This piece is courtesy of Richard Herington who is a regular two day a week volunteer with SVR and even makes time to volunteer here on the FFWHR. I hope it illustrates that when times are bad, how good publicity can help!
What do you do when you return from the Christmas Festivities and find this?
These were the views, of the Teak-bodied GNR coach No 2701 dating back to 1922, and the GWR Coach No 1146, that greeted the SVR’s carriage cleaners at Kidderminster when they arrived for work at 7.15 am on Boxing Day.
So what happened next? Unfortunately, as there was no CCTV at the end of the platforms, there was little chance the culprits would be apprehended. ITV Central news found out and they dispatched a television crew to do some interviews and take some photos of the two affected coaches. The news clip was shown on that evenings programme.
Next day the telephone started ringing with offers of help in the form of both donations and manpower. The carriage Works supervisor estimated that the cost of the removal would be approximately £ 10,000. Although there was not a lot of materials needed, the major cost would be labour. To keep costs down, much of it would be volunteer labour.
Work Started. Luckily within a week the donations started flowing in and by the middle of January the target of £10,000 had been met. Along with these cash donations came the offer of help with the graffiti removal in the form of a liquid and wipes. Virgin trains together with Alstom at the Oxley Depot kindly donated several litres of the liquid they use. This was trialled on the metal coach and found to be effective as it did not remove the main colour on the body. A generous donation of £1,000 took the appeal past its £10,000 target. This came from the Worcestershire Ambassadors, a group that draws together leaders of industry, enterprise and public life. The group’s chairman, Phil Dutton of Handelsbanken Worcester, said : “When we learnt about the vandalised carriages, we felt very strongly that we wanted to help the railway in its time of need. As a group, our aim is to promote Worcestershire as a place to work, live and visit. Making this donation to the county’s leading heritage and visitor attraction is exactly the sort of cause we want to support.”
GNR coach 2701 was shunted out of the carriage works on Wednesday 24th January, 30 days after the vandalism was first discovered. It took a total of 415 man hours work by both paid staff and volunteer labour to complete the repairs!