Fisherman's train was last on the line

The 8.30pm from Hampton Loade – the one that got away.

The last... but one? The Fisherman's Sunday Special leaves Bridgnorth station at 6.58pm on Sunday, September 8, 1963.
The last... but one? The Fisherman's Sunday Special leaves Bridgnorth station at 6.58pm on Sunday, September 8, 1963.

From the railway history books, that is.

What was the last train to run on the Severn Valley Railway line? We've explored the matter in some recent features. September 7, 1963, saw the last passenger train from Bridgnorth to Shrewsbury. Then the last passenger train of all (or so we thought) the next day, going in the other direction, the Fisherman's Sunday Special leaving Bridgnorth at 6.58pm and running to Birmingham.

But wait, what's this? Bridgnorth railways historian Chris Magner has come up with an even later passenger train to run on the SVR – the line was later, of course, triumphantly revived as the visitor attraction we know today.

Chris says: "Quite often, as mentioned in recent articles, the last train on the Severn Valley Line was stated to be the 6.58pm Bridgnorth to Birmingham Snow Hill service which was made steam-hauled for the occasion with a 'Special Last Train' headboard.

"However later that evening was the diesel railcar service train from Hampton Loade at 8.30pm to Snow Hill.

"This ran mainly for the benefit of fishermen and seemed to have run without fuss as it was the last ever service train on the Bridgnorth to Bewdley section. Certainly, it has hardly been mentioned, probably because it was difficult to cover – if you joined at Hampton Loade on that Sunday evening there was no train back."

Chris says it would be interesting to hear memories of those who travelled on that 8.30 train.

"The SVR on two occasions have tried to re-create the 6.58pm departure as a special event, and they did everything they possibly could to run the train as it left in 1963.

The last... but one? The Fisherman's Sunday Special leaves Bridgnorth station at 6.58pm on Sunday, September 8, 1963.

"On the first occasion, September 8, 1993, they even traced some of the fishermen and rail staff who travelled on the original to travel once again. They were interviewed on the platform before departure.

"Also, as the original locos were no longer available, the substitute ones were given the original number plates of those used in 1963.

"The SVR wanted the train to leave exactly at 6.58pm as it did in 1963 and all the staff were in position for it to do so.

"Shortly before the day Central Television wanted to feature this event on the early evening programme 'Central News' and most unfortunately for the SVR volunteers – who had gone to so much trouble to do things as accurately as possible – the television people wanted to film the train leaving as the final credits for the programme were rolled out.

"After all the careful planning, the train missed its correct departure by having to leave two minutes early to fit into the television schedule, although one supposes the publicity value of it being shown on evening television was probably worth more to the SVR than sticking to the historic time.

"I have not got details of the second event, but it too was delayed at the last minute by unforeseen circumstances."

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