This page is Severn Valley and Llangollen Railways.
Created 26th March 2018.
Two preserved Great Western Railway lines
The Severn Valley Railway
The Llangollen Railway
1: Scenes on the Severn Valley Railway, 1957 – 2017
The Severn Valley Railway ran south from Shrewsbury, following the river through Bridgnorth and Bewdley to Hartlebury (on the main line between Kidderminster and Worcester). The line was completed in 1862, becoming part of the Great Western Railway in 1872. A direct link from Bewdley to Kidderminster was added in 1878. The line north of Bewdley was closed to passengers in 1963 but coal traffic from Alveley colliery continued until 1969. Passenger trains to Bewdley from both Kidderminster and Hartlebury continued until 1970. Moves to re-open the line from Bridgnorth commenced in 1965 but regular public passenger services did not begin until May 1970, running 4˝ miles between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade. The line was extended south to Bewdley in 1974 and finally in 1984 trains reached a new station at Kidderminster, adjacent to the main line station.
Autumn in the Severn Valley
7802 Bradley Manor approaches Highley in torrential rain while working a Kidderminster to Bridgnorth train
on 14th November 2015. The loco must have been remembering all the times when it worked the
Cambrian Coast Express from Aberystwyth, climbing to Talerddig in the Welsh rain!
Part of a GWR map, showing the Severn Valley line
from Shrewsbury in the north to Hartlebury in the south.
The Severn Valley line in the British Railways era:
A typical GWR era Severn Valley train:
A 55xx 2-6-2T with two corridor carriages heads south from Buildwas with the
1.45 Shrewsbury to Hartlebury train on 12th September 1959.
GWR diesel railcars on the Severn Valley line:
Left: car 6 (built 1935) on the 4.20 pm Shrewsbury – Hartlebury on 29th June 1957
Right: car 20 (built 1940) on the 5.30 pm Hartlebury to Highley service on 3rd July 1958
A GWR diesel railcar (now in BR green livery) enters with the 4.20 Shrewsbury – Hartlebury service, while at the left
a steam-hauled train waits to leave for Shrewsbury with the 4.10 from Hartlebury on 24th September 1960.
Bridgnorth was to become the northern terminus of the line on reopening in 1970
Bewdley station on 31st August 1961, looking south.
GWR 2-6-2T 5555 enters with the 4.23 Kidderminster to Shrewsbury train while a freight waits in the down platform.
Wagons of coal from Alveley colliery can be seen at the left.
Highley station on 31st August 1963
A BR diesel unit calls with the 4.20 Shrewsbury – Hartlebury service on a showery afternoon.
Bewdley station on 31st August 1963, looking north.
At the left is the 6.0 pm to Bridgnorth and at the right is the 4.20 from Shrewsbury.
The line north from Bewdley to Shrewsbury via Bridgnorth closed to passengers just over a week later, on 9th September 1963.
The lines south from Bewdley to both Kidderminster and Hartlebury remained open until 5th January 1970.
The Severn Valley line in early preservation days:
Alveley: Willow herb and Ragwort take over after closure:
The disused main line is in the foreground and the colliery sidings are at the right. The activities of the preserved railway
were then confined north of Hampton Loade.
Bridgnorth station before reopening:
A view on 28th July 1968, looking south from above the tunnel, showing Bridgnorth station during the period the line was closed.
Bridgnorth in 1970/71:
Left: London Transport 0-6-0PT L95 at Bridgnorth in 1971 very soon after its arrival. The loco was built by the GWR as 5764
in 1929 and sold to London Transport in 1960. The loco has since been restored to GWR livery as 5764.
Right: Ivatt class 4 2-6-0 43106 leaves Bridgnorth with a train to Hampton Loade in 1970.
Hampton Loade station restored to use:
Preserved Ivatt class 4 2-6-0 43106 enters Hampton Loade with a train from Bewdley in 1970
The loco was built in 1951 to an LMSR design from 1947, being initially allocated to South Lynn for the M&GNR line and finishing
its BR career in northwest England. The class would not normally have appeared on the Severn Valley line.
43106 sets off from Hampton Loade back to Bridgnorth in 1970. The former GWR Hawksworth carriage is still in the condition
in which it was received from British Railways.
Later preservation scenes on the Severn Valley line :
Autumn at Arley
GWR 7819 Hinton Manor (built 1939) simmers in the autumn mist at Arley in October 1986 while working a train from Bridgnorth.
Summer at Bewdley North Signal Box
GWR 2-6-2T 5164 (built 1930) enters Bewdley with a train from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster in 2004.
The loco was one of a class used mainly for suburban passenger services. 120 were built between 1929 and 1950,
of which over fifty (including 5164) were based in the Birmingham area where they were used on trains to
Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon, Wolverhampton and Kidderminster (the latter occasionally being extended
onto the Severn Valley line for holiday excursions).
