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Windfall will help fund the ongoing restoration of historic steam locomotives
A SHARE offer to raise funds to keep a Worcestershire rail group on track has passed the £2 million mark.
The scheme by Severn Valley Railway (SVR), an integral part of the preservation group’s future plans, passed the £2m mark on September 30, the very last day of the initiative.
The news was announced as flagship GWR locomotive no 4930 Hagley Hall was carefully shunted from the Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley to the engine works at Bridgnorth.
The locomotive’s restoration is one of the key projects for the railway and is being supported by the 2012 Share Offer, as well as the SVR Charitable Trust and the Friends of Loco Hagley Hall Group.
SVR Holdings chairman, Nick Paul, said: “The 2012 share offer scheme outlined our ambitious plans for this wonderful railway.
“Today, our supporters have shown tremendous generosity in helping us drive towards achieving that ambition.
“We extend our warmest thanks to everyone who has worked hard and helped us over the last 12 months.”
Following the ceremony, during which the Hagley Hall loco was slowly manoeuvred through Highley Station, SVR general manager, Nick Ralls, said support for the scheme had been overwhelming.
“We have been overwhelmed by support over the last 12 months and it clearly demonstrates what can be achieved when we work together,” he said.
“It’s a wonderful sight to see this engine start its journey to full restoration and we look forward to seeing it out on the line hauling trains within the next two years.”
The locomotive was one of 259 Hall-class engines built in Swindon and was seen as one of the most successful Great Western Railway designs, hauling both heavy freight and express passenger trains with ease. The engine is ideal for use on the SVR’s intense passenger services.
The departure of Hagley Hall has also allowed staff at the Engine House to reorganise the exhibits and welcome the railway’s LMS Black 5 4-6-0 no 45110, now on display following its return from Barrow Hill Roundhouse.