Judges at the Heritage Railway Association have awarded the top prize in the Modern Traction category to the SVR for its ‘major contribution to modern traction preservation’ following the official opening of its new, 1000m2 diesel locomotive maintenance depot in May last year.
The depot features two inspection pits, lifting jacks and a ten-tonne overhead travelling crane to preserve the railway’s 20 diesel locomotives, all of which are more than 50 years old, with three even older than the railway’s newest steam locomotives.
SVR General Manager Nick Ralls said, ‘We’re delighted that our £800,000 investment in creating the best-equipped diesel maintenance facility in the UK heritage railway movement has been recognised by the industry. Although we’re best known for our steam trains, our diesel units are fundamental to the railway’s fleet, operating around 10% of the line’s passenger services and we’re proud owners of a particularly notable collection of diesels. Public interest in heritage diesel trains is growing to such an extent that our annual diesel gala attendance figures were more than 50 per cent higher in 2016 than in previous years, testament to the fact that diesel locomotives are as much part of Britain’s industrial heritage as the steam locomotives they replaced."
The project has been 20 years in the making and was made possible through various resident diesel groups who’ve worked hard to help raise funds as well as many financial contributors and the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust.
Representatives of the SVR will officially receive the award at the Heritage Railway Association’s annual dinner on 11 February at a very fitting location – the Grand Central Station in Wolverhampton which was formerly the GWR’s Wolverhampton Low Level Station.
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