81F ORS Journal
Oxfordshire Railway Society 1980 Trip
The Severn Valley Railway
by Peter Heath
To misquote a few lines of a recent hit record, didn't we have a lovely
time the day we went to Bewdley, and on the way back ..........“
but more of that later. It was one of those rare days (the sun was shining
out of a cloudless sky ) on Saturday 5th July when Abingdon Coaches’
newest vehicle left Marcham. The coach did, in fact, have an “L”
registration but they had only purchased it shortly before and it had
come through its MOT less than twenty four hours ago. By the time we had
picked up our last passengers in Kid1ington there were 46 of us aboard.
After an interesting but uneventful journey, we arrived in good time to
see the 11 .45 departure from Bewdley.
browsing through the well stocked shop, having a coffee and taking the
odd photograph we prepared to board the 12.30. A Severn Valley Railway
official, resplendent in navy waistcoat and “scrambled egg”
hat, told us that our party had been allocated seats in the carriage next
to the Bar.......we wondered how he knew. A Class 52 diesel “ ‘Western
Courier”, looking immaculate in maroon livery, was coupled up, and
after putting the Society’s impressive Headboard on the front we
eased out of the station. To the steam fans it seemed strange that the
loco pulling us was less than 20 years old, and already preserved.
As we supped our ale we looked out on the tranquil scene as we ambled
along, passing green fields and with the river never far away. After trundling
over the famous and much photographed Victoria Bridge we went through
Arley, Highley and Hampton Loade stations, all neat and tidy with their
gas lamps, milk churns and olden advertising signs. Somewhere along the
line a steam hauled train passed us; it could so easily have been a quarter
of a century ago. Fifty five minutes after leaving Bewdley we pulled into
Bridgnorth, just over 12 miles away.
We had one and a half hours here; some went off to explore the picturesque
town, some had no difficulty in finding the bar on platform one, whilst
the rest looked round the depot with its impressive collection of locos.
The scene here, too, was reminiscent of the l95Os, with the smell of coal
and smoke and oily rags, except that most of the motive power looked as
though it had just come out of the paintshop.
At 3.O5 pm we were on our way back. But this time Great Western railway
“Hagley Hall”, No. 493O was to do the honours, and it was
interesting to note that this locomotive was about 30 years older than
“Western Courier”. At Arley, we had to wait some time for
the latter loco to pass us, coming in the opposite direction. We later
learnt that it was delayed by a cow on the line which refused to give
second best until it was eventually chased away.After the Diesel had left,our
engine was suddenly detached and ran back towards Bridgenorth only to
return a few minutes later. We made enquiries as to what was happening
and were told that the Diesel had failed just up the line,but had presumably
restarted. We steamed into Bewdley about 20 minutes late.
“On the way back....” we were involved in another failure
when our charabanc, having successfuUy negotiated the arduous Broadway
Hill, developed engine trouble and limped to a garage, where it then expired.
A small band of volunteers pushed the vehicle to the adjoining workshop,
and whilst the trouble was being rectified, the enterprising cafe next
door extended their opening hours and a welcome cup, of tea was purchased.
We were soon on our way, however, and the good spirited trippers settled
back in their seats reflecting, no doubt, that it could have been that
other diesel (the maroon one)— after all we did mange to push a
bus, but all in all it was a successful and enjoyable trip and we might
even have another one in 1981.
To misquote another song— “We’ll gather Bluebells in
the Spring”- maybe.
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