Volunteers to spend weeks restoring vandal-hit Severn Valley coaches


By Robin Jones

VANDALS covered two historic coaches in graffiti when they staged a Christmas raid on the Severn Valley Railway’s Kidderminster Town station.

The two coaches were parked up after the last Santa train on Christmas Eve and the damage was only discovered when staff arrived on the morning of Boxing Day.

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The culprits had defaced the woodwork on the 1922-built GNR teak corridor composite No. 2701 – used as part of the line’s ‘Flying Scotsman’ set – with pink and green graffiti.

The damaged GNR coach at Kidderminster. SVR

They also sprayed white paint on the side of 1938-built GWR corridor third No. 1146 and added the word ‘Banksy’ in black.

The affected coaches were removed from service leaving shorter trains for the post-Christmas period.

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However, a railway statement posted on Boxing Day said: “In true Severn Valley Railway spirit, we will continue with smiles on our faces and ensure the much-loved and painstakingly-restored vehicles are returned to service as quickly as possible for our passengers to enjoy.”

An investigation into how the vandals broke into the station was underway.

However, railway officials believe that the repairs will not be an expensive as first feared.

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The graffiti-covered GWR corridor third. SVR

Volunteer labour will be used throughout January to rectify the mindless damage, with the knock-on effect that it will set back the line’s winter maintenance programme.

Severn Valley Railway Holdings vice-president Mick York said: “It was a sickening thing to happen but fortunately it’s a problem that can be solved. It will take three to four weeks but it’s not serious damage.

“It will take volunteers away from work which they would otherwise have been doing on the rest of the fleet of over 60 coaches.”

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