‘Last’ loose-coupled freight engine has centenary at big Severn Valley gala

TWO significant centenaries and a railway birthday will be at the centre of the Severn Valley Railway’s June 2-3 goods gala.

The event will see up to two goods trains in operation alongside passenger services each day, showcasing the changing face of freight traffic from the 20th century through to the modern day.

Visitors will be able to compare and contrast a GWR heritage goods train hauled by No. 2857, a Class 66 modern freight, parcel loading and unloading at Arley and displays of vintage commercial road vehicles on display along the line.

Following a lengthy heavy overhaul, GWR 2-8-0 No. 2857 re-entered service on the Severn Valley Railway on July 25, 2011, its first public use since December 1994. On July 26, 2011, it is seen at Dowles on the 1pm Kidderminster-Bridgnorth service. BOB SWEET/SVR

Bewdley yard will be open for visits and, to mark its 150th birthday, the SVR’s Eardington Halt will be open to the public on both days, with various special attractions, although trains do not stop there.

The showpiece event will also herald the arrival of the Cavell Van, which will be on display at Arley. The van is part of the commemorations to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, and a key feature of this year’s Step Back to the 1940s Weekends at the Seven Valley Railway in June and July.

In 1919, it was used to bring back the body of nurse Edith Cavell from Belgium, where she had helped 200 prisoners of war escape from the Germans before she was caught and executed.

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