The Severn Valley Railway Bridgnorth Engine Shed has officially reopened after months of fundraising, meticulous planning and hard work.
The £475,000 project was delivered on time and within budget and will transform the way the engineering team looks after the railway’s steam locomotive fleet.
Improvements include a new insulated roof with translucent panels as well as insulated cladding on the walls. State-of-the-art LED lighting now provides infinitely better lighting and will also be much more power efficient, which is especially welcome as energy costs soar. The used 6.3 ton crane will save the team time and money every month.
At the opening ceremony, engineering team leader Will Marsh pressed the button to set the overhead crane in motion, watched closely by some of those who had made significant donations to the $475,000 project. £, as well as volunteers and staff who had helped deliver the project.
Jenny Constant and her husband Graham were among the invited donors. She said: “We’ve been here so many times and seen how dark and wet it is and thought it was something that would benefit the workforce from day one.
“We cannot offer practical help as volunteers, but we can offer financial support, and we are happy to do so. We feel like part of the SVR family and really feel welcome.”
Another donor, Robin Childs, added: “I saw the impossible conditions in which people worked here. They preserve the locomotives that I love, so donating money for the new roof and new facilities was obviously going to help.
The £475,000 needed for the project was raised by the SVR Charitable Trust, attracting thousands of donations and several awards from granting organisations.
“The difference the translucent sheets have made to the light inside the shed is remarkable,” said Antony Bartlam, volunteer project manager. “Combined with the new lighting, this will make a positive difference to the working environment. The fact that we now have the crane in place will make lifting heavy components much simpler and easier, and will avoid complex maneuvering operations that were previously necessary.
“The expertise that Antony brought as a volunteer project manager was key to the success of this work,” said Helen Smith, SVR’s Managing Director. “He delivered this major project on time and on budget. A special thank you also to the many other volunteers who have helped at various stages; without their help, we would have faced much higher costs. It’s a wonderful example of teamwork at SVR, and it’s really something to celebrate.
A further ‘flash fundraising’ appeal by the Charitable Trust raised a further £16,000 in just two weeks to cover the cost of installing epoxy resin flooring. This provides a much sturdier and safer surface than the old, damaged and uneven one.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who donated to fund this much-needed project,” said Shelagh Paterson, TC Executive Director. “Thanks to the generosity of donors, SVR now has a lighter, brighter and safer workplace, helping to safeguard the future maintenance and overhaul of its steam locomotive fleet.”
Photo credit: Anthony Carwithen