The last word in pannier tank locos!
0-6-0PT 1501 at Bewdley (left) and Highley (right) in 1999. In the right hand photo the driver and signalman are exchanging the single line token.
1501 was built in 1949 being one of a small new class designed for moving empty carriages in and out of Paddington station and for shunting heavy freight.
Apart from the dozen BR standard types of the early 1950s, this was one of the last new designs of steam locomotive used in Great Britain.
Express loco on the Severn Valley
Southern Railway Battle of Britain class 34053 Sir Keith Park enters Highley with a train for Kidderminster in 2013.
The loco was built in 1947 and rebuilt by BR in 1958. In its last years with BR the loco was based at Bournemouth.
GWR 0-4-2T 1450 at Bewdley (left) and Kidderminster (right) in 2013.
1450 was built in 1935, one of a class of 75 engines designed for light branch line trains.
Although small, they were free-running engines which could run happily at 60 mph when required.
The name plate from GWR 4058, exhibited in the Engine House at Highley.
4058 was built in 1914 and withdrawn in 1951. During WW2 the loco was allocated
to Tyseley for the Birmingham – Cardiff service and was one of the first locos I
recall travelling behind.
Sunshine and thunderstorms at Hampton Loade
GWR 2857 enters Hampton Loade with a train for Kidderminster in March 2014.
2857 was built in 1918, primarily for heavy freight and the type would have been uncommon on the Severn Valley line before
preservation. The type was highly successful, locos being built to the design from 1903 until 1942. They survived in use
until the last year of steam on the Western Region in 1965.
left: 7828 Odney Manor (built 1950) enters with a train for Bridgnorth in March 2014.
Right: A view at Hampton Loade in one of the SVR Observation Cars, built in 1948 as a Inspection Saloon for the Western Region engineers
Main picture: 7802 Bradley Manor (built 1938) waits at Kidderminster with a train to Bridgnorth on 14th November 2015
The inset photo shows the same loco on its penultimate working on the up Cambrian Coast Express from Aberystwyth, approaching Westbury (Shropshire) on 30th October 1965. 7802 was withdrawn from service the following week, together with fellow survivors 7812/20/21. The Manor class comprised thirty engines designed for use on secondary main lines. They worked widely over the GWR system but were to become especially associated with the Cambrian line between Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth. Until the final decline of steam after 1963, some of the class were maintained in ‘showroom condition’ for working the Cambrian Coast Express. . In all, nine of the class survived for preservation – numbers 7802/8/12/19-22/7/8.
Bradley Manor’s number plate and name plate.
7802 approaches Highley with a train for Bridgnorth, seen from the SVR Engine House balcony.
Two more Manors plus an auto train
Left: 7812 Erlestoke Manor (built 1939) waits at Bewdley’s platform 3 with a train for Bridgnorth on 14th November 2015.
7812 has the white painted decoration to the smokebox characteristic of its years based at Aberystwyth.
Right: 7820 Dinmore Manor (built 1950) enters Arley on 14th November 2015 with a train for Kidderminster, while 0-4-2T 1450 waits
with the single coach auto train from Bewdley to Highley
Blossom time at Arley
GWR 0-6-0PT 7714 waits with a train to Bridgnorth on 8th April 2017.
GWR 0-6-0PT 7714 waits at Arley on 8th April2017.
7714 was built in 1930 and was one of the most numerous class of locomotives on B.R, comprising 863 locomotives (not to mention many more of broadly
similar design). The class were employed across the GWR on a wide variety of passenger, freight and shunting duties. On light passenger duties they ran
well at speeds up to 60 mph! 7714 spent much of its career at Birkenhead Docks but was sold by BR to the National Coal Board in 1959.
Highley in the rain
0-4-2T 1450 approaches with an auto train from Bewdley on 14th November 2015.
Highley in the sunshine:
S.R. 4-6-2 34027 Taw Valley approaches Highley with a train for Bridgnorth on 7th October 2018
Left: 2-6-2T 4566 at Bewdley on 14th November 2015. The loco is about to couple up to the carriages before
taking a train to Bridgnorth.
4566 was built in 1924, being one of a class of 175 engines used mainly for light passenger work across the GWR. The class monopolised
passenger trains on the SVR for many years. 4566 wears the early BR livery of plain black without any polished metalwork. From the mid-1950s
the class was turned out in lined green livery with polished brasswork.
Visiting locomotives – 1:
Former Southern Railway West Country class 4-6-2 34027 Taw Valley enters Kidderminster on 23rd September 2016.
34027 was built in 1946 and rebuilt by BR in 1957. The loco spent the first ten years of its life based at Exmouth Junction working light expresses including
services into North Devon and north Cornwall. It later spent a time in Kent before ending its career based at Salisbury.
