Hi there, As there is a popular trend prevalent on this forum at the moment for posting reports of ones' railway activities, many of which make for some very entertaining reading, and I do like writing up such reports when I get the time, I thought I would post up my report of the London Midland 150 Farewell. