaul and the major improvements to that carriage’s interior. (Above right) Here he is seen sharing a seat at one of the new tables with Nick Stringer. Nick is the current chairman of the LNER Coach Association based on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

This last image shows Tim Godfrey, again with Sir Nigel Gresley’s hat, enjoying his day with us on 21st September 2016 on the SVR Charitable Trust’s historic fund-raising train. This was the first time since 1964 that a Gresley locomotive (co-incidentally FLYING SCOTSMAN each time) had hauled a complete train of nine Gresley teak carriages. It also marked the end of the SVR’s Gresley teak train’s 42-year restoration phase. Tim was accompanied that day by his wife Ann and by their friend Marian Crawley.

Marian is the widow of the late Malcolm Crawley. Malcolm had been chairman of the Gresley Society Trust and had started his career as a Doncaster Premium Apprentice with Arthur Peppercorn, the designer of the post-war A1 and A2 Pacifics including BLUE PETER. Peppercorn also inspired the new-build A1 TORNADO.

We salute Tim’s memory on the occasion of his passing and are forever in his debt for all that he did to support the Severn Valley Railway’s LNER restorers.

LNER Newsletter No 63 - October


It’s good news to welcome 24105 back into service after its major overhaul. It is now complete with its new more robust seating, LNER-style lights, and improvements to its wheelchair-friendly toilet compartment. This gives easier wheelchair access plus a repositioned wash-basin and simplified plumbing. This vehicle sets new quality standards for how heritage railways can provide a better experience in the 21st Century for our less able visitors. TTO 24105 was returned to the Gresley set on 17th October, having been greatly missed since it went for its overhaul earlier this year. The first picture shows how its high gloss varnish and white roof contrast with the adjacent TTO 43600, which was similarly liveried back in November 2014 after its own major overhaul – see LNER Newsletters 39 and 40.

The other pictures show the modern standard wheelchair ramp (replacing 24105’s earlier very heavy metal ramp), the rebuilt ‘single leaf’ doorway into the saloon, and the access doorway as modified by the LNER Coach Fund at the time of the original restoration. Also shown is the teak set with 24105 on a ‘footplate experience’ train at Arley.



The Toad now has a fully working new stove – either that or our esteemed Project Manager, Richard Gunning, has been elected Pope. The new stove has been made possible by a generous donation from one of our stalwart supporters.

The vehicle’s restoration is coming on apace now with painting in full flow and some wonderful internal scumbling, thanks to the artistry and skill of Dave Massey.
17410 once again has a working handbrake, and work is being done with fitting of the guard’s vacuum brake ‘setter’ handle.


Lastly a mention of this historic milestone with completion of a new-build engine replicating the L&B’s original ‘Baldwin’ loco LYN. The engine was built by Alan Keef Engineering near Ross-on-Wye. It incorporates improved design features such as roller bearings and a higher boiler pressure compared with the long-scrapped original.  

Congratulations to the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway for this great achievement. The L&B are also working on their fifth replica coach ‘somewhere in Essex’. The L&B’s narrow gauge line is well worth a visit if you are ever in their area. It is only short at present, and action is in hand to acquire sections of the old formation and extend the operational line as resources and local permissions allow.

But without doubt, this is a project determined to succeed.

LNER Newsletter No 62 - September


One of 2017’s highlights has been the Gala visit of Great Eastern Railway Y14 0-6-0 from the North Norfolk Railway. This class worked lighter branch line goods and passenger trains and in LNER days was known as J15. Your editor recalls putting a few bob into the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Society’s appeal for funds to save this engine, then running as BR 65462. It is a lovely survivor of a versatile and capable class. With a low axle loading these locos could run virtually anywhere on the GER network. Even in their twilight years, a J15 rescued a failed Thompson B1 4-6-0 and hauled the complete East Anglian express into Liverpool Street.

We look forward to a visit by the NNR’s GER B12 4-6-0 to the 2018 spring gala!


Steady progress here. The body overhaul is largely done. The roof timbers are secure again with nearly 1000 new bolts holding them firmly into the steel frame hoops; and the new roof canvas has its traditional white finish. The new tables, the re-designed & reupholstered seats and other fixtures are now in their rightful places. The toilet compartment’s complete redesign is not quite finished. The aim here is to make wheel-chair access easier and more practical; and the plumbing is being simplified too. Externally, the revarnishing and lining out is done. So 24105 now just awaits its mechanical overhaul prior to a return to traffic.


Good progress here too. The exterior is again looking respectable and, with a waterproof roof, it can lose its cover. The interior is also coming together well. The July ‘Peep behind the Scenes’ day produced a steady flow of visitors, aided by a new Trust poster to advertise our project. Our collection bucket raised £55.85. With sponsorship and gift aid, nearly £90 was raised on the day, a fair result for a wagon.  The SVR Trust raised £2625 from ‘Peep’ entry wristbands. We’ve also had some more of floorboards sponsored - but another 21 of these still await a sponsor at £15 a panel... 

