Something different for today, the above picture is not mine, but is taken from the Severn Valley Railway’s twitter feed. For those who know me, by virtue of most of my family being in the UK, but me being born and raised and living in Canada, I have a foot in the railfan community on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. As such, I’m an active volunteer with the Toronto Railway Historical Association/Toronto Railway Museum, and a financial contributor to groups in the United Kingdom including the Severn Valley Railway and the 6880 Betton Grange Society.
So back to the image, the Falling Sands Viaduct shown in the picture was constructed in 1877, it connects the southern terminus of the SVR at Kidderminster with the next main station at Bewdley. The viaduct is reaching the point of being life expired, and significant investment is required to restore it and ensure that it can stand for another 141 years. Without the bridge, the railway would be severed, and its future operations put at risk. With that in mind, the SVR has successfully obtained the first stage financing from the UK’s “Heritage Lottery Fund”, which enables them to fund raise the required contributing share from the railway to receive the balance of the funding from the lottery for the needed repairs. They are doing this through the “Helping Hands for Falling Sands” campaign during 2018.
I’ve been to the SVR three times for the Autumn Steam Gala, an event which is unparalleled in my mind in terms of the quality of the operations, and the rare opportunity to ride behind steam all night long as the now four day long (Thursday-Sunday) annual even sees trains running non-stop from around 8am Friday morning to 6pm Sunday night, including a limited overnight service. As someone whose favourite time for photography is in the night and long exposures, steam locomotives in the dark with smoke and steam are a dream to shoot.
I finally made a donation to Helping Hands for Falling Sands on the weekend, as I couldn’t attend the Gala and spend money at the railway to support it as a customer. One of the few places on the line where there are good photographic opportunities that I haven’t been to is Falling Sands, so I want to do my part to make sure it’s still standing for when I next go there. I’ve talked for years about trying to organize an Introduction to UK Heritage Railways trips for some railfan friends who’ve never been to the UK with the Severn Valley Fall Gala as a centerpiece of the trip, maybe 2019 will be the year that trip finally occurs.
A Couple of taster shots of what the Severn Valley can offer are below, along with a more on my Flickr account here. If you like what you see, please consider supporting their appeal to ensure the funds to restore the Falling Sands Viaduct are raised before the end of the year.