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The Severn Valley Railway (ePub)

Transport > Trains & Railways

By Michael Vanns
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Heritage Railway Guide
File Size: 21.9 MB (.epub)
Pages: 104
ISBN: 9781473892064
Published: 17th July 2017


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Worcestershire and Shropshire are neighbours and for 101 years until 1963 it was possible to travel by train between the two county towns of Worcester and Shrewsbury. For much of the journey, passengers would have been within sight of the River Severn, and it was a company deriving its title from that river that constructed the stretch of railway between Hartlebury and Shrewsbury at the end of the 1850s. This Severn Valley Railway was taken over by the West Midland Railway before the line opened, and a little over a year and a half later it became part of the Great Western Railway (GWR). That company ran it for almost eighty-five years until all the country’s railways were nationalised in 1948. British Railways continued to run trains over the whole route for another fifteen years before abandoning the section north from Bewdley to Shrewsbury. Fortunately, a new Severn Valley Railway company was formed by railway enthusiasts and by 1984 they were running steam-hauled trains between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, having created one of the nation’s most popular heritage attractions.

This book provides a brief history of the Severn Valley Railway from its earliest days through to the twenty-first century, providing a guide for all those who love the sight and sound of steam engines making their way through a particularly beautiful part of the Midlands landscape.

Michael Vanns manages to pack a lot of useful information into the narratives alongside a large number of interesting pictures. Roughly half of each book is devoted to the historical development, up to the time when both were closed by British Railways in the 1960s. The remaining pages cover the period from re-opening as preserved railways through to the present day where they have become major tourist attractions in their regions.

Friends of the National Railway Museum

On first seeing this title it could be assumed that this book purely covers the present heritage line. This is not so as the author covers the history of what was conceived in the 1800s and subsequent history to date.
Each chapter is fully supported by detailed text and well chosen black and white photographs many of historical interest, particularly of the colliery connections and industry beyond Bridgnorth.

Railway Correspondence and Travel Society

This is my second approach to a Heritage Railway Guide series book, and I hope it will not be the last. I have to say that they are some books very spoiled by the publisher.

The quality of the paper, the interior design, the photography, the theme and in general the whole book itself, make it an ideal candidate for any library that deserves its own. I love.

Read the complete Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

here are so many heritage railways in the UK now - it seems that steam railway travel is becoming alost as popular now as it was during its heyday. This superb book reveals the Severn Valley Railway in all its glory - I can't argue as to its being the finest; we have our own North Norfolk Railway here in Sheringham, and the trains are always, without exception, crowded, and they have started to regularly cross the road to the mainline. This book is a reminder of how things used to be, and how many people would like them to be once more. Stunning!

Books Monthly

The matter of maps notwithstanding, the combination of information and photographs is such that this book could well become an authoritative volume on its subject. While definitely a ‘souvenir’ volume; suitable for taking home after a visit to the SVR, it also has value as a provider of historical and social information for those interested in such matters. Railway modellers and members of the railway enthusiast community may also find it worthy of their attention.

NZ Crown Mines

About Michael Vanns

Michael Vanns was born in Newark-on-Trent in 1956. After studying history and history of art at Leicester University, and a short spell at Tamworth Castle Museum, Michael joined the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in 1978. He remained there until 2009, working on a variety of projects starting with the Elton Collection which examined the Industrial Revolution through contemporary prints, drawings and books. He is the author of ‘Witness to Change: A Record of the Industrial Revolution’, an appreciation of the Elton Collection published in 2003. He was involved in museum education and in a number of large Heritage Lottery funded projects, including the refurbishment of the country’s best preserved Victorian decorative tileworks, and the recreation of a small town Victorian street. For both these projects he was responsible for designing the displays and, in the case of the latter, the choice of buildings that were to be reconstructed.

During his career he has also written and had published 13 books, all but two on railway subjects. These include a number of works on British railway signalling as well as ‘The Railways of Newark-on-Trent’ (Oakwood), ‘Rail Centres: Nottingham’ (Ian Allan) and ‘Severn Valley Railway: a View from the Past’ (Ian Allan).

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