Severn Valley Railway

34027 Taw Valley

Forty eight years ago today on 23 May 1970 The Severn Valley Railway line reopened as a heritage line . The Severn Valley line Railway was originally built between 1858 and 1862, and linked Hartlebury, near Droitwich Spa, with Shrewsbury, a distance of 40 miles (64 km). Important stations on the line were Stourport-on-Severn, Bewdley and Arley within Worcestershire, and Highley, Hampton Loade, Bridgnorth, Coalport, Ironbridge and Broseley, Buildwas, Cressage and Berrington in Shropshire. Although the railway was built by the original Severn Valley Railway Company, it was operated from opening on 1 February 1862 by the West Midland Railway which was absorbed into the Great Western Railway on 1 August 1863. In 1878 the GWR opened a link line between Bewdley and Kidderminster. This meant trains could run direct from the Black Country to areas of Shropshire. Most Kidderminster to Bewdley trains continued through the Wyre Forest line (dismantled in the 1960s and now forming part of National Cycle Route 45) to Tenbury Wells or Woofferton. At Buildwas Junction (now the site of Ironbridge Power Station near what is now Telford) Severn Valley trains connected with services from Wellington to Much Wenlock and Craven Arms.

Prior to preservation, the Severn Valley line was never financially successful. Freight traffic, mostly agricultural, and coal traffic from the collieries of Alveley and Highley were the principal sources of revenue. The line was strategically useful in the Second World War as an alternative diversionary route around the West Midlands. After nationalisation in 1948, passenger traffic started to dwindle. Whilst it is generally believed that the line was closed under the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, the Severn Valley Line was, already scheduled for closure prior to the publication of Beeching’s report ‘The Reshaping of British Railways’ on 27 March 1963. British Railways had announced in January 1962 that the Severn Valley line was under review, and the B.T.C. published closure proposal notices on 1 October 1962 in advance of a meeting of the West Midlands Transport Users Consultative Committee which took place at Bridgnorth Town Hall on 8 November 1962? Objections to the proposed closure were unsuccessful and the line was closed to through passenger services on 9 September 1963 and to through freight services on 30 November 1963. Following closure, the track north of Bridgnorth was dismantled. After 1963, coal traffic survived south of Alveley until 1969, while a sparse passenger service continued to link Bewdley with Kidderminster and Hartlebury, until this too ceased in January 1970. Freight traffic between the British Sugar Corporation’s Foley Park factory and Kidderminster continued until 1982. A very small section of the original Severn Valley line continued to carry coal traffic to Ironbridge Power Station until its closure in November 2015. For much of its working life the Severn Valley line was operated by the Great Western Railway and subsequently the Western Region of British Railways.

The Severn Valley Railway Society was formed in July 1965 by a group of members who wished to preserve a section of the line which had closed in 1963. To achieve this, the Severn Valley Railway Company was incorporated in May 1967. Even at that early date, the objective of the company was to ‘preserve, retain and restore the standard-gauge railway extending from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster via Bewdley’. The SVR initially acquired 5½ miles of the line between Bridgnorth and Alveley Colliery from BR at a cost of £25,000. In May 23 1970 a Light Railway Order was granted allowing services to begin between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade. And the Severn Valley Railway began operating as a heritage railway. The end of coal trains from the colliery in 1973 then allowed SVR to acquire a further 8½ miles of the line as far as Foley Park, the purchase price of £74,000 being raised by the floatation of a public company initially under the chairmanship of Sir Gerald Nabarro and Services were extended to Bewdley in May 1974.

Following the end of freight traffic from BSC at Foley Park in 1982, the SVR purchased the final section of the line to Kidderminster at a cost of £75,000. The SVR also rented the former Comberton Hill goods yard at Kidderminster from BR, on which a new station would be built. This was achieved in time for services to Kidderminster to begin on 30 July 1984. Major developments on the SVR since 1984 have included the commissioning of a newly constructed signal box at Kidderminster in 1987, the opening of a new boiler shop at Bridgnorth in 1990, the opening of a new carriage shed at Kidderminster in 2003, the completion of the east wing and canopy of Kidderminster Station in 2006, and the opening of the Engine House Museum at Highley in 2008. 2010 marked the Severn Valley railway’s 40th anniversary since opening in 1970 and the 175th anniversary of the formation of the Great Western Railway. 2015 marked the 50th anniversary since the birth of the Severn Valley Railway on 6 July 1965. Special events were staged during both years to mark these anniversaries.

World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day takes place annually on 23 May. Tortoises and Turtles comprise some of the most amazing and endangered reptiles on the planet, so World Turtle Day was set up to increase respect and knowledge of Turtles and Tortoises and to encourage human action to help them survive and thrive. Turtle Day Is sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue, and celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to saving turtles caught on highways, and research activities. Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects encourage teaching about turtles in classrooms.

Turtles are diapsids of the order Testudines (or Chelonii) characterized by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs and acting as a shield. “Turtle” may refer to the order as a whole (American English) or to fresh-water and sea-dwelling testudines (British English). The order Testudines includes both extant (living) and extinct species. The earliest known members of this group date from 220 million years ago,  making turtles one of the oldest reptile groups and a more ancient group than snakes or crocodilians. Of the 356 known species alive today, some are highly endangered.

