Posts Tagged ‘Great Central Railway’

TRH visit Severn Valley Railway

Saturday, 14 June 2008

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall unveil a plaque on arrival at Severn Valley Railway’s Kidderminster station terminus, 10 June 2008

(source: The Prince of Wales official website, click photo for picture in its original context.)

We wanted to run this story on Wednesday, but the rapidly changing situation regarding Wolsztyn’s scheduled steam turns meant it got held over till the weekend. I hope that all our readers, wherever they may be, will take inspiration from this wonderful piece of good news. D.

While storm clouds gather over over the future of Poland’s railway heritage, Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, visited the Severn Valley Railway on Tuesday 10 June, to help celebrate a remarkable recovery from storm damage another sort.

On 19 June 2007, in the space of just thirty minutes, the equivalent of two weeks rain fell along the Severn Valley, the rain continued day after day, with further heavy rainstorms taking place in July. When the storms abated, they left behind serious flood damage in the region and the railway was faced with the need to carry out repairs costing in the order of £3 million!

In no fewer than 45 separate locations between Bewdley and Bridgnorth, the ground had slipped or moved. The majority of these received attention from SVR’s own maintenance teams. However, in at least ten places, the damage was such that external contractors and heavy plant were required to restore the railway to its previous tip top condition. Now the work has been completed and the train service, which had been suspended on the worst damaged section of line, was fully restored again on 21 March 2008.

The closure of the railway had a negative impact upon the railway’s summer income, the tourist season of the towns that it served, and the regional economy as a whole. The railway launched an emergency appeal. The railway’s insurers paid out £500,000 for loss of revenue, Advantage West Midlands, recognizing the railway’s contribution to the local economy, paid out £750,000; the European Regional Development Fund is expected to contribute a similar sum. The Railway’s members and friends dug deep into their pockets. In a magnificent show of solidarity other preserved railways including including the Mid Hants Railway, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, the West Somerset Railway, the Avon Valley Railway, the Dean Forest Railway, the Great Central Railway, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and the Bluebell Railway provided volunteers and loaned equipment.

Then the Prince came! The sun shone. The Severn Valley borrowed GWR 6024 “King Edward I” for the occasion from the Didcot Railway Centre and the Prince sent the royal train. The royal couple unveiled a commorative plaque at Kidderminster Station. Prince Charles bought two tickets and the royal couple boarded the train. This was the first occasion that the new royal train had travelled on a heritage railway or been pulled by a steam engine. At Bewdley the Prince visited the signal box and then boarded the footplate where he refreshed his engine driving skills which he had practised in 2003 on the Welsh Highland Railway.

The train stopped at Hampton Loade railway station where the royal couple met station master Steve Dockerty and long-time Severn Valley Railway members Bill and Muriel Bennett who have lived in the station house for more than 50 years. They then continued their journey on the line to Bridgnorth where they unveiled another plaque. The prince spoke briefly thanking everybody who had contributed to the restoration of the railway.

The royal couple’s visit gave the railway a great publicity after its recent bad fortune and was a great boost to the morale of its volunteers. If only those working to save Poland’s railway heritage could receive the same recognition from the President of Poland!

More words and pictures:

Eurostar sees 21% increase in passengers

Monday, 14 April 2008

Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP

The day when we can take a cheap and fast train from England to Poland took another small step in the right direction today as Eurostar announced that its passenger carryings had increased by 21% since the move of its London terminal from Waterloo to St Pancras. The Guardian reported that,

Eurostar said 2.17 million customers travelled between London, Paris and Brussels in the first three months of the year, an increase of more than 21.3% on the same period in 2007.

Nick Mercer, Eurostar’s commercial director, said the service was benefiting from shorter journey times thanks to the high-speed link and more customers from around Britain due to the location of St Pancras, which is better connected to the UK rail network than the train operator’s former base in Waterloo.

“The passenger increase is coming from shorter journey times, better punctuality and improved connectivity, particularly from the UK regions. We have seen a near doubling of passengers from places such as York and the east Midlands,” he said.

