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In no fewer than forty-five separate locations the ground has slipped or moved !

Judging by the calls and messages of goodwill we have received since the recent dramatic storms, the affection in which the SVR is held by all sections of the community has been confirmed over and over again. You don’t have to be an enthusiast to know that a visit to the Severn Valley is to many ‘just like coming home’.

So what is the current problem?

According to the BBC, the equivalent of two weeks rain fell along the Severn Valley in the space of just thirty minutes in mid June, and so it continued – day after day after day! With the ground now saturated, something had to give! No one could have foreseen the devastation that resulted. A look at any of the images here will confirm the awesome power of the rainwater.

Click to view Movie Clip Click to view Movie Clip
Movie Clip showing flood damage to the railway line leaving the tracks suspended in mid-air.
Movie Clip showing flood damage near to Hampton Loade Station and the surrounding areas.
Footage courtesy of BBC Midlands Today. Requires the Free Quicktime Movie Player

The SVR prides itself in maintaining the sixteen-mile line to the highest standard, but nothing could have prevented the damage that Mother Nature has wrought.

The damage...

In no fewer than forty-five separate locations between Bewdley and Bridgnorth, the ground has slipped or moved. The majority of these locations will require attention, which is within the scope of our expanded maintenance teams assisted by some machinery. For example, drainage channels have been blocked by debris, and silt and mud have covered the tracks completely in places.

However, in at least ten locations, the damage is such that external expertise and heavy plant and equipment will be required to enable our full service to recommence. At these places, we currently estimate that repair work will take many weeks. Repairs to this damage, including an additional major problem with land above the Railway at Northwood, are now estimated to require funds in excess of £2.5 million!

These problems are also delaying the opening of The Engine House, the new Visitor & Education Centre at Highley.

What are we doing about it?

Well, firstly, all of us at the SVR are looking after our many visitors who have booked to travel during 2007. Adult groups, schools, families and individuals have been looking forward to their ‘day out’ with us, and we are doing our very best to accommodate them and to suggest alternatives. But with only the Kidderminster to Bewdley section of the line in operation at the moment, this is proving to be a challenge!

Our engineering teams are working along the line, with support from repair trains where access is possible, but they have many challenges yet to face. Its is estimated that reopening of the complete line between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth will now take a number of months.

The SVR is co-operating with, and recognises the excellent support from, other organisations, including Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund, who are jointly providing some funds towards the stabilisation of the line.

How can you help?

As the extent of the storm damage has become apparent, we have been inspired and touched by the messages of support and offers of help, both monetary and practical. These have come from members of the public, from similar heritage organisations and from the media. With this level of support in mind, in June we launched the SVR Flood Damage Appeal. This appeal is now seen as vital to the rebuilding work and will, hopefully, provide a significant contribution to the funds pledged by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund. Our grateful thanks go to those who have already supported the SVR at this time; please keep up the good work!

We have established a special bank account to receive donations to assist with the cost of repairs. If you would like to contribute to the appeal you can do so in one of the following ways:

  1. By using your debit or credit card for an ‘online’ donation.

  2. By cheque payable to ‘Severn Valley Railway Flood Damage Appeal’ and sent to:

    SVR Appeal, Severn Valley Railway, The Railway Station, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY12 1BG.

  3. By using your debit or credit card and calling 01299 403816 between 9-00 am and 5-00 pm, Monday to Friday.

  4. By completing our downloadable donation form, to return by post.
    Requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.

Our thanks to you...

All donations, irrespective of size, will be most gratefully received. They will be put to very good use for this one specific purpose.

Finally, on behalf of all of us here are the SVR, may we thank you for your help, in whatever form it takes!

If you would like to contribute to the appeal, you can do so in one of the following ways: