Seacows help lift SVR speed restriction

By Paul Appleton

SIX Seacow bogie ballast wagons, acquired by the Severn Valley Railway from DB Cargo in March last year, have seen regular use over the winter on ballasting work, along with recently repainted ‘Shark’ brakevan (plough) No. DB993876, another arrival in 2017.

Work during the winter six-week shutdown has included finishing repairs to the landslip at County Boundary, between Arley and Highley, which has required a £1 million solution involving soil nails and sinking new piling sheets, the work being completed by external contractors, much of the cost being covered by the railway’s insurance.

Laying ballast using the Seacows north of Bewdley Tunnel on February 15 with hired Class 37 No. 37688 in charge. L KING/SVR

The permanent way department have successfully dug out and disposed of existing fill from the trackbed and replaced it with 240 tonnes of fresh stone material, with the track relayed and then top ballasted using the Seacows and ballast plough. As a result, the temporary speed restriction, which impacted on the SVR’s timetable for the whole of last season, has been lifted with a return to the full line speed of 25mph.

Elsewhere, welding of the new continuous rail put down during last year’s winter relaying programme at the top of Eardington Bank has been completed so that the 15mph restriction there can also be lifted for the start of the new season.

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