SVR’s "Visitor and Education Centre" at Highley
The Engine House
31 May 2008
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The Severn Valley Railway's new "Engine House", designed as a "Visitor and Education Centre", should have opened last year. We all know what happened in June 2007 - suffice it to say that the line reopened on Good Friday this year - and with it the Engine House. The need for a visit (it's not far to Highley) had thus been in the back of my mind for some time. A darkroom clearout and some general household rationalisation had created several bags of old videos, maps and magazines - a little outing to the SVR seemed in order... ...the sales van at Hampton Loade usually has a good selection of second hand bits and pieces - they seemed grateful for the bags and boxes... ...and so to Highley. We could, of course, have gone on the train, but the aforementioned delivery would have been tricky, so we drove on to the Country Park at Highley (site of the former mine) and walked down the route its coal would once have followed to this fine new facility, built on the site of the colliery exchange sidings. The signal was off as we approached - "We'd better see what it is". A familiar English Electric whistling sound told me it wasn't steam - nor was it the advertised Warship - and moments later D8188 arrived with a train for Bridgnorth.
The photos may well be worth a good number of words; I'll add that the exhibits are well-explained, and that there is much more to look at than just the locomotives. My wife was well impressed by the "Come in, come in" as she entered the LMS brake van - a nice little cameo of brake van life captured in a movement-activated (I'm guessing now) audio playback. The Royal Mail coach is interesting (don't think I've been in one before) - especially given that it was involved in 1963's "Great Train Robbery". The conference facilities look wonderful - hard to imagine a better place, with real peace and tranquility outside, punctuated by the occasional passing steam train -of which there's a great view from the balcony outside the cafeteria! Well done SVR! Link: SVR Engine House
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
This way to the railway... The Engine House D8188 arrives at Highley 47383 The mail van Brake Van GWR 2-6-0 7325 Loco line-up The Jinty again - view from the gallery 4930 "Hagley Hall" Gordon and the Midland Compound 1501 and 80079 ...view from the balcony - 46443 on a driving experience working 5164 approaches with a Bridgnorth train