One of the Severn Valley Railway’s forgotten gems recently celebrated its milestone with an open weekend. Paul Appleton went along to find out more.
Eardington station on the Severn Valley Railway celebrated its 150th anniversary in style over June 2/3, with a special open weekend to mark the occasion.
The actual anniversary would have been on the Friday as the station opened on June 1, 1868. A nice touch was the delivery of a letter, from a passing train, from Malcolm Broadhurst at Arley on the Saturday morning. Malcolm is a former Kidderminster stationmaster and a valued supporter and advisor to the project to restore Eardington station.
The single platform station is currently the subject of a £34,000 project to repair part of the platform that was partially demolished 34 years ago when it became unsafe.
Led by stationmaster Steve Downs, 6000 reclaimed bricks were cleaned and prepared for use in the rebuilding of the platform by the Friends of Eardington Station. Contractors have largely completed the brickwork, and now all that remains is to fund the casting and fitting of new edging slabs.
The Friends group has raised around £13,000, with £6500 contributed by each of the SVR Charitable Trust and the SVR Guarantee Company. Around £8000 remains to be raised so that Eardington can return to its former glory.
Timetabled service trains last called at Eardington Halt in 1982, but it still sees occasional special trains, which are limited to three coaches due to the shortened platforms. The fully-restored station will be able to accommodate up to six coaches, but Steve was quick to caution: “There are no plans to reintroduce regular timetabled trains.”
What Steve and his team do hope is that once work is finished – and subject to raising the outstanding funds to complete the work – that trains can call at the station during special gala events. The 1-in-100 gradient precludes heavy trains restarting in the Bridgnorth direction, but local trains of shorter formations could call there running between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade in a typical SVR-style gala itinerary. A special one-off train has been mooted for November, but nothing has been confirmed yet – watch this space!
The open weekend saw a line-up of vintage cars in attendance, while the excellent lamp room was open for inspection, and the station building was suitably decorated, inside and out, and visitors could buy refreshments, including an excellent assortment of home-made cakes. The station’s velocipede was also operating along the siding with brave visitors having a go at operating the manually propelled platelayers’ machine.
Eardington truly is a wonderful spot from which to watch the trains go by and is unlike anywhere else along the line. The open weekend coincided with the SVR’s Goods Train Gala marking the 100th birthday of Churchward 2-8-0 No. 2857, which could be seen operating a loose-coupled GWR goods train.
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