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Severn Valley Spring Steam Gala: 21st - 24th April 2022

Discussion in 'Galas and Events' started by WesternRegionHampshireman, Feb 15, 2022.

  1. Wyreman

    Wyreman New Member

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    A belated comment, I attended on Saturday and in general enjoyed my day greatly. I think communications have noticeably improved since last year, with one or two exceptions I'll come to. From a purely personal perspective (though I do see the angles others have mentioned too) I wish the railtour hadn't been that day as it did nudge the 4498 afternoon train from "nicely full" into "uncomfortable" though maybe I'm just out of practice with galas being that busy since 2019! The 3 visiting locos were all very nice choices, even if 1 of them in 506 wasn't the original intention it still performed admirably. I was delighted to *finally* get a proper look at Welsh Guardsman as well.

    The shift in date to April didn't seem to help much with the weather, as it was still cold and windy for the 1st half of the day, though improved later. But everyone seemed in good spirits, even on the rammed services, so that helped. I'm a bit of a convert to wristbands for galas, which really are convenient compared with the old credit card sized ones. I only had my ticket checked twice, but as long as there's some checking going on I don't think that matters. As for the infamous "number 70" posing in Bridgnorth yard, I've decided I like it as a strictly temporary thing, though it does seem to look a bit pink in some lights.

    Catering was something of a mixed bag, though this is inevitably selective as I didn't get everywhere. I was pleased & slightly surprised to get a table in the Bridgnorth refreshment room in early afternoon. They'd already run out of sausages and nearly out of cold sandwiches though, which suggests an underestimate of demand. Staff very helpful & friendly as usual. HL's fruit pies were gorgeous, I hope they're now a fixture. The Highley position is still rather unsatisfactory, 2 separate people I sat near on trains asked me why the EH had a dedicated restaurant room locked & empty instead squashing people in downstairs. Finally, the Arley kiosk being closed was bizarre, something a friend who visited on Friday suggests the SVR staff clearly felt too! Well done to them putting on hasty drinks provision.

    A final comment, those "Notice to Passengers" signs about the coal shortage were well thought out and excellently communicated - but may actually have been *too* well designed, in that unless you stopped to look they were very easy to mistake for a real notice from half a century ago! Overall though I enjoyed my day & I hope the number crunching at the end of the day produces a good outcome for the railway. Thank you to all concerned, barring those few irritations I thought it was an excellent gala indeed.
     
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  2. 3ABescot

    3ABescot Member

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    Thanks for that. My experience on the Friday was similar.
    Of the trains I used, two were very full with few masks except mine and I stood all the way next to a window. A local from Kidderminster to Bewdley was nice and quiet.
    No trouble with the wrist band either, but as I gather there were queues for them at the main stations.
    I joined at Bewdley as usual and got there very early to ensure I could park, to avoid queues and (most of all) the scary new ticket machines. All very successful. A friend joined at Bridgnorth though and had to queue both for wristband and car park payment as the new ticket machine had failed already! They may have reconsider those, I have great difficulty with them in other places including the adjoining main line station.
    The most alarming thing was the catering, or lack of it. The charming little booth at Hampton Loade was open, but the new building at Bewdley was very basic and closed early. Worse, the cafe at the Highley Engine House was closed! This was excellent when it opened with a catering- type range of quickly served soup and hot & cold full meals and snacks and has been deteriorating ever since. All there was now was a small cafe area area where the also-closed bookshop was.
    Fortunately my expectations for catering at railway galas are very low now and I come fully prepared with sandwiches, biscuits and travel bottles of water.
    Enjoyable day, met two pals, trains ran as well as could be expected and many thanks to all those who made it possible!
     
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  3. Wyreman

    Wyreman New Member

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    If I had to pick 1 area for improvement it would be EH catering too. Unlike Kidd, Bewdley or Bridgnorth, it's nowhere near anywhere else to eat (other than the Ship pub) so it really needs a proper meal offering, not just soup & sandwiches, at least for major events like galas where people may be on site for several hours. The comms are also poor, I didn't see any notices explaining *why* the upstairs restaurant was shut up, when/whether it would reopen, etc. With the improvement in comms elsewhere as I noted, this stands out more & not in a good way.

    I didn't drive so wasn't aware of the car park issues & can't really comment on that, same with the Bewdley catering, though at least there in an "emergency" you can walk into town to get something! Didn't even think about masks as they weren't much in evidence at last year's ASG either after the early morning. Feels now like all the core stuff is well in place again, & the attention to detail round the edges is improving as well. Just a few areas, catering & related communications especially, that feel lagging behind a little. Certainly plan to be back in the autumn though.
     
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  4. toplight

    toplight Well-Known Member

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    I went with my son on the Saturday of the gala and like you was quite surprised to see the upstairs cafe at the Highley Engine house closed and a big queue for the limited sandwiches etc downstairs. We did however find a pub the Ship Inn, just 1 minute walk straight from the platform down the hill towards the river. We both had a super big meal, friendly staff, top notch. Was plenty of people in there and you could sit outside by the river if you wanted. Can recommend.
     
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  5. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Excellent food at the Ship, it would be my choice every time
     
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  6. Wyreman

    Wyreman New Member

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    I wonder if there's any scope for some kind of partnership between the SVR & the Ship on gala days, maybe also things like 40s weekends assuming those return in due course. Return of proper hot food on site (EH) would still be best, esp. for families as the hill to the pub is steep, but just a thought.
     
  7. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    I think Catering in general is being affected by the hangover from the last two years where many in the area found new jobs with better more consistent hours elsewhere so recruitment is a challenge .
     
  8. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden Member

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    DELETED.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2022
  9. alts1985

    alts1985 Well-Known Member

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  10. 45669

    45669 Part of the furniture

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    I forgot that there's a separate thread for galas and have been posting links to my videos to the SVR General thread. I've still got quite a few videos to edit, but if anyone would like to see those that I've already done, they're in this playlist:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFsbViNeGSHn8r9ZcG8F3Kj1fJoSd795P

    Hope they're of interest.

    TTFN,

    Ron.
     
  11. 2030720310

    2030720310 New Member

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    Onboard footage from the Saturday of the gala - thanks to everyone who helped to make the event happen :)

     
  12. KristianGWR

    KristianGWR Member

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    My belated coverage of the gala. I hope you enjoy it :)
     
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  13. 45669

    45669 Part of the furniture

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    Evening All,

    Just three clips from Sunday added to YouTube today; locos featured are LADY OF LEGEND, SIR NIGEL GRESLEY and 75069:





    Hope you like them.

    TTFN,

    Ron.
     
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  14. D1039

    D1039 Part of the furniture

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    As reported, around 7,500 visitors attended over the four days. For context, pre-pandemic visitor numbers peaked at around 4,500 for what was usually a three-day spring event.
     
  15. 45669

    45669 Part of the furniture

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    Two more clips from the Severn Valley Railway added to YouTube today:






    Not many more in the pipeline.

    Ron.
     
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  16. wazza588

    wazza588 Member

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    A few from last weekend:


    _DSC5932.JPG


    _DSC5945_01.JPG


    _DSC6001.JPG

    _DSC6033_01.JPG


    _DSC6093.JPG


    Richard
     
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  17. 45669

    45669 Part of the furniture

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    Here's another couple of clips:





    Nearly finished!

    Ron.
     
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  18. 45669

    45669 Part of the furniture

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    At last, I've finally put the last of my Severn Valley Spring Gala videos on YouTube. It's Southern Railway S15 class 4-6-0 506 arriving at Kidderminster Town with the last arrival of the weekend:



    Hope you've enjoyed looking at them.

    TTFN,

    Ron.
     
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