The Severn Valley Railway’s March 17-19 spring steam gala turned out to be a stunning success.
A total of 4537 passengers travelled – exactly 1000 more than last year’s spring gala and ahead of estimates for 2017, so it got the new season off to a bumper start.
The railway also enjoyed 100% availability of advertised locomotives, including four with a Southern pedigree – particularly apt in the year that several heritage lines are marking 50 years since the last steam on the Southern Region.
From the Nene Valley Railway came recently-overhauled Bulleid Battle of Britain Pacific No. 34081 92 Squadron, making its first visit to the line and running alongside Bridgnorth-based sister No. 34053 Sir Keith Park again, as it did on its home line the previous month.
Home-based West Country light Pacific No. 34027 Taw Valley made a Bulleid trio, while Ivatt 2-6-2T No. 41312 from the Mid Hants Railway, although being a London Midland design, spent its entire 15-year working life on BR in the Sunny South.
A third visitor was BR Standard 9F 2-10-0 No. 92214 from the Great Central Railway, which incidentally has booked Sir Keith Park for its October 5-8 autumn steam gala and is looking for another Bulleid.
From the home fleet were Kerr Stuart-built GWR 0-6-0PT No. 7714 which made its gala debut after returning to traffic in December, Port Talbot Railway/GWR 0-6-0ST No. 813, Mike Little’s Collett 0-4-2T No. 1450 and matching autotrailer, GWR 4-6-0 No. 7802 Bradley Manor and Ivatt 4MT 2-6-0 No. 43106.
All went well, apart from an incident on the Sunday, when it was reported that an official Severn Valley Railway lineside photographer had fallen on to the track south of Bewdley station sustaining a head injury.
The railway did not name the photographer, but issued a statement which read: “The emergency services and SVR duty officer were informed and the line was closed for approximately 30 minutes before services resumed.
“First aid was provided by a trained first aider (SVR staff member) at the scene.
“The casualty was airlifted to Worcester Royal Hospital for further treatment.”
The incident was reported to the Office of Rail & Road.
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