Manor from Heaven

Bradley Manor and Erlestoke Manor are now providing the backbone of the Severn Valley Railway services
inspiring ever more generations of young children with their first railway journeys. The railway has never looked better with beautifully turned out rakes of coaches.

In early March, the spring Gala Weekend took place with some impressive visiting locos, led by Sir Nigel Gresley in magnificent BR blue livery contrasting with the greens of Duke of Gloucester, Oliver Cromwell and Nunney Castle. Not in the least out shone by this aristocratic line up, our own immaculately turned out Erlestoke Manor drew the crowd’s attention hauling the Pembroke Coast Express.

Bernard Staite

The Fund learnt with great sadness that Bernard Staite, who led the renaissance of mainline steam in the 70s, passed away on 10th April after a heroic five year fight against cancer. Our Chairman, Terry Jenkins (who represented the Fund at the funeral), wrote as follows;

“Some of you will have known Bernard personally from our various escapades on the mainline and the debt the whole movement owes to Bernard for his untiring efforts over many years in the cause of mainline steam. His association with this started in the early ’70s with King Class No 6000 at Hereford and continued with ever increasing responsibility until his retirement in 2005 from EWS. Many share my own firm view that UK mainline steam operations would have ceased long before now but for the influence of Bernard himself.

“Bernard was an avid GW fan (his father was a driver at HFD) and when the railway movement secretly hatched plans for his 2005 retirement train it was no coincidence that the steam locos selected were King class 6024 and 7802 Bradley Manor – his two favourites.”

Next Obbo Trip 9th July

This is a reminder that this year’s “obbo trip” is on Thursday 9th July and places are still available on both morning and afternoon trips. One of our locomotives should be hauling the train and hopefully the other is also in service.

The morning return trip to Bridgnorth will depart from Kidderminster at 11.40am with the usual full buffet in the GWR Observation saloon attached at the front of a service train. The second trip departing Kidderminster at 3.35pm will feature an afternoon cream tea instead of buffet for those doing the full round trip. Others on the afternoon trip may prefer instead to disembark at Highley to visit the Engine House, rejoining the train at 5.50pm on its return from Bridgnorth arriving Kidderminster at 6.27pm.

Prices will be £28 for the morning round trip, £18 for the afternoon full round trip with cream tea, £10 for those going to Highley only (if space available in the coach) with an additional £3 payable on entry to the Engine House. Please hurry to book your place by contacting Dave Kilner on email or by post to 3 Woodbury Park, Holt Heath, Worcester WR6 6NT or phone/text/leave message on 0771 365 6363.

Bernard Rainbow MBE

We are delighted that our great friend and helper during restoration of both our locomotives, Bernard Rainbow, SVR Chief Locomotive Inspector, was awarded an M.B.E. in the New Year’s Honours List. This was “For voluntary service to the rail industry”, an honour greatly deserved and we offer him our heartiest congratulations.

Bernard has been on the SVR for over 20 years, joining in 1986. He started work with British Railways (WR) at Tyseley Carriage & Wagon section in 1949, before joining the loco department in 1950 as a ‘knocker up’. He stayed at Tyseley through the introduction of diesels, including ‘Westerns’ and Class 47s, before moving to Saltley in 1967. Whilst there, he drove HSTs as well as plenty of freight and, on two occasions, the Royal Train.

Bernard recently again officiated on the footplate of the Royal Train on its visit last summer to the SVR, when he tutored HRH The Prince of Wales who took a turn on the regulator. When collecting his “gong” at Buckingham Palace on 24th February, the Prince immediately remembered his footplate instructor much to Bernard’s delight.

Geoff’s Special Headboard

The Geoff Richardson Special memorial train last September carried a headboard especially prepared by Terry Howes and here is a photograph (also by Terry) showing the excellent result of his workmanship. Terry has also made a few wooden replica number plates in timber which occasionally appear for sale in our sales coach at Bewdley.

Rolling Stock News

With both locos continuing satisfactorily in operational service, our restoration team are satisfying their hunger for grappling with heavy steel construction kits by lending support to other projects pending
the next fund project on which to focus their attentions. This includes a new “small” tender for Bradley Manor for which our spare set of tender wheels have been cleaned and repainted and will shortly be sent away for re-tyring. Terry Jenkins is evaluating the options for the following stages of procuring the frames and tender tank, and other parts are either already in our possession such as buffers or in the process of being acquired.

Sales Coach

Dave Adams has recently repainted our GUV sales coach into shining maroon and stopped up a few leaking cracks in the process. Meanwhile Graham and Trish Stevens had stocked up the coach with much new goods for sale, aided by Trish’s developing instinct for sniffing out good bargains for purchase and re-sale. This includes a large Paul Bennett fettles up brake hangers for the new tender on 7th March.
and exciting collection of archive photographs and if a particular locomotive from the dim past sticks in your memory, there is a very good chance a picture of it can now be purchased from us.

Cambrian Memories – by John Davies.

EMF shareholder John Davies, former Cambrian Line fireman and later a driver over the wider British Railways network was moved to write to us following a reunion with three of his former locomotive charges at the SVR Autumn Gala last year

Thank you for all the correspondence over the years and the last issue of the newsletter in particular. I was very pleased to visit the successful Cambrian themed Severn Valley Railway gala on Saturday 20th September 2008. I attended in company with two former ex Old Oak Common locomen and Mike Green, Engineer of the Talyllyn Railway.

