The long awaited return to steam of ex-GWR 7812 Erlestoke Manor moved a stage closer at the start of May with the news that, following repair work at Tyseley Locomotive Works, her boiler had been filled with water for the first time since withdrawal at the end of 2017.

Terry Jenkins, Trustee leading the project for the Erlestoke Manor Fund, added “The safety valves & clacks remain to be fitted shortly and the boiler will then be hydraulic tested. That will be followed by steam testing before refitting to the frames. The new ashpan has also arrived at Tyseley”.

It is anticipated that 7812 will return to the Severn Valley Railway later this year.

Hand in hand with engineering goes income raising and one of the ongoing means for this is the Fund’s Sales Coach based at Bewdley Station on the Severn Valley Railway.

It operates on donated items, with volunteer staffing and all proceeds going to the coffers of the Fund to maintain its two locomotives. The shop offers model railway items, books, DVDs and various railwayana.

During the latest lockdown, the coach was painted inside, received new signage and revamped for accessibility by the less able. It was also relocated in an improved location adjacent to the new SVR Buffet on the station.

It has now reopened, as passengers return to Bewdley Station, having branched out into online sales via eBay during the period the shop was closed.

Dave Kilner, Shop Manager, comments “ Needs must and, when we had to be closed, one of our volunteers took on the task of maintaining as much retail income for the Fund as possible. It proved really successful and our thanks go to all the volunteers who have brought us through to the reopening.”

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