SVR cranks up the guest list for its Spring Steam Gala


Severn Valley Railway have announced another guest set to appear at its Spring Steam Gala in April.

GWR 4555 pictured at Cranmore Station on the East Somerset Railway, credit Martin Creese

GWR Small Prairie 4555 will join the line-up for the gala, which takes place between 14th and 16th April. It is the only member of the original 4500 class currently in service, and is sure to prove popular.

The 4555 will appear alongside the already-announced visitor 4079 ‘Pendennis Castle’, as well as the SVR-based 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’, 7812 ‘Erlestoke Manor and GWR Pannier tank 7714, freshly painted into BR livery.

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Other members of the home fleet will also appear, including SR 34027 ‘Taw Valley’, freshly repainted into a ‘wartime black’ livery.

Negotiations are still ongoing with a number of owners for a third guest locomotive for the event.

Seventy-five of the original 4500s were produced at Swindon between 1906 and 1924, with 4555 being one of the very last batch to be built. It has the distinction of having never been sold for scrap, thanks to its sale in 1965 by British Railways to preservationists who first ran it on the Dart Valley Railway. Designed as a small, mixed-traffic engine, it’s well suited to hauling trains along a branch line such as the Severn Valley.

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GWR 4555 pictured at Mendip Vale on the East Somerset Railway, credit Martin Creese

“We’re delighted that 4555’s owners, the Dartmouth Steam & River Boat Company, have agreed to it coming to our Gala. It’s been on hire at the East Somerset Railway for the past three years, and now that their Large Prairie 4110 looks set to return to service, the Small Prairie can come to us.

“I think it’s going to be popular with our footplate crews, because of course, the SVR is already home to another of the class, 4566. This particular loco was withdrawn from service in 2017, but it’s worth spending some time viewing it at The Engine House, Highley where it’s now on static display, pending overhaul.”

Tickets, including money-saving multi-day rovers, for the SVR’s Spring Steam Gala are available at svr.co.uk .

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Special excursion tickets are also now on sale, for three round trips hauled by 4079 ‘Pendennis Castle’ on Thursday 13th April, the day before the Spring Steam Gala, with a 10% discount for those who’ve bought Gala tickets as well.

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