The team behind the SVR’s Bridgnorth station share offer has launched a concerted campaign to find the remaining £1.5 million the railway still needed to fund the most ambitious conservation and development project in its 52-year history.
2.5 million shares went on sale in November last year with the entire proceeds destined to provide much-improved visitor facilities while conserving and enhancing the architectural integrity of the distinctive neo-Jacobean station built in 1862.
Having passed the ‘magic’ million milestone in March this year, the railway now has just over five months to secure the remaining £1.5 million of investment needed before the share offer closes on October 31 this year.
There are three key work phases, the first two of which will be funded through share offer proceeds, starting with the construction of a new refreshment room and toilet building. Designed in the style of a typical Great Western Railway building of the early 20th century, the construction will use the traditional materials of brick, slate and timber.
In addition, alterations to the existing Grade II listed building will provide more room in the popular station pub, The Railwayman’s Arms, and the relocation of the existing shop will allow reinstatement of the original booking hall and waiting room. Tree planting activities will complete the first phase of planned works.
Work on Phase 1 has been underway since the end of 2016 and with foundations and groundworks complete, building of the new refreshment room has begun and will be finished later this year.
The second phase of the development will see the installation of the former Bristol (Bath Road) turntable in the locomotive yard offering, for the first time, the opportunity to turn locomotives at the northern end of the 16 mile line, which will also offer a genuine spectacle for enthusiasts.
Phase Two also includes improved car parking to the west of the existing boiler shop and enhanced road access, enabling SVR to cater for an increased number of visitors at the northern end of the line.
The third phase, although not the subject of the current share offer, will be a new accommodation building for the volunteer workforce, and will be based on a design built by the Great Western Railway for their staff at Didcot in 1944.
Long-time SVR volunteer and board member, Tony Bending, is tasked with leading the final months of the share offer campaign and called upon fellow enthusiasts to join in.
He said: “So far we’ve received applications from far and wide, from friends old and new, but we’ve still a long way to go in relatively little time and we would ask anyone who hasn’t yet supported us to consider doing so.
“Your support will play a vital role in preserving precious memories of the past, helping sustain the long-term future of our wonderful Railway for future generations. And there are even more tangible benefits too. Those with 100 shares or more receive travel benefits ranging from one free ticket each year to a free travel pass for the holder and up to three guests.”
To read more or to apply, go to www.svr.co.uk/shareoffer