Eurostar is embarking on a joint marketing campaign with Virgin Trains, East Midlands Trains and National Express East Coast this summer and will tour stations in cities including Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham to advertise deals such as £77 for a return trip from Sheffield to Paris, via St Pancras.

Mercer said around half the growth in passenger numbers came from new customers based north of London, with the rest taken from rival ferry operators and airlines.

(Complete article here)

What a pity that plans to run through Eurostar services from Scotland and the Midlands were stifled at birth and while the rest of Europe is rapidly rolling out a network of plus 300 km/hr high speed lines, the UK’s Ministry of Transport is still twiddling its thumbs about building any such lines in the UK and planning to increase capacity at Heathrow Airport for more flights between London and the North.

A note for non-railway buffs. Sir Edward Watkin built a high speed railway from London to Manchester in 1899. The Great Central main line, also known as the London Extension of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway was opened in 1899, it was the last main line railway built in Britain until the first part of High Speed 1 opened in 2003. From the start it was intended to be part of a high speed line to France through the original Channel Tunnel. The line was closed in stages between 1966 and 1969 although much of the formation still remains intact, although with typical British short-sightedness, key sections of the line through towns such as Rugby and Nottingham have been sold to property developers.

Scenic Model Railway for Free!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Behind The Water Tower was set up to bring the latest railway news and gossip to overseas friends of Poland’s railways. We wanted to ask for your help when a particular railway was under threat. Currently our main campaign to save the narrow gauge railway at Krosniewice.

As well, as Americans, Austrians, Belgians, Brits, French, Germans and Latvians, we are also read by British ex pats in Poland. So perhaps we should leven our daily fare of what Madame Mayor had for breakfast with a weekly round up of UK and World rail news? So here is a beta test version. If you would like us to continue let us know. If you think Dyspozytor should just stick with Polish news let us know as well.

Family give away unwanted loft railway
Wolverhampton Express and Star

wd2676964tracks_3_tt_14.jpgWhen Steven and Marie Wright moved home to speed through the transaction, they told solicitors to leave a spectacular giant model train set, which had belonged to the previous owner, in the loft.

Now the couple, who have three young children are inviting collectors or parents to take the grand creation off their hands. Mr Wright, a 36-year-old self-employed manufacturer, was so keen to move his family from Wrights Bank in School Lane, Coven, to St Paul’s Close in the village, he agreed to keep the track in case the hiring of tradesmen to dismantle it held things up.

He said: “It belonged to the previous owner of the house who died. “He had obviously put so much effort into it that it seemed a real shame to just take a hammer to it. “It is really impressive and takes up the whole loft, which I would estimate is around 18ft by 10ft. Anyone interested in taking the train set should call Mr Wright on 07985 371954.

Russian railway project eyes Atlantic link
Barents Observer

barentslink.jpg

The operators of the Russian Belkomur railway project are stepping up cooperation with regional authorities in northern Finland in an attempt to strengthen the link between Belkomur and the Barents Link railway project.

The vision of the railway enthusiasts is a new railway connection between the Urals and the Atlantic Sea. The projected Belkomur line will run from the Ural city of Perm to Arkhangelsk. The Barents Link project links the Norwegian town of Narvik with regions in Northwest Russia. While the Komi Republic has had a central role in the Belkomur project, the administration of the Finnish Kainuu county is in charge of the Barents Link.

Labour eyes £31bn high-speed rail plan
Nick Mathiason – The Observer

The government and Network Rail are considering a £31bn proposal to build a network of 187mph high-speed railway lines that would boost the British economy and slash journey times.

railway.jpg New studies drawn up by Atkins, the engineering consultancy, show how developing the existing west and east coast main lines could see journey times from London to Manchester reduced to 74 minutes, London-Birmingham to just one hour, and London-Sheffield to 79 minutes.

Economic gains to the UK of £63bn far exceed the £31bn cost of building the network, says Atkins.

The government welcomed the report: ‘We will be looking at the need for new transport capacity as part of our new approach to planning. We will consider all available options to provide the most efficient and beneficial solutions for passengers and taxpayers’.

photo, The Great Central Railway was built in 1890 to provide a high speed rail route from Manchester to the Channel Tunnel. Most of the line was closed in 1966.