 

Tortoises also belong to the family Testudinidae under the order Testudines and suborder Cryptodira. There are fourteen extant families of the order Testudines, an order of reptile commonly known as turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. The suborder Cryptodira (Greek: hidden neck) is a suborder of Testudines that includes most living tortoises and turtles. Cryptodira differ from Pluerodia (side-neck turtles) in that they lower their necks and pull the heads straight back into the shells, instead of folding their necks sideways along the body under the shells’ marginals.The testudines are some of the most ancient reptiles alive. Tortoises are shielded from predators by a shell. The top part of the shell is the carapace, the underside is the plastron, and the two are connected by the bridge. The carapace is fused to both the vertebrae and ribcage, and tortoises are unique among vertebrates in that the pectoral and pelvic girdles are inside the ribcage rather than outside. Tortoises can vary in size from a few centimeters to two meters. They are usually diurnal animals with tendencies to be crepuscular depending on the ambient temperatures. They are generally reclusive animals. Tortoises are the longest living land animal in the world, although the longest living species of tortoise is a matter of debate. Galápagos tortoises are noted to live over 150 years, but an Aldabra giant tortoise named Adwaita may have been the longest living at an estimated 255 years. In general, most tortoise species can live 80-150 years.

Both Turtles and tortoises are ectotherms—animals commonly called cold-blooded—meaning that their internal temperature varies according to the ambient environment. However, because of their high metabolic rate, leatherback sea turtles have a body temperature that is noticeably higher than that of the surrounding water. Turtles are classified as amniotes, along with other reptiles, birds, and mammals. Like other amniotes, turtles breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. The study of turtles is called cheloniology, after the Greek word for turtle. It is also sometimes called testudinology, after the Latin name for turtles.

American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) was founded in 1990, by Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, and is certified by state and federal agencies as a nonprofit corporation to provide for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle, including Foundlings that cannot be adopted because of ill health, which remain in the care of American Tortoise Rescue for the remainder of their lives. The American Tortoise Rescue also advocate humane treatment of all animals, including reptiles.

The day is featured in Chase’s Book of Annual Events, and was created as an annual observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Since 1990, ATR has placed about 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes. ATR assists law enforcement when undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles. Armed with knowledge and passion for these gentle animals, we can come together to preserve Turtle and Tortoise species throughout the world.

Robert Moog

Best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer, The pioneer of electronic music, Robert Moog (Pronounced “Mogue”) was born on 23rd May 1934. Bob Moog’s innovative electronic design is employed in numerous synthesizers including the Minimoog Model D, Minimoog Voyager, Little Phatty, Moog Taurus Bass Pedals, Moog Minitaur, and the Moogerfooger line of effects pedals.He was born in New York and attended the Bronx High School of Science in New York, graduating in 1952. Moog earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Queens College, New York in 1957, another in electrical engineering from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in engineering physics from Cornell University. Moog’s awards include honorary doctorates from Polytechnic Institute of New York University (New York City) and Lycoming College (Williamsport, Pennsylvania).Moog created the first voltage-controlled subtractive synthesizer to utilize a keyboard as a controller and demonstrated it at the AES convention in 1964. In 1966, Moog filed a patent application for his unique low-pass filter which issued in October 1969. He held several dozen patents.

 

Moog also employed his theremin company (R. A. Moog Co., which would later become Moog Music) to manufacture and market his synthesizers. Unlike the few other 1960s synthesizer manufacturers, Moog shipped a piano-style keyboard as the standard user interface to his synthesizers. Moog also established standards for analog synthesizer control interfacing, with a logarithmic one volt-per-octave pitch control and a separate pulse triggering signal. The first instrument – The Moog modular synthesizer became one of the first widely used electronic musical instruments. Early developmental work on the components of the synthesizer occurred at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, now the Computer Music Center. While there, Moog developed the voltage controlled oscillators, ADSR envelope generators, and other synthesizer modules with composer Herbert Deutsch. In 1971 Moog Music began production of the Minimoog Model D which was among the first widely available, portable and relatively affordable synthesizers. One of Moog’s earliest musical customers was Wendy Carlos whom he credits with providing feedback that was valuable to the further development of Moog synthesizers.Moog also constructed his own theremin as early as 1948. Later he described a theremin in the hobbyist magazine Electronics World and offered a kit of parts for the construction of the Electronic World’s Theremin, which became very successful.

In the late 1980s Moog repaired the original theremin of Clara Rockmore, an accomplishment which he considered a high point of his professional career. He also produced, in collaboration with first wife Shirleigh Moog, Mrs. Rockmore’s album, The Art of the Theremin. Moog was a principal interview subject in the award-winning documentary film, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey, the success of which led to a revival of interest in the theremin. Moog Music went back to its roots and once again began manufacturing theremins. Thousands have been sold to date and are used by both professional and amateur musicians around the globe. In 1996 he published another do-it-yourself theremin guide. Today, Moog Music is the leading manufacturer of performance-quality thereminsThrough his involvement in electronic music, Moog developed close professional relationships with artists such as Don Buchla, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, John Cage, Gershon Kingsley, Clara Rockmore, Jean Jacques Perrey , and Pamelia Kurstin.

In a 2000 interview, Moog said “I’m an engineer. I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my customers. They use my tools.”During his lifetime, Moog founded two companies for manufacturing electronic musical instruments -RA Moog Co who manufactured Theramin Kits but left after a disagreement and formed a company called Big Briar. He also worked as a consultant and vice president for new product research at Kurzweil Music Systems from 1984 to 1988, helping to develop the Kurzweil K2000. He spent the early 1990s as a research professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. During his lifetime Moog received a Grammy Trustees Award for lifetime achievement in 1970, and In 2002, Moog was honored with a Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award, and an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee College of Music. Moog was also the inspiration behind the 2004 film Moog.

Sadly he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor on April 28, 2005 and passed away nearly four months later, at the age of 71 in Asheville, North Carolina on August 21, 2005. The Bob Moog Foundation was created as a memorial, with the aim of continuing his life’s work of developing electronic music. He is survived by three daughters (Laura Moog Lanier, Michelle Moog-Koussa, Renee Moog) one son (Matthew Moog) one stepdaughter, Miranda Richmond, and five grandchildren.