Severn Valley locomotive reliability sky rockets in 2019

6960 at Bridgnorth
Credit: Callum Calvert

Hard work is paying off at the Severn Valley Railway, as they announce its highest levels of reliability.

Weekly figures from 2019 show that more than 99% of the Railway’s timetabled steam services were hauled by a steam locomotive – a rise from 96% in 2016.

Trains hauled by the exact locomotive named on the SVR website at the start of each running week has rocketed from 78% in 2016 to 96.7% in 2019, its highest ever recording.

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What did the officials say?

Neil Taylor, the SVR’s Head of Engineering Services, who started at the Railway in 2016, said:

“These are pretty good figures for any heritage railway – in fact, if you compare us with the mainline, we’re coming out more favourably. Considering we’ve worked with locomotives that are over 100 years old, that’s a pretty impressive achievement.

“Reliability is key if we want to remain a leading visitor attraction – just one disappointing visit can put people off for life. I have seen for myself the looks of utter disappointment on the faces of visitors when a steam locomotive fails, and while that can’t be avoided completely, we’re doing everything we can to ensure that we can deliver the experience that we promise.

“We’ve had to make some regime changes since 2016, as the way things were structured meant that the maintenance team was being distracted by overhauls and we were pulling teams off overhauls to work on maintaining running locomotives. We now have separate teams, which has resulted in an effective maintenance regime, keeping the locomotives in good condition.”

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