Severn Valley Railway Autumn Steam Gala

This years Severn Valley Railway Autumn Steam Gala takes place from Thursday 21 September until Sunday 24 September. During the gala The  home-fleet of engines will be in steam, including: ex Port Talbot saddle tank GWR 813, 1450, 0-6-0 15xx class 1501, GWR 28xx class 2857, 7714, GWR 78xx Manor class 7802 Bradley Manor, GWR 78xx Manor class 7812 Erlestoke Manor, West Country class Pacific 34027 Taw Valley, Battle Of Britain classPacific locomotive 34053 Sir Keith Park & Ivatt class 4 43106. In addition the Railwayman’s Arms Wil be selling a number of guest beers during the gala, including Repton 4%, 1501 4.3%, Bluebell 4.6% and Erlestoke Manor 5% all brewed by Bewdley Brewery (try saying that after a few pints). After the Autumn Steam Gala the Battle of Britain class Pacific locomotive 34053 Sir Keith Park will also be departing from the Severn Valley Railway. The home fleet will appear alongside visiting locomotives for the Autumn Steam Gala Which this year include:

Southern Railway Maunsell ‘Schools’ class locomotive No. 926 Repton
The 1913 Great Eastern Railway (GER) Wordsell Y14′ class 0-6-0 Locomotive No. 564 (LNER J15 class)
‘P’ class locomotive No. 323 ‘Bluebell’ courtesy of the Bluebell Railway
Small England’ No. 2 Prince courtesy of the Talyllyn Railway

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Charles Collett (GWR)

GWR 6024 King Edward I

The great Western Railways’ Chief Mechanical locomotive Engineer Charles Benjamin Collett was born 10 September 1871. He was educated at Merchant Taylors School and City and Guilds Engineering College before becoming chief mechanical engineer of the Great Western Railway from 1922 to 1941. He designed (amongst others) the GWR’s 4-6-0 Castle and King Class express passenger locomotives. Collett’s predecessor, George Jackson Churchward had delivered to the GWR from Swindon a series of class leading and innovative locomotives, and arguably by the early 1920s the Great Western‘s 2-cylinder and 4-cylinder 4-6-0 designs were substantially superior to the locomotives of the other railway groupings.In 1922 Churchward retired, and Charles Benjamin Collett inherited a legacy of excellent standardised designs. But, with costs rising and revenues falling, there was a need to rationalise the number of pre-grouping designs and to develop more powerful locomotives

Collett was a practical development engineer and gifted, technical Engineer who could look at existing designs and reliably improve them. he took Churchward’s designs and developed them – the Hall from the Saint class, and the Castle from the Star, in this way Collett was able to produce a standardized fleet of locomotives ideally suited to the GWR’s requirements. He was able to extract substantial performance gains out of the Churchward designs, and the Castle Class was testament to this.He was also responsible for more humble locomotives, such as many of the pannier tank classes. However he received criticism from contemporary engineers and later railway historians for undertaking very little innovation in his designs, instead sticking with Churchward’s style in every case. Arguably this meant that by the time Collett retired the superiority of Great Western locomotives was lost to more modern designs, particularly those of William Stanier, who worked at Swindon before moving to the LMS in 1932, and took Churchward’s style with him but developed it in line with the progression in steam technology.

By 1926, something bigger than the Castle class was required to haul heavy expresses at an average speed of 60 mph. Great Western’s General Manager Sir Felix Pole told Collett to proceed with the design and construction of a “Super-Castle”. The result was the King class 4-6-0 design which emerged from Swindon works in June 1927. This had dimensions never previously seen, and represented the ultimate development of Churchward’s four cylinder concept. It was the heaviest (136 tons), and had the highest tractive effort (40,300 lbs.) of any 4-6-0 locomotive ever to run in the United Kingdom. However Because of its weight, the King class was restricted to a limited number of routes.