Visiting locomotives – 2:
LNER design A1 4-6-2 60163 Tornado (built in 2005) enters Kidderminster with a train of LNER teak carriages from Bridgnorth on23rd September 2016.
Visiting locomotives - 3
70000 Britannia, built in 1951 and the first BR Standard locomotive, after arrival at Kidderminster with a train from Bridgnorth
on 7th October 2018
2: Scenes on the Llangollen Railway, 1963 – 2017
Today’s Llangollen Railway between Llangollen and Corwen is part of the former GWR Ruabon – Barmouth line, completed in 1868. The line was to close throughout in January 1965, but severe flood damage caused the suspension of services on the Llangollen – Corwen – Bala Junction section in December 1964.
GWR 3440 City of Truro enters Glyndyfrdwy with a train from Llangollen to Carrog on 23rd April 2009.
See below for more about City of Truro.
The line in BR days: Ruabon on 24th August 1963:
Left: 2-6-4T 80078 waits with the 11.0 am Saturdays train to Barmouth.
Right: an Ivatt class ‘2’ waits with an afternoon train to Llangollen.
GWR 4141 is ready to depart Llangollen in the summer of 1998.
The loco was built in 1946 and spend its entire career allocated to Cheltenham Spa or Gloucester.
4141 simmers alongside the River Dee at Llangollen
Left: March 1996: work is in progress relaying and aligning the track at Carrog station
Right: A later scene at Carrog showing the auto train with 0-6-0PT 6430 sandwiched between the carriages
GWR 3440 City of Truro with its train at Carrog, ready to return to Llangollen on 23rd April 2009..
City of Truro was built in 1903 and is
credited with the first recorded 100 mph, achieved with an up Mail train on 9th
May 1904 while descending Wellington Bank between Exeter and Taunton. On withdrawal in 1931, 3440 was preserved in
the LNER’s railway museum at
GWR 4-4-0 no. 9017 entering Carrog with a train of maroon B.R. non-corridor carriages, recreating a typical stopping train on the Cambrian line in the 1950s.
9017 was nominally built new in 1938 (at which time it was numbered 3217), but it was in fact a rebuild using the frames of “Bulldog” class 3425 (built in 1906) with the boiler of “Duke” class 3258 The Lizard (built in 1895). The class of locomotives became especially associated with the Cambrian Railways lines from Whitchurch to Aberystwyth and from Machynlleth to Pwllheli. 9017 was the last survivor of its class, being withdrawn in 1960 when it was privately purchased for preservation. It is normally kept at the Bluebell Railway in Sussex, where it is currently sadly stored out of use.
Left: the auto train sets off from Llangollen on 12th April 2011
Right: the view of the River Dee near Glyndyfrdwy, seen from the driver’s cab of the auto-trailer car
7822 Foxcote Manor alongside the River Dee between Carrog and Corwen on 24th April 2012
Left: Robert tries his hand at driving Foxcote Manor
Right: the headboard on his train!
B.R. 2-10-0 92214 approaches Berwyn Halt with a train for Carrog on 14th March 2015.
The loco was built in October 1959 and was withdrawn after a very short working life of a little over five years.
Left: 92214 blasts out of Berwyn on its way towards Carrog
Right: The train was banked by GWR 2-8-0T 4270, built in 1919 which enjoyed a working life of over 42 years, mostly in South Wales
Southern Railway ‘West Country’ 4-6-2 34092 City of Wells is seen at Carrog on 14th March 2015.
The loco retains the “air-smoothed” casing with which it was built in 1949, and carries the headboard of the Night Ferry sleeping car
express which it would have operated between London Victoria and Dover.
Spring in the Dee Valley
GWR 0-4-2T 1450 takes the auto train towards Corwen on 14th March 2015.
* * * * *
My other railway pages can be accessed by clicking on the links below:
Railways.htm (Photographs taken in the 1950s, train spotting at Birmingham Snow Hill in 1953, and scenes in the West Midlands and South Wales 1953 – 1962)
Railways50yr.htm (A selection of photos from the 1950s: West Midlands,
Railways2.htm (Brecon and -Mid-Wales; the Somerset & Dorset line, GWR and LSWR lines in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall: all 1957-1962)
Railways4.htm (Birmingham area LMR; glimpses of Boston, Peterborough, and Lincoln; GWR lines in North Wales; a few shots on the Southern: all 1961-1963)
(the last days of
My Chronology of events, including opening and closure dates, relating to the Railways of the West Midlands from 1954-2017 can be accessed from these links:
RAILWAYS of WEST MIDLANDS pt 1. (1954-1974)
RAILWAYS of WEST MIDLANDS pt 2. (1975-1993)
RAILWAYS of WEST MIDLANDS pt 3. (1993-2017)