HDL Severn Explorer railtour

Saturday 24 April 2010

This article was closed on Saturday 5 June 2010

[PHOTO: Steam train approaching Bridgnorth: 66kB]

Above: A steam-train approaches Bridgnorth, the western end of the Severn Valley Railway, as our DEMU looks on. Photo by Andy Armitage.

Hastings Diesels Limited’s 43rd public railtour was from Hastings to Kidderminster and Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway.

The outward and return routes were the same between Hastings and Didcot, via Bromley South, Clapham Junction and Richmond. The outward portion ran via Swindon, Kemble and the Golden Valley, and the return leg took in Birmingham Snow Hill and Oxford.

The train performed as expected and kept good time. The sustained high-speed running on parts of the journey, including passing both Banbury and Oxford at over 70mph, was a source of amusement to some! The buffet car and catering-trolley each did a sterling trade throughout the trip.

Historical data

The train was formed thus: 60118-60501-69337-70262-60529-60116, with motor coach 60116 Mountfield leading throughout the main-line sections of the railtour and on the return portion of the Severn Valley Railway section.

The publicity leaflet and final timings remain available.


Various photographers have taken video-footage depicting this railtour and have uploaded it to YouTube; the following are links to some starting-points but do not represent a definitive collection:


[PHOTO: railtour headboard: 82kB]

Above: Railtour headboard.

[PHOTO: Train approaching over summit: 98kB]

Above: This superb view of the railtour rushing over the crest approaching Frant was photographed by Don Benn.

[PHOTO: Train approaching station: 80kB]

Above & Below: Our narrow-bodied train approaches Clapham Junction station on the outward portion of the Severn Explorer railtour.

[PHOTO: Train approaching station: 100kB]

[PHOTO: Train approaching station: 122kBB]

Above: The railtour’s photo-stop at Kemble, prior to its passage through Sapperton Tunnel and the Golden Valley.

[PHOTO: Train in landscape: 82kB]

Above: This view of our train accelerating away from Hay Bridge on the Severn Valley Railway was captured by Phil Gosling.

[PHOTO: Train in sunny platform : 82kB]

Above: There was time during our call at Arley for this photo to be taken.

[PHOTO: Preserved station with preserved train: 82kB]

Above: At Bridgnorth, this photo was taken showing our train laying-over in the Down platform; the headcode has been changed ready for the return trip, but the handbrake is also applied as can be seen by the shoe-paddle placed in the seconman’s window.

[PHOTO: View of preserved station from footbridge: 98kB]

Above: This study of Bridgnorth preserved station by Andy Armitage yields much of interest, including the old station buildings, the classic GWR waiting-shelter, the signal-box, and a Western Hydraulic loco in the yard.

[PHOTO: Steam train and signal box: 82kB]

Above: The signalman and one of the footplate crew exchange single-line tokens as the train passes the signal-box at Hampton Loade. This sort of scene was viewed by many of our passengers during the day—although this particular event was seen not from 1001 but from another steam train on the Severn Valley Railway.

[PHOTO: Train in countryside: 66kB]

Above: The Bridgnorth to Hastings service had just set off when Phil Gosling captured this image of it descending Eardington Bank on the Severn Valley Railway.

[PHOTO: Train on embankment and bridge: 66kB]

Above: The return leg of the railtour departing from Highley on the Severn Valley Railway. Photo by Jon Williams.

[PHOTO: Train approaching station: 82kB]

Above & Below: The preserved Hastings DEMU makes its way off the connecting line between the Severn Valley Railway and the National Rail network at Kidderminster, and arrives at the station to entrain the remaining passengers for the return leg to Hastings.

[PHOTO: Train approaching station: 82kB]

[PHOTO: Train passing station in built-up area: 82kB]

Above: On the return leg of the railtour, Phil Gosling photographed 1001 as it passed Birmingham Snow Hill station.

[PHOTO: Train in station, seen from footbridge: 98kB]

Above: At a few minutes past six on this pleasant late-April evening, the entire trainload of travellers is off the train at Hatton, stretching their legs, conversing or making their way to/from the other platform to admire the train. The photo-stop was scheduled to last for 10 minutes.