Charles Collett sadly passed away 5 April 1952 but many of his designs are still in steam thanks to the dedication and hard work of many steam railway enthusiasts at various heritage lines such as the Great Central, North York Moors, East Lancashire, Severn Valley and Bluebell railways

 

Severn Valley Railway On the Buses

Severn Valley Railway London Transport on the buses event takes place at Bewdley Station on Sunday 10 September 2017. This year it featured the 1914 built London & North Western Railway (LNWR) Leyland ‘Charabanc’ (reg. No. CC1087) from the London Transport Museum in 1924 LB5 ‘Chocolate Express’ livery, which was based at Euston Station in London running bus services in Watford and was used for pleasure-trips around North Wales . It was also requisitioned by the War Office in March 1915 for troop transportation in London. Also present were 1962 London Transport AEC Routemaster RM1005 with Euro 6 engine, Registration: 5 CLT and The first production AEC Routemaster RM 5 from 1959. Registration: VLT 5. In all Bewdley Station has up to 25 historical and modern vehicles in attendance, From a Daimler Metrocam to a 1953 Guy Special.

Shrewsbury Steam Rally

Coalbrookdale Engine

This years Shrewsbury Steam Rally takes place Sunday 27 and Monday 28 August (Bank Holiday Monday) at Onslow Park, Shrewsbury. This year there will be over a thousand different exhibits on display including Steam-powered tractors, steam Rollers, Fairground showman engines, Historic military vehicles, Veteran and classic cars and commercial vehicles, Classic motorbikes, Vintage tractors, Vintage fairground organs and other machinery, Plus a range of oil and steam-powered static engines. The Main Arena will play host to a variety of events including a range of ploughing and threshing demonstrations on the working field, showing the history of farming as it has changed through the last century. Teams of shire horses will plough part of the site, as part of the heavy horses display, steam-powered cultivation will also be demonstrated. There will also be a birds-of -Prey display in the main arena demonstrating falconry.

London Steam Carriage

Shrewsbury Steam Rally will also be exhibiting one of the the first railway locomotives in the world, The Coalbrookdale Locomotive in association with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum. The Coalbrookdale Locomotive was originally Designed by Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick and built by the Coalbrookdale ironworks in 1802. Trevithick disagreed with James Watt’s assertion that ‘high-pressure steam’ was extremely dangerous and set out to prove so. However James Watt had taken out many patents on all aspects of steam engines to prevent others even experimenting. Despite this, Trevithick and one or two men (even one of Watt’s staff) began working on small high-pressure steam engines in secret for pumping water and road steam engines. In 1801 when Watts’ patents finally ran out Richard Trevithick took up the challenge in the form of two road vehicles. Then In 1802 Trevithick took out a patent for his high pressure steam engine. To prove his ideas, he built a stationary engine at the Coalbrookdale Company’s works in Shropshire in 1802. The Coalbrookdale company then built a rail locomotive for him. Sadly the only known information about it comes from a drawing preserved at the Science Museum, London, together with a letter written by Trevithick to his friend, Davies Giddy. The design incorporated a single horizontal cylinder enclosed in a return-flue boiler. A flywheel drove the wheels on one side through spur gears, and the axles were mounted directly on the boiler, with no frame. In 1803 Trevithick built another steam-powered road vehicle called the London Steam Carriage, which attracted much attention from the public and press when he drove it that year in London from Holborn to Paddington and back. However It was uncomfortable for passengers and proved more expensive to run than a horse-drawn carriage and so the project was abandoned. In 1989 GKN Sankey in association with The National Vulcan Insurance Company decided to build a replica the Coalbrookdale Locomotive using letters from Trevithick himself and a drawing held by what was the original patents office in London. It was assembled by a team of nine apprentices and was later donated to the museum on the 18th of July 1990.

The Portsmouth Action Field Gun Display Team will also be performing a truly spectacular event called the South Africa Challenge, involving a Command 1 tonne, 12-pounder field gun and limber (a two-wheeled cart designed to support the trail and the stock of a field carriage) which will be raced across the main arena. The display in its present form was started in 1907, inspired by the exploits of the Navy during the Boer War in 1899. From 2001 the Field Gun crews and staff of Portsmouth Action Field Gun (PAFG) have been committed to continue to train for and display these competitive Field Gun runs. In 2001 the ‘field gun run’ was resurrected by a crew and staff comprising ex-field gunners and civilians who wanted to prove that a civilian field gun crew had the ability to perform competitive field gun runs using the same drill and equipment over the same course as the former Royal Naval gunners did for a hundred years. A South Africa Challenge was performed at The International Festival of the Sea (IFOS) in Portsmouth in June 2005. The South Africa Challenge involves two teams racing each other to dis-assemble and re-assemble the Field Gun on the carriage and fire (a blank) at each end of the run. Six full competitive field gun runs were completed with a fastest time recorded of 3 minutes and 33 seconds. In 2010 the crew trained at Mill Rythe Holiday Centre on Hayling Island, and achieved the target of having 2 running crews by the end of 2010 to coincide with the re-introduced British Military Tournament (BMT) at Earls Court.

The Red Arrows aerobatic display team will also be doing a fly-past of the Shrewsbury steam Rally. The highlight of Steam Rally will be the Grand Parade set to nostalgic music and poetry, involving all kinds of other vehicles, from Steam Traction Engines, Showman Engines, military vehicles historic lorries classic motorbikes and classic cars,

E. Nesbit

English author and poet Edith Nesbit was born 15th August 1858. She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co founoded the Fabian Society, a precursor to the modern Labour Party.Nesbit published approximately 40 books for children, including novels, collections of stories and picture books. Collaborating with others, she published almost as many more. Nesbit was “the first modern writer for children”and unlike authors such asLewis Carroll, George MacDonald and Kenneth Grahame, who turned away from tough truths, Nesbit dealt with things-as-they-are, previously the province of adult novels.” Nesbit is also credited with having invented the children’s adventure story. Noël Coward was a great admirer of hers and, in a letter to an early biographer Noel Streatfeild, wrote “she had an economy of phrase, and an unparalleled talent for evoking hot summer days in the English countryside.”

Among Nesbit’s best-known books are The Story of the Treasure Seekers (1898) and The Railway Children. This concerns a family who move to “Three Chimneys”, a house near the railway, after the father, who works at the Foreign office, is imprisoned after being falsely accused of spying. The children befriend an Old Gentleman who regularly takes the 9:15 train near their home; he is eventually able to help prove their father’s innocence, and the family is reunited. The family also take care of a Russian exile, Mr Szczepansky, who came to England looking for his family (later located) and Jim, the grandson of the Old Gentleman, who suffers a broken leg in a tunnel. The theme of an innocent man being falsely imprisoned for espionage and finally vindicated might have been influenced by the Dreyfus Affair, which was a prominent worldwide news item a few years before the book was written. And the Russian exile, persecuted by the Tsars for writing “a beautiful book about poor people and how to help them” and subsequently helped by the children, was most likely an amalgam of the real-life dissidents Sergius Stepniak and Peter Kropotkin who were both friends of the author.

The Railway Children was also adapted into 1970 British drama film based on the novel by E. Nesbit. The film was directed by Lionel Jeffries, and stars Dinah Sheridan, Jenny Agutter (who had earlier featured in the successful BBC’s 1968 dramatisation of the novel), Sally Thomsett and Bernard Cribbins in leading roles. The film was released to cinemas in the United Kingdom on 21 December 1970. The film rights were bought by Lionel Jeffries. It was his directorial debut, and he was also responsible for writing the screenplay for the film. The Railway Children turned out to be a critical success, both at the time of its release and in later years. It has gone on to gain a place in several surveys of the greatest films ever made, including surveys conducted by the British Film Institute and Total Film magazine. The Railway Children was later remade with Jenny Agutter playing the Mother of the three children.

Nesbitt also wrote The Wouldbegoods (1899), which recount stories about the Bastables, a middle class family that has fallen on relatively hard times. The Railway Children is also extremely well known. Her children’s writing also included numerous plays and collections of verse.She created an innovative body of work that combined realistic, contemporary children in real-world settings with magical objects – what would now be classed as contemporary fantasy – and adventures and sometimes travel to fantastic worlds. In doing so, she was a direct or indirect influence on many subsequent writers, including P. L. Travers (author of Mary Poppins), Edward Eager, Diana Wynne Jones and J. K. Rowling. C. S. Lewis wrote of her influence on his Narnia series and mentions the Bastable children in The Magician’s Nephew. Michael Moorcock would go on to write a series of steampunk novels with an adult Oswald Bastable (of The Treasure Seekers) as the lead character .Nesbit also wrote for adults, including eleven novels, short stories and four collections of horror stories. Nesbit sadly passed away on 4 May 1924, but has left a long lasting legacy in the form of some great novels and Poems.

George Stephenson

English civil engineer and mechanical engineer George Stephenson sadly died 12 August 1848. He was born on 9 June 1781 and is credited with building the first public railway line in the world to use steam locomotives. Renowned as being the “Father of Railways”, the Victorians considered him a great example of diligent application and thirst for improvement, with self-help advocate Samuel Smiles particularly praising his achievements. His rail gauge of 4 feet 81⁄2 inches (1,435 mm), sometimes called “Stephenson gauge”, is the world’s standard gauge. George Stephenson was born in Wylam, Northumberland, near Newcastle upon Tyne. At 17, Stephenson became an engineman at Water Row Pit, Newburn. George studied at night school learning reading, writing and arithmetic. In 1801 he began work at Black Callerton colliery as a brakesman’, controlling the winding gear of the pit. In 1811 Stephenson fixed the pumping engine at High Pit, Killingworth. He did so with such success that he was soon promoted to enginewright for the neighbouring collieries at Killingworth, responsible for maintaining and repairing all of thec olliery engines. He soon became an expert in steam-driven machinery.

In 1815, Stephenson began to experiment with a safety lamp that would burn without causing an explosion in the mine. At the same time, Cornishman Sir Humphry Davy, the eminent scientist was also looking at the problem. Despite his lack of any scientific knowledge, Stephenson, by trial and error, devised a lamp in which the air entered via tiny holes. Stephenson demonstrated the lamp himself to two witnesses by taking it down Killingworth colliery and holding it directly in front of a fissure from which fire damp was issuing. This was a month before Davy presented his design to the Royal Society. The two designs differed in that, the Davy’s lamp was surrounded by a screen of gauze, whereas Stephenson’s lamp was contained in a glass cylinder. For his invention Davy was awarded £2,000, whilst Stephenson was accused of stealing the idea from Davy. A local committee of enquiry exonerated Stephenson, proved that he had been working separately and awarded him £1,000 but Davy and his supporters refused to accept this. They could not see how an uneducated man such as Stephenson could come up with the solution that he had. In 1833 a House of Commons committee found that Stephenson had equal claim to having invented the safety lamp. Davy went to his grave believing that Stephenson had stolen his idea. The Stephenson lamp was used exclusively in the North East, whereas the Davy lamp was used everywhere else. The experience with Davy gave Stephenson a life-long distrust of London-based, theoretical, scientific experts. There is a theory that it was Stephenson who indirectly gave the name of Geordies to the people of Tyneside. By this theory, the name of the Geordie lamp attached to the pit men themselves. By 1866 any native of Tyneside could be called a Geordie.

Cornishman Richard Trevithick is credited with the first realistic design of the steam locomotive in 1802. Later, he visited Tyneside and built an engine there for a mine-owner. Several local men were inspired by this, and designed engines of their own. Stephenson designed his first locomotive in 1814, a travelling engine designed for hauling coal on the Killingworth wagonway, and named Blücher after the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. This locomotive could haul 30 tons of coal up a hill at 4 mph (6.4 km/h), and was the first successful flanged-wheel adhesion locomotive: its traction depended only on the contact between its flanged wheels and the rail. The new engines were too heavy to be run on wooden rails, and iron rails were in their infancy, with cast iron exhibiting excessive brittleness. Together with William Losh, Stephenson improved the design of cast ironrails to reduce breakage; these were briefly made by Losh, Wilson and Bell at their Walker ironworks. According toRolt, he also managed to solve the problem caused by the weight of the engine upon these primitive rails.He experimented with a ‘steam spring’ (to ‘cushion’ the weight using steam pressure), but soon followed the new practice of ‘distributing’ weight by utilising a number of wheels. For the Stockton and Darlington Railway, however, Stephenson would use only wrought iron rails.

Stephenson was hired to build an 8-mile (13-km) railway from Hetton colliery to Sunderland in 1820. The finished result used a combination of gravity on downward inclines and locomotives for level and upward stretches. It was the first railway using no animal power. In 1821, a parliamentary bill was passed to allow the building of the Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR). This 25-mile (40 km) railway was intended to connect various collieries situated near Bishop Auckland to the River Tees at Stockton, passing through Darlington on the way. The original plan was to use horses to draw coal carts on metal rails, but after company director Edward Pease met Stephenson he agreed to change the plans. Stephenson surveyed the line in 1821, assisted by his eighteen-year-old son Robert. That same year construction of the line began. A company was set up to manufacture locomotives for the railway, It was named Robert Stephenson and Company, and George’s son Robert was the managing director. In September 1825 the works at Forth Street, Newcastle completed the first locomotive for the new railway: originally named Active, it was soon renamed Locomotion. It was followed by “Hope”, “Diligence” and “Black Diamond”.

The Stockton and Darlington Railway opened on 27 September 1825. Driven by Stephenson, Locomotion hauled an 80-ton load of coal and flour nine miles (15 km) in two hours, reaching a speed of 24 miles per hour (39 km/h) on one stretch. The first purpose-built passenger car, dubbed Experiment,was attached, and carried dignitaries on the opening journey. It was the first time passenger traffic had been run on a steam locomotive railway. Although Richard Trevithick had demonstrated the idea back in 1808 using catch-me-who-can on a circular track which was situated near the present day Euston Station.The rails used for the new line were wrought-iron rails which could be produced in much longer lengths than the cast-iron ones and were much less liable to crack under the weight of heavy locomotives and The gauge that Stephenson chose for the line was 4 feet 81⁄2 inches (1,435 mm), and this subsequently came to be adopted as the standard gauge for railways, not only in Britain, but also throughout the world. Stephenson had also ascertained by experiments at Killingworth that half of the power of the locomotive was consumed by a gradient as little as 1 in 260 & came to the conclusion that railways should be kept as level as possible. He used this knowledge while working on the Bolton and Leigh Railway, and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR), executing a series ofdifficult cuts, embankments and stone viaducts to smooth the route the railways took.

As the L&MR approached completion in 1829, its directors arranged for a competition to decide who would build its locomotives, and the Rainhill Trials were run in October 1829. Entries could weigh no more than six tons and had to travel along the track for a total distance of 60 miles (97 km). Stephenson’s entry was Rocket, and its performance in winning the contest made it famous. The opening ceremony of the L&MR, on 15 September 1830, was a considerable event, drawing luminaries from the government and industry, including the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington. The day started with a procession of eight trains setting out from Liverpool. The parade was led by “Northumbrian” and included “Phoenix”, “North Star” and “Rocket”. The railway was a resounding success and Stephenson became famous, and was offered the position of chief engineer for a wide variety of other railways.1830 also saw the grand opening of the skew bridge in Rainhill as part of the grand opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The bridge was the first to cross any railway at an angle. This required the structure to be constructed as two flat planes (overlapping in this case by 6′) between which the stonework forms a parallelogram shape when viewed from above. This has the effect of flattening the arch and the solution is to lay the bricks forming the arch at an angle to the abutments (the piers on which the arches rest). This technique, which results in a spiral effect in the arch masonry, provides extra strength in the arch to compensate for the angled abutments.

Britain led the world in the development of railways and this acted as a stimulus for the industrial revolution, by facilitating the transport of raw materials and manufactured goods. George Stephenson cannot claim to have invented the locomotive. Richard Trevithick deserves that credit. George Stephenson, with his work on the Stockton and Darlington Railway and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, paved the way for the railway engineers who were to follow, such as his son Robert, his assistant Joseph Locke who went on to carry out much work on his own account and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. These men were following in his footsteps. Stephenson was also farsighted inrealising that the individual lines being built would eventually join together, and would need to have the same gauge. The standard gauge used throughout much of the world is due to him.

SVR Steam on the Road

The Severn Valley Railway’s Steam on the Road event takes place 12 August 2017 at Kidderminster Station. The event Features a variety of full size traction engines, and up to 4 miniature engines including roadgoing steam vehicles, Steam Rollers, traction engines, Showmans Engines and steam wagons. There were also Steam Trains running on the Severn Valley Railway including Brakevan rides on GWR 0-6-0 tank engine No. 1450 at Kidderminster station.  Together with steam trains running on the Railway.

Other Attractions include: Traction engine ‘Play Pen’ in the carpark at Kidderminster station, to view the engines in action. Road run through Kidderminster at 2.30pm each day, culminating with a climb up the hill to Kidderminster station. Land Rover Series 1 gathering at Highley on Saturday. Brake Van Rides at Kidderminster on Sunday with No. 1450. A 1957 Series 1 88in Land Rover (which can run on road and rails) will also be travelling along the line from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster and return on the Saturday, alongside our train services. Affectionately known as ‘Plimsoll’, the vehicle has a 1997cc four-cylinder petrol engine, a four-speed main gearbox and a two-speed transfer box with selectable four-wheel-drive. From midday until 8pm, the Valley Suite at Kidderminster will be hosting a beer festival, with 15 Real Ales and 10 Traditional Ciders & Perries on offer.