Severn Valley Railway to accommodate steam locomotive 45231 The Sherwood Forester

The Severn Valley Railway has announced that it will host LMS Black 5 No. 45231 The Sherwood Forester in September for its Autumn Steam Gala.

45231 Sherwood Forester visits Severn Valley Railway courtesy of Locomotive Services Group.

45231 is the first guest announced for the gala, which runs from September 15-18.

Joining 45231 will be the home fleet of 4930 Hagley Hall (first gala appearance after 36 years away), GWR 2857 (last gala before ticket expires), Pannier 1501 (last gala appearance before ticket expires ), Pannier No. 7714, No. 70 ‘Elisabeth II’, 43106 and 75069.

The Severn Valley Railway has already confirmed that it will not be operating overnight services at this year’s gala as a coal-saving measure.

45231 The Sherwood Forester pulling the Jacobite // Credit: Keith Wilkinson

Michael Dunn, Head of Commerce and Visitor Experience, said, “After an outstanding Spring Steam Gala with over 5,000 attendees, we wanted to ensure that our fall event will be just as popular with enthusiasts.

“This first guest is a statement of intent from our team that the SVR Galas are truly unmissable! And we have a few more surprises up our sleeve, which we’ll reveal to you as soon as possible!”

The main heritage railway said it would not operate at night for the event as a coal-saving measure. “This is a critical time for the railroad,” said Helen Smith, chief executive. “Operating costs in all areas of the company are rising sharply. By “resting” overnight for this year’s Steam Fall Gala, we will be able to keep our coal supplies limited, to ensure we can run our hugely popular Steam Christmas events. This is a crucial element in generating much needed revenue as we continue to respond to the impact of the pandemic.

“We will have an ambitious schedule for the Gala starting at 8 a.m. and continuing late into the evening on Friday and Saturday. We are bringing back the hugely popular breakfast trains and other informal dining options on board the train, as well as freight trains and a narrow gauge railway at The Engine House, Highley. We’re looking forward to what we think will be the UK’s first Steam Gala!

The railway connects Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. Tickets are now available on the Severn Valley Railway website.

Jose P. Rogers