Severn Valley Railway is swapping steam hauled services for diesel to reduce the risk of lineside fires as the dry and hot weather continues.
A full diesel service is being implemented on the historic railway to ensure that there is no fire risk, reducing the pressure on the already stretched local fire service.
Fires along the lineside have recently been dealt with by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service at Eardington Station, Chelmarsh, Kinlet and Cankhorn.
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.
“We’d like to thank all our visitors and neighbours for their patience and will be announcing the latest updates on the situation on our website and Facebook Severn Valley Railway Official Site and Severn Valley Railway Families pages.”
Stepping into the limelight during the break from steam will be diesel locomotive Class 42 No. D821 Warship, named after HMS Greyhound, a G-class destroyer which was launched in 1935 and sunk by German dive bombers in 1941. A number of other Naval vessels have also carried the name.
Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, Class 50 No. 50035 will be in operation alongside Class 14 No. D9551 The Teddy Bear, in its eye-catching orange livery.
Visitors will not miss out on the opportunity to see a steam locomotive in action, however, and will even get the rare chance to enjoy a short ride on the footplate of either Flying Pig No. 43106 or No. 2857, which turned 100 this year, within the limits of Bewdley and Bridgnorth Stations at weekends.
Severn Valley Railway is busy preparing its busy summer holiday schedule of fun, family activities at The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley from July 21st – September 2nd, including Steam Ahead, Science Boffins and Wizard Weeks as well as the VIP Wizard Express service on selected dates in August.