Shropshire Star

Severn Valley Railway diesel maintenance depot work to start

Construction of a £300,000 diesel maintenance depot is set to begin at the Severn Valley Railway.


Groundwork to sink foundations for modern the two-road steel-clad building, which will be fully equipped with lifting jacks and inspection pits, is expected to get under way by early autumn.

Diesel locomotive owners at the 16-mile Kidderminster to Bridgnorth line have been trying for more than 20 years to get the work started, which will take place at Kidderminster station following approval by Wyre Forest District Council.

The cost of the new depot is being shouldered chiefly by seven diesel groups – the Diesel Traction Group, The Fifty Fund, The Western Locomotive Association, The Class 08 Society, the Ruston 906 Group, The Class 11 Group, and Somerset Traction Ltd – and also the railway's members organisation, the Severn Valley Railway Association, whose locomotives are residents at the SVR.

The new depot, which will be completed in two phases, will bring relief to the SVR's diesel-owning groups who, since the late 1970s, have had little choice but to repair and maintain their locomotives in the open.

The railway's fleet of privately-owned diesels, notably 'heritage' types long-retired from front-line service on the national rail network – many of which are more than 50 years old – has expanded over the years to 12 'main line' locomotives and eight shunters.

Many have had to be sent away to railway engineering facilities in other parts of the country in the past for heavy maintenance work, such as the lifting of locomotives from their wheels.

The new building, measuring about 160ft by 45ft, will accommodate up to four locomotives at one time. A third road, enclosed under a 'lean-to' roof attached on the western side of the main building, measuring 330ft in length, will also be built at a later date.

Jonathan Dunster, Chairman of the SVR's Diesel Committee and co-founder of The Fifty Fund, which owns or manages four ex-British Rail English Electric Class 50 diesels, said: "The practice of diesels hauling passenger trains on the main line these days is actually extremely rare, so they are quite an attraction on 'heritage' lines like the SVR."

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