The Severn Valley Railway has confirmed that it is going to run diesel-hauled trains this week to avoid the risk of lineside fires.
Extremely high temperatures are forecast for the next week with no rain, and the vegetation surrounding the line has become tinder-dry.
This means that there is a real risk that sparks and cinders from steam locomotives may start fires, and whilst this has happened on a number of occasions recently, the SVR has taken the decision to take action now.
The situation will be reviewed on Tuesday next week, with rain forecast for the Wednesday.
As compensation, Freedom-of-the-Line ticket holders can have a footplate ride within Bridgnorth station.
The Severn Valley Railway says it has risk-assessed this and says that it will be safe to use a steam locomotive in this limited capacity.
“Our senior management team took this decision after very careful consideration,” said managing director Helen Smith. “The weather forecast for the coming week shows extremely high temperatures, and most importantly for us no rain. Our lineside vegetation has become tinder-dry because of the prolonged lack of rain, and our concern is that sparks or cinders that escape from steam locos may start fires.
“We’ve had several incidences when this has happened in recent weeks, and the time has come for us to take this action.
“Our announcement yesterday evening on social media and on our website has been received very positively, and we are grateful for the understanding that people are showing towards the dilemma we face.
“Rain is currently being forecast for next Wednesday, 20th July, and we will review the situation on Tuesday. I want to stress that this is a temporary measure, and we very much hope to be able to return to using steam engines as soon as possible.”