I was highly delighted to ride in the LNER coaching set in company with my loco mates – many years since I worked trains of these type of coaches. I had an excellent day, made more so by viewing the three locos that I had worked on as fireman between 1952 and 1965. Nostalgic to see our three former Cambrian line locos 7802, 7812 and 9017, the latter an excellent runner, very free and they were all that except for slow starters due to their prone to slipping so, as firemen, we had to make sure the sand box was filled and working. (Another class I worked on much later which were prone to slipping were the class A3 Pacific LNER locomotives.)

Erlestoke Manor was the locomotive that worked the last steam hauled mail train of this class on 10th April 1965. I was the only person on the depot at the station end taking photographs of the train with an
Agfa box camera 127! The driver was Gwilym H Davies and I call to see him regularly as he is still very much alive near me in Penparcau (Aberystwyth).

The Dukedog was an excellent loco on which I had a full week early 1955 with Driver Tom Phillips who requested on the first day “Shall I show you the only way to fire these locos?” Oh yes, he was the depot’s expert locomotive man. That week we had a tender full of Yorkshire hard coal and I had an excellent trip every day – a six day week! We worked the local passenger train, up return “Cambrian Coast Express” just six stations unless there was a Special Stop Order for Montgomery, Llanbrynmair and Llandre. We had none that week and we only went as far as Welshpool that year. I do not recall when we had the job back to Shrewsbury.

I was in No 2 link and changed turns for at least 6 months in 1955 with Tom Phillips’ regular fireman Roger James. During the 10 year period 1955-65 I was regular mate to Les Morgan for 8½ years in Top Link. Those few months experience with Tom stood me in good stead for all the passenger work that included many extra trains for the holiday season to Butlins, Sunday schools, troop trains, empty stock for cleaning at Barmouth or for stabling at Dovey Junction’s two sidings.

It is interesting to note that 20,000 passengers were transported over the Cambrian route for the opening of the National Library in 1911! There was a loop at every station up to my 1965 days that gave us the reason to run right time on all trains. We really did more then. I noted 80-85 mph on many of the sections over the Borth bog, Machynlleth to Cemmaes Road, Moat Lane to Newtown double line and Forden to Welshpool. My mate Les timed us on many runs up from Westbury to Shrewsbury 23 minutes and the most fantastic was after being 28 minutes late due to a blowback on Manor No 7818 “Granville Manor” at Glandyfi running into Dovey Junction. We had ex works Mogul loco no 6395 to take over and arrival Salop right time! Oh yes, 28 minutes late from Machynlleth for the 61 miles to Salop! At least I have done exactly what I wanted to do in 18 years- “Became a train driver”!

Limited Edition 00 Gauge Wagons

Through 2 specific donations, the fund has commissioned a limitied edition run of 2 private owner wagons from the Severn Valley local area to be made by Dapol. The first is for a company called George Brown and Sons who were 7812 on charter train near Hampton Loade. Photo by Paul Gildersleve
Lime, Cement and Builders Merchants in Kidderminster, with the second being for Field and Mackay, Clee Hill Basalt. There are around 100 of each available from the fund shop on Bewdley station at £7.95 each, or email for further details. Our thanks to Alan James and Graham Stevens for the donations.

Off the Beat.

Occasionally our engines in pre-preservation days reached unusual places off their normal patch. Here is a photo of one such occasion when Bradley Manor was noted at Llanelly in May 1964. Did it ever haul the Pembroke Coast Express in BR days? Do any readers know of other more unusual locations reached by 7802 and 7812?

March Footplate School

All agreed that the March footplate school was a great success and twenty four shareholders got their hands on the regulator of Bradley Manor during three scintillating days shuttling between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade with a six coach train. Grateful thanks are due to Graham and Trish Stevens who organised the catering arrangements. Trish was presented with a bouquet of flowers at Bridgnorth just prior to the final run on the third day. The picture left by Jeff Cogan shows Trevor Carter and John Burrows, over from Canada for the event, enjoying their footplate stint on the first day. Below is how we learnt to operate the brake.

Technical Note; Loco Controls – the Brake;

Pulling down the handle on the right releases steam into the ejector which creates the vacuum to release the brakes throughout the train. The two hands on the dial swing to the top indicating the required vacuum pressure. The valve can then be closed.

Turning the handle on the brass vacuum valve opens the orifices allowing air into the system to destroy the vacuum and apply the brakes. The longer left open, the harder the brakes are applied – standing passengers start to fall over, “flats” form on wheels. Closing the brass valve still leaves the vacuum partially destroyed and brakes still slowing the train. The train will come to a halt (stalled?) unless the ejector valve (right) is opened again to recreate vacuum and release the brakes. This allows the train to continue its momentum at the now reduced speed. (Note the gauge hands are pointing down here as the vacuum is destroyed with brakes applied)

Safe Driving Habits

Overheard on the Engine House balcony one day recently whilst Erlestoke Manor passed by with the driver nonchalantly leaning out of the cab looking down; “Shouldn’t that driver be inside the cab steering it?” Can our footplate experts provide a suitable answer on a postcard to the editor please for our next technical note.

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