Please keep the Toad donations coming. A donation form and a list of available items are at: http://lnersvrcoachfund.org.uk/Donations_and_Gift_aid_TOAD_17410_form.pdf



Many readers will have read about the vandalism outrage inflicted on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s superb set of Gresley and Thompson carriages in July. These historic carriages have been painstakingly and lovingly restored, over many years and at great cost, by our very good friends in the LNER Coach Association. The worst damage was in Buffet Car No.641, with all its windows smashed and other damage and wanton mess. Seats were slashed throughout the set, and damage done to mirrors, light bulbs and lamp shades, including the specially made lamp shades in Thompson Corridor Third No.1623. Quite apart from the repair costs, all this has caused considerable distress to the Moors’ LNERCA restoration teams and the carriage repairers. Our thoughts go out to them.    

A ‘teak-set-appeal’ fund set up by NYMR quickly raised £50k enabling progress to be made in remedying the damage. It is good to report that, apart from Buffet Car 641, the set has already returned to service. 


GNR 2701 

We understand that Stoneyford Lodge, Derbyshire, from where our GNR 2701 was rescued (after a failed pub restaurant coach project), has closed for demolition. GNR 2701’s body had been found resting on packing in the car park with its bogies nearby. Messrs Allelys, the heavy lift experts, somehow managed to extract them all in one piece down a very narrow lane. A video of the ‘big lift’ is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhHzsWTW5nI


GNR Open First No.397, built 1912, has a continuing existence in the north-east as a much modified ‘Valley Junction Restaurant’ in Jesmond. This can be viewed at: https://www.valleyrestaurants.co.uk/valleyjunction.php

 Who knows, one day this too might run again as a restored vehicle – at least it is being cared for in the meantime.

(Information by courtesy of David McIntosh’s excellent new book entitled ‘Gresley’s Legacy: Locomotives & Rolling Stock’).

LNER Newsletter No 61 - June


This major overhaul is at last coming together at Kidderminster. Bodywork repairs are done; teak panels are back on the framing; the new more robust seating is being installed; and varnishing has begun. The vehicle is needed back in the teak set so as to provide an acceptable attractive seating area for our passengers who use wheelchairs.


This project is progressing too. The van has a brand new floor throughout the guard’s cabin and veranda. We have had a generous donation for the wood to re-panel the roof (thank you Mr B). But only four of the 37 already-laid floorboards have a sponsor, and it would be great to be able to tick these off too. Sponsoring a floor board (or a few) at £15 a panel is a fairly painless way of helping this important project.

Another generous donation has also enabled us to start serious planning and quotation-seeking for restoring the guard’s stove, the old one having suffered advanced rust and decay needing major surgery. A big ‘thank you’ goes to our stalwart MH for this.


This time the ‘footnotes’ are positively ‘centipedal’ – though my spell-check doesn’t recognise the word! This excellent picture (Below) is included for its caption alone (‘Scotsman through the gauges’), though it is also a nice memento of Flying Scotsman’s SVR visit last autumn.

TORNADO’s 100 mph test-run

In case you missed (or would like to see again) the BBC’s excellent half-hour film, “A High Speed Ride”, about this event, the video now on YouTube at the following link:    https://youtu.be/7BUs5eEyEPI

Thompson post-war pressure-ventilated carriages

These post-war vehicles appeared on East Coast services in the late 1940s before nationalisation. They ran the top-flight expresses such as The Flying Scotsman and the non-stop Capitals Limited (later renamed The Elizabethan). Most of this steel panelled LNER-style stock corroded badly and became early withdrawal candidates. An excellent restoration survives on the Llangollen Railway – Thompson Buffet 1706.

One of our group members recently visited the buffet car. So a picture-feature of 1706 seemed desirable. Above are some stills from the film mentioned below, and on the right are two interior shots as restored.

If you enjoy 1950s nostalgia, do take a look at: https://youtu.be/ghkqGfUy4xs

This link is to the 20 minutes British Transport Films Elizabethan Express, in which Thompson Buffet Car 1706 is one of the stars. The Elizabethan was the east coast’s crack non-stop summer-only King’s Cross-Edinburgh express introduced to mark our Queen’s Coronation in 1953. It featured an early version of air conditioning. During school holidays at age 13 your correspondent regularly witnessed the morning north-bound train through his local station, Oakleigh Park. And in term time, if I cycled ‘like the clappers’ from school, I could just make the afternoon’s southbound service there – it was rarely late after its journey of nearly 400 miles.

Try to ignore the commentary script and the producer’s strange reasoning of starting the filming at Waterloo. The film is one of the gems in the BTF’s collection. It also shows how society has changed over the decades. See also:



Bitten & a charter of seven of our lovely teaks  

Take a look at: https://youtu.be/R_yX2FrUzmU                       

This video shows how preservation should respect a designer’s original livery concept.There are some lovely views of the Valley – and, for the most part, a good demonstration of a well-fired loco with a correct white or clear exhaust. Also seen is SVR stalwart, Frank Cronin, working the shovel.

Any LNER fireman putting out the great volumes of black smoke so beloved of today’s photographers would have been reprimanded by his management, as this indicates uneconomic use of the coal’s calorific value. These days this is mostly done to please the more misguided photographers, regardless of the wasted coal expended.

Congratulations to our Kirkby Stephen friends

After five attempts the group has secured a £954k HLF grant towards their aim of restoring an 1889 NER J21 0-6-0 goods locomotive, once so characteristic of railways in the north east. The grant will be used to develop a heritage and interpretation centre at Kirkby Stephen East. One day we may hope to see the J21 at an SVR gala...

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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