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Arson attack at Severn Valley Railway site is 'kick in the teeth'

By Charlotte Bentley | Bridgnorth | News | Published:

A fire that damaged a railway building at one of the region's main attractions just one day after they reopened has been described as a "kick in the teeth".

Arson attack at a passenger station used by Severn Valley Railway. Photo: Craig Jackson

The roof of a brick passenger shelter at the Country Park Halt station near Highley used by the popular Severn Valley Railway was seriously damaged in an arson attack on Sunday morning.

Both the police and the fire service have launched investigations and are appealing for information – Shrewsbury fire station manager Craig Jackson confirmed that the fire was being treated as deliberately started.

He said that a bonfire had been started inside the building, and that it spread to the timber roof.

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Lesley Carr, spokesman for Severn Valley Railway, said: "A fire was started and it appears they used a broken down fence panel nearby to start it. It burnt the roof.

"We are looking into it, but we don't know how much it will cost to fix it. It is something we are going to have to look at.

"Obviously it is very disappointing that something like this has happened. It is hard to understand why anybody would want to do this.

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Arson attack at a passenger station used by Severn Valley Railway. Photo: Craig Jackson

"Especially since we have recently reopened, and it was only our second day of opening. It is a bit of a kick in the teeth really. But it is something we are going to deal with and we will move on from it."

She said that although the roof had been seriously damaged the incident did not affect any of the services from Sunday onwards.

The fire destroyed a roughly 4m square section of the wooden roof before firefighters from Cleobury Mortimer and Much Wenlock were able to extinguish it using knapsack equipment.

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Arson attack at a passenger station used by Severn Valley Railway. Photo: Craig Jackson

Severn Valley Railway reopened on Saturday after four months of closure caused by the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown.

The company started an emergency appeal to ensure the attraction could make it through and more than 200 people turned out to the reopening on Saturday.

A police investigation has been opened and anyone with information is asked to call West Mercia Police on 101.

Charlotte Bentley

By Charlotte Bentley
Community Reporter - @CharlotteB_Star

Community Reporter at the Shropshire Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Shropshire and Mid Wales. Contact me at charlotte.bentley@shropshirestar.co.uk.

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