Over 4,500 people attended the Severn Valley Railway’s Spring Steam Gala – a 1,000 more than the same event last year.
Taking place on March 17-19, the three-day event saw a grand total of ten engines in steam, including three visiting locomotives. Making its first visit to another railway since the completion of its overhaul earlier this year was ‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34081 92 Squadron, visiting from the Nene Valley Railway.
The two other guest engines were ‘9F’ No. 92214 (courtesy of the Great Central Railway) and Ivatt ‘2MT’ 2-6-2T No. 41312 (courtesy of the Mid-Hants Railway and John Jones). The latter was making its first visit to the SVR for over 16 years.
Seven members of the SVR’s home fleet were in steam at the gala: ex-Port Talbot Railway 0-6-0ST No. 813, ‘14XX’ No. 1450, ‘57XX’ No. 7714, ‘Manor’ No. 7802 Bradley Manor, Ivatt ‘Flying Pig’ 2-6-0 No. 43106, ‘West Country’ No. 34027 Taw Valley and rebuilt ‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34053 Sir Keith Park.
This Saturday (March 25), the railway will be celebrating another milestone – the 50th anniversary of the arrival of their first steam locomotive.
The arrival of Collett ‘2251’ 0-6-0 No. 3205 at Bridgnorth station’s Platform 2 on March 25 1967, the first train to grace the station since the line was closed in 1963, came less than two years after the inauguration of the Severn Valley Society.
It helped raise £25,000 towards buying and restoring the 6½-mile section of track between the line’s northern terminus and Hampton Loade.
The GWR 0-6-0 is no longer resident at the SVR; it has been based at the South Devon Railway ever since it moved there in 1998.