A spate of lineside fires on land adjoining the Severn Valley Railway this morning has prompted the decision to return to heritage diesel-hauled services for the third time this season, with effect from tomorrow (Wednesday 31st August).
The fires were started by sparks or cinders from one of the SVR’s steam locomotives, and Shropshire Fire Service attended and successfully extinguished them. Members of the SVR’s permanent way team gave assistance. Most of the fires took place in the Eardington Bank area, between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade in Shropshire.
“During hot, dry weather, we have to be constantly alert to the risks of lineside fires,” said Steve Wainwright, the SVR’s head of operations. “We have already switched to heritage diesel-only services twice this season; first in July and then earlier this month. Now we’re repeating the measure for third time, in order to avoid further fires.
“It is very frustrating for us, but this is the right thing to do. Once again, we hope that our visitors will understand the difficulty of the situation we’re in. In fact, we’re extremely lucky that we have a superb fleet of heritage diesel locomotives that we can turn to at times like this, otherwise we’d be faced with having to suspend all passenger services.
“The heritage diesel services will run until at least Friday this week, when we’ll review the situation.”