The Severn Valley Railway (SVR) is withdrawing its steam trains and will only run diesel locomotives for the time being after several fires broke out along the line over the weekend.
Ash dropping out of the ash pans caused a number of small fires along the line on Sunday (8 July).
SVR said it had taken the precaution in these “exceptional circumstances” to reduce the risk of more incidents during the hot weather and relieve pressure on local fire services.
A replacement service will be run using diesel locomotive Class 42 No. D821 ‘Warship’, which was named after HMS Greyhound; Class 50 No. 50035; and Class 14 No. D9551 ‘The Teddy Bear’.
SVR plans to review the situation on 18 July and then continue to review it on a daily basis.
Nick Ralls, the SVR’s general manager, said: “Despite the best efforts from our volunteers and staff on the Railway to work appropriately for the dry conditions, the fire service was called out to a number of fire incidents along the line on Sunday.
“As an important part of the local community, we must consider the added pressure on an already stretched fire service during this extended dry spell as well as the disruption to our neighbours and this is why these measures have been taken.”
He added: “This really is an exceptional occurrence, though will let some of our lovely fleet of heritage diesel locomotives shine for a short while – there will still be the same regular timetable, comfy, historic carriages and plenty to see and do along the line, including the chance to experience a short journey on the footplate at Bewdley, which is a really special opportunity.”
SVR is not the only heritage railway to ground its steam trains. The Snowdon Mountain Railway is currently operating a limited service because of the high risk of lineside fires.
Photos courtesy of SVR