13th April 2001

Cheshire Railtours
"Severn Valley Belle"

HST Used 43140 + 43150
Stock Used 41027 +41028+ 40725+ 42264+ 42039+ 42040+ 42041+ 44013

Route :
1Z28 : Barnstaple - Bridgnorth
1Z29 : Bridgnorth - Barnstaple

HST Route
43140 + 43150 Barnstaple - Exeter St Davids
43140 + 43150 Exeter St Davids - Weston-Super-Mare - Bristol Temple Meads - Kidderminster ("BR")
43140 + 43150 Kidderminster ("BR") - Bridgnorth
43140 + 43150 Bridgnorth - Kidderminster ("BR")
43140 + 43150 Kidderminster ("BR") - Bristol Temple Meads - Weston-Super-Mare - Exeter St Davids
43140 + 43150 Exeter St Davids - Barnstaple

Source : Adrian Knight
(passenger on SVR only)

Review (by Adrian Knight) :

After booking the first of my two visits to the Severn Valley Railway this April, the other being to the diesel gala at the end of the month, I realised that the omens weren’t good.  I had booked on a Railtour running on Friday 13th, not good considering the state of the railtour market at present?

 Only limited chance of farce existed as the trip was a simple out and back run from Barnstaple to Bridgnorth on a Flying fag packet with the option of changing to a kettle at Kidderminster hence a special rate for the Severn Valley section only.

Being the eternal optimist the positive points for me were: -
A reasonably priced trip (£6.00 Kidderminster – Bridgnorth rtn.)
A reasonable departure time to join the trip from Birmingham
New track for me (Kidderminster BR – Severn Valley connection)
A chance to visit Bridgnorth (not much chance during the diesel gala)
Central Trains 2-for 1 Cheap Day Return offer meaning I could afford to take my dad instead of buying him an Easter egg!

Departure was slightly delayed from Kidderminster due to passenger congestion, as those who were to travel by steam to Bridgnorth were located in coaches A and B, but only one door of these carriages was on the platform.

D431 Hood, D1015 Western Champion, D5410, 37906 and 50035 Ark Royal were all noted on Kidderminster carriage shed as the driver opened up the power cars once fully onto the Severn Valley.

The Safari park was open with a coach moving slowly around do the delight of the resident animals!

Bewdley South Box was passed at 11:12 before arriving into Bewdley.  Main line registered 45110 was stabled along with “The Hogwarts Express” 34027, a recent visitor along with the Dinning DMU.  A long stop due to “waiting for a train to pass” was announced over the PA although no train passed before we set off again.

Arley was our next stop for 10 minutes waiting for the arrival of 48773 on the first departure of the day from Bridgnorth.  Those on the steam train looked bemused at the sight of us waiting for them to pass.

The platform at Highley was traversed only pausing briefly to exchange the token.  An un-restored BR Black (hall?) was noted in the sidings along with the excellently restored TPO vehicle 80300 and 600 “Gordon.”

The token was again exchanged at Hampton Loade before the long drag up to Bridgnorth.  A 5mph section on the lead up to Eardington Summit resulted in much clag from 43140 and 43150.  Arrival in Bridgnorth was 5 minutes late.  4144 was waiting to depart on the 12:15 to Kidderminster.

Rat D7633 was stabled outside the station with steamers 1501, 2968,771?, 46521, 61994, and 80079 all being visible along with “gronk” D3586.  To the north of the station was D1013 under wraps in BR Blue livery.

Before departure at 15:31 the gronk roared into life just before arrival of 4144 again.  With this in the station a fine departure was enjoyed as the driver opened up only to reach line speed and shut off power again.  The loop was taken at Hampton Loade to exchange the token, a change from our journey up.

Similarly the token was exchanged at Highley where a few volunteers were standing out to watch our passage.

Arley was passed non-stop with 45110 waiting in the station for us to pass.

A long wait was encountered outside Bewdley station for 4 minutes to exchange the token.  Again it was stated that we were waiting for another train to pass which did not appear.  “The Hogwarts Express” had been steamed and was idling away as again we passed non-stop through a station.

Arrival in the loop at Kidderminster was at 16:35 when it was announced we had a 20-minute wait to gain access to the Railtrack network as the line was “extremely busy.”  Before we were to move again at 17:15 only 150122 headed towards Worcester and 150102 headed towards Birmingham.  The plan was to join the Railtrack network after 158958 on the 16:59 Central Train to Birmingham but this was 15 minutes late causing our extended stay on the Severn Valley.

Western Champion was being warmed up in the yard with the power handle being opened whilst stationary and shuttling briefly in the yard.  August 11th should be a day to remember for those lucky enough to get tickets!

Arrival into Kidderminster BR was at 17:20 only 14 minutes down.  The train departed south at 17:31 on the long trip back to Barnstaple.

Verdict:- A good relaxing day out although what would any railtour be like without a 40 minute operational stop in it?  Also “Slug 6” looks to have a rival for the “Clag monster of the Severn Valley” from the two First Great Western power cars!

Route, Distances and Timings (Booked and Actual)
(by Adrian Knight)

Train Reporting Codes :
1Z28 : Barnstaple - Bridgnorth
1Z29 : Bridgnorth - Barnstaple

M C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M C
- - Barnstaple 06.14d -   22.38a - - -
- - Umberleigh 06.16d -   22.26a - - -
- - Eggesford 06.38d -   21.31a - - -
- - Crediton 07.12d -   21.00a - - -
- - Exeter St Davids 07.32d -   20.40a - - -
- - Tiverton Parkway 07.46d -   20.19a - - -
- - Taunton 08.01d -   19.44a - - -
- - Bridgwater 08.11d -   19.29a - - -
- - Weston-Super-Mare 08.27d -   19.12a - - -
- - Bristol Temple Meads 09.16d -   18.46d - - -
0 00 Kiddeminster (Railtrack) 10.47a ~ 10.55d ??.?? ~ 11.02   17.06a ~ 17.14d 17.20 ~ 17.31 15 74
3 27 Bewdley - 11.13a ~ 11.24d   - 16/21 12 47
6 73 Arley - 11.37a ~ 11.47d   - 16/04 9 00
9 19 Highley - 11/55   - 15/56 6 54
11 33 Hampton Loade - 12/02   - 15/47 4 41
15 74 Bridgnorth 12.15a 12.20   15.30d 15.31 0 00

a : arrival time
d : departure time
/ : passing time

All distances, in miles, are taken from Quail track diagrams. No attempt has been made to verify the mileages given.

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