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Exhibition and book launch, Kidderminster Railway Museum

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4th August to 19th August
An exhibition of photographs to commemorate 50 years since the end of scheduled steam services on British Railways.  This exhibition will be combined with the launch of a new book by Colin T Gifford, and also several other events involving a special timetable on the Severn Valley Railway.  Please see SVR/KRM web sites for more details.  Please respond if you have any information about the forthcoming MNA and Colin Gifford books/events, other than that on the MNA web site.  Thanks.

Edited by Stephenwolsten
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Saturday 4th August

For many, August 4th 1968 was a life-changing day. British Railways ran its last timetabled mainline steam service, sealing the fate of steam traction on the national network. On that day 50 years ago, among the ten Black 5s, two 8Fs and one Britannia that were turned out, one of the engines now on the SVR was in operation – 8F No. 48773.  Another engine now on the SVR, Black 5 No. 45110, went on to earn its place in history by hauling the first and very last legs of the famed Fifteen Guinea Special - British Railway’s last steam-hauled passenger train, on August 11th 1968.  It would be remiss of us not to remember those days, particularly as we have two of the stars of the show here at the Severn Valley Railway.

To mark the occasion, both 45110 and 48773 will be brought out into the daylight from their current home in The Engine House Visitor Centre to Kidderminster, where they will be displayed in front of Kidderminster Railway Museum. Access to their footplates will be available all day.

Subject to availability, there will also be a fully-operational Black 5 – 45231 The Sherwood Forester, which will be working some of the trains and re-enacting (with sufficient poetic licence) the Belfast Boat Express and the Fifteen Guinea Special.  The latter even has an option for those brave enough to re-live old times to sample1968-style catering to the original Special Menu! Visitors will have ample photographic opportunities with the two Black 5s side-by-side at Kidderminster.

Alongside the engines themselves, a number of the crews from Lancashire’s Lostock Hall and Rose Grove Locomotive Sheds, who worked the engines in those last days, will be attending and sharing their memories with visitors.

Their role not to be forgotten, a number of Master Neverers Association members who were to be seen cleaning the engines (including the SVR’s two) overnight on the 3rd August ‘68 ahead of their last appearance on BR metals, will be earning their keep once again, giving 45110 and 48773 a clean during the day.

Kidderminster Railway Museum will be hosting an exhibition of photographs showing images captured during the last years of BR steam, including those taken on 4th and 11th August. The exhibition, on the Museum’s upper-floor, will run until August 19th.

The Museum will also play host to the launch of the latest book of photographs by Colin T Gifford, widely-regarded as a master of railway photography and who was extremely active on the railway network in its last years of steam operation. Colin will be on-hand to sign copies of his new book ‘Transition’, capturing the changing scene from the late 1950s to the 11th August 1968.

There will be a frequent service of steam and occasional diesel trains appropriate to the period, including 45231 and ‘Flying Pig’ No. 43106, which itself will be celebrating 50 years on the Railway, having arrived on August 2nd 1968.  The timetable for the day will be available shortly.

A range of stands will be on Kidderminster Station Concourse, many of which will be displaying archive photographs.  A display of 1960s cars will be on display on the station forecourt and 1960s music will provide a nostalgic backdrop.

Our nostalgia day on August 4th promises to be a really special day and I hope that as many people as possible come along to support it, and to see 45110 and 48773 out in the wild for a short time before they return to captivity.



On the evening of the 4th August, we are taking the liberty of running a re-creation of the Fifteen Guinea Special.  You will have to use your imagination, as it will not be leaving Liverpool Lime Street, nor will it be going over the Settle and Carlisle.  However, it will be leaving Kidderminster and going over the Eardington banks!  It will also be leaving a week earlier than it should!  It leaves Kidderminster at 7.30pm and runs non-stop to Bridgnorth where there will be time to sample the Bathams or wander round the station before returning to Kidderminster and arriving back at 10.35pm.  It will be hauled by Black 5 45231 (subject to availability) and using the maroon BR Mark 1 set of coaches.  On board we will be offering for a limited number the same fare as was available fifty years ago.  The menu included cold meats, salads and pickles, bread and butter, preserves, pastries and tea.

The cost of a ticket on this bit of re-created nostalgia (it is meant to be a bit of fun) is, believe it or not, Fifteen Guineas.  Now this represents a considerable saving on the normal round trip from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, but it also represents a huge saving in terms of inflation.  Fifteen Guineas in 1968 is about the equivalent of £272.39 today - so just think what you are saving.  The cost of the high tea will be an additional £10 (optional). 


If you wish to book to travel on the Fifteen Guinea Special, then you can do so in two ways

1.  Visit the Severn Valley Railway website (www.svr.co.uk) and book online

2.  Book in person at Kidderminster Railway Museum (open from 9.45 to 5.45 each day, later at weekends).  There may be on online booking facility on this site in a few days time.



Saturday 4th August to Sunday 19th August
An exhibition of photographs to commemorate 50 years since the end of scheduled steam services on British Railways will be held in the upper floor of the museum.  This exhibition will be combined with the launch of a new book by Colin T Gifford, and also the 50 years since the end of steam event.

Saturday 25th August to Sunday September 30th
An exhibition of paintings by the Guild of Railway Artists is back at Kidderminster in 2018.  Most of the top artists in the country will have paintings on display and most of them will be for sale.  More details to come.

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