Severn Valley secures Heritage Lottery support

The Severn Valley Railway’s bid to restore Falling Sands Viaduct has taken a significant step forward, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

 Nick Ralls, Nick Paul and Shelagh Paterson of the Severn Valley Railway at Falling Sands Viaduct. SVR

Nick Ralls, Nick Paul and Shelagh Paterson of the Severn Valley Railway at Falling Sands Viaduct. SVR

The railway has secured a ‘first round’ pass of £71,800 from the HLF to progress its plans to apply for a full grant later this year. In SR469, it was reported that the SVR was seeking £1 million to conduct the necessary repairs to the viaduct.

As well as ensuring the long-term viability of the viaduct itself, the project will engage a wider audience for the railway, encouraging an appreciation and understanding of local heritage and the fascinating world of structural engineering.

The seven-arch 141-year-old brick-built viaduct stands half a mile north of Kidderminster station, but owing to deterioration of the brickwork, a 20mph speed restriction is enforced for all trains crossing the structure.

SVR Chairman, Nick Paul, said: “Falling Sands Viaduct has been carrying trains across the River Stour since 1877, and significant repairs to its structure are badly needed.

“Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, once the work is completed in 2020, we’ll be able to lift the current speed restriction on our heritage trains, and look forward to at least another century of service from the viaduct. Restoring it will safeguard the continued operation of the SVR.