The first celebration was the success of the Railway’s 2012 Share Offer which passed the £2m milestone on the closing day of the scheme (September 30th 2013). And secondly, in an emotional ceremony on Sunday 6th October, flagship GWR 4-6-0 no. 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’ was carefully shunted from The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley to the locomotive works at Bridgnorth.
The locomotive’s restoration is one of the key projects for the Railway and is being supported by the 2012 Share Offer, as well as the SVR Charitable Trust (SVRCT) and the Friends of Loco Hagley Hall Group. The event on Sunday recognised the collaborative efforts of all parties, with 50 guests in attendance and speeches from the SVR Holdings Chairman Nick Paul CBE and Trustee of the SVRCT, Roger Scanlon.
Commenting on the 2012 Share Offer passing the £2m mark during his speech, Nick Paul CBE said: “The 2012 Share Offer scheme outlined our ambitious plans for this wonderful Railway. Today our supporters have shown tremendous generosity in helping us drive towards achieving that ambition. We extend our warmest thanks to everyone who has worked hard and helped us over the last 12 months.”
Following the ceremony, during which ‘Hagley Hall’ was slowly manoeuvred through Highley Station, SVR General Manager Nick Ralls said: “We have been overwhelmed by support over the last 12 months and it clearly demonstrates what can be achieved when we work together. It’s a wonderful sight to see this engine start its journey to full restoration and we look forward to seeing it out on the line hauling trains within the next two years.”
The locomotive was one of 259 ‘Hall’ class engines built in Swindon and was seen as one of the most successful Great Western Railway (GWR) designs – hauling both heavy freight and express passenger trains with ease. The engine is ideal for use on the SVR’s intense passenger services.
The departure of ‘Hagley Hall’ has also allowed staff at The Engine House to reorganise the exhibits and welcome the Railway’s LMS Black 5 4-6-0 No. 45110, now on display following its return from Barrow Hill Roundhouse.
For further information about how to support this flagship project and others including the launch of the Heritage Skills Training Academy, contact The Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust svrtrust.org.uk
For information on upcoming events at the SVR such as the Santa Steam Specials, visit svr.co.uk or call 01299 403816.
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