Severn Valley remembers freak floods 10 years on

A SPECIAL train ran over the Severn Valley Railway to mark 10 years to the day since double freak floods decimated the northern part of the line.

The special train on Monday, June 19, used carriages from one of the UK’s most luxurious trains, the ‘Belmond Northern Belle’, which is stabled overnight on the heritage line in-between trips, hauled by a Class 57 diesel on the outward journey from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth and by home-based Bulleid West Country light Pacific No. 34027 Taw Valley.

West Country 4-6-2 No. 34027 Taw Valley heads over Victoria Bridge with the floods 10th anniversary special on June 19. KEN FELSTEAD/SVR

Month’s rainfall

The freak thunderstorm swept along the Severn Valley at around 8pm on Tuesday, June 19, 2007, producing a whole month’s rainfall in just 30 minutes and caused washouts in several places, leaving only the section between Bewdley and Kidderminster operational. As recovery efforts began, the railway was hit yet again by another torrential thunderstorm on July 20, which caused further damage.

One of the worst washouts was at Borle. SVR

To mark the anniversary, a new exhibition, 2007 Storm Damage – Ten Years On was launched at The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley, featuring a range of striking photographs of the extensive damage caused to the 16-mile line – as reported in Heritage Railway issue 100 – as well as the story of the storms and memories from some of those who witnessed the damage or joined the massive clean-up operation that followed.

Read more in Issue 230 of HR – on sale now!

Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.