Industrial Heritage Holiday III – Steam Trains

The third day of the holiday was spent on the Severn Valley Railway.  We had two extra people on this day – one who just loved steam trains and the other who had fallen when walking the previous day and hurt her knee and didn’t think that she would be able to do a walk, so trains seemed a good option.  We started at Bridgnorth and first took a train to the end of the line at Kidderminster.

Our train

Our train

We even had booklets to tell us what to look for out of the windows.

When we got to Kidderminster we had quite a bit of time to look round.  Everything is set out as in “the age of steam”.

At Kidderminster

At Kidderminster

There was also a small museum at Kidderminster, with all sorts of train memorabilia.  My favourite bit was the signal box area where they had the levers and one could try pulling them for two possible “trains” – the “up” train and the “down” train.  It was quite complicated – and that was just for a simple two way track!

The signal box area

The signal box area

We then got the same train, but going in the opposite direction.

Carridges for our train

Carriages for our train

We got into a compartment carriage this time.  I do like the way they used to have pictures of places to visit on the walls.

Pictures on the carrige walls

Pictures on the carriage walls

There were also the old leather straps to pull the windows up and down – never an easy task!

Leather straps to open and close the window

Leather straps to open and close the window

Instead of going all the way back to Bridgnorth we got off at Bewdley.  Some people walked into the town, but I decided it was too hot, so found the station buffet (in an old carriage) and had a drink and then looked round the station.

View of the line from the bridge at Bewdley

View of the line from the bridge at Bewdley

I do like the small touches they have on the platforms, like the old porters trolleys with appropriate suitcases.

Porters trolleys and suitcases

Porters trolleys and suitcases

Also the advertisements on most of the stations.

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From Bewdley we got a different train – which was the point of getting off and waiting.  I believe this was called a “pannier tank engine”.

The second engine

The second engine

We went on from here to Highley, where there is “The Engine House”, which – guess what – contains lots of engines!

Lots of engines

Lots of engines

I especially liked the engine where one could go onto the footplate and there were labels to show what all the knobs and levers were.

Engine footplate

Engine footplate

Also the Royal Mail train, with the sorting office on board.

Sorting office on the train

Sorting office on the train

There were lots of engines to look at – one that had “played”  Edward or was it Gordon?  This one had played its part as Thomas, several times – but is the wrong colour at the moment!

Not quite Thomas!

Not quite Thomas!

We had time for a cup of tea there and then got a train – a diesel, so not worth noting – back to Bridgnorth.  We were then shown a copy of Trevithick’s “Catch me who can”, which they keep there.  (See “Frederica” by Geogette Heyer!)

Copy of Trevithick's "Cath me who can"

Copy of Trevithick’s “Cath me who can”

Apparently Trevithick’s engines were very good (for the time!) but his rails were not strong enough, so broke.  Not good enough iron?!

We went back to the hotel from there for dinner and then afterwards there was a “concert” – well, it was a sing-a-long really from “The Shropshire Strummers”, a ukulele band.  They had song books so we could all join in and had songs that were mostly appropriate to our age group(!!) and we could choose some of those we wanted.  A very enjoyable evening.

So was it a good day and holiday?  I always like steam trains!  The noises, and the smells of coal and hot oil and steam and then there is all the nostalgia of course!  No, I don’t think they were “the good old days” but it is fun to sometimes remember – and steam trains were always “going on holiday” when we were young.  So yes – a good day.

Also a good holiday.  Lots of interesting things to see and new things to learn and a generally good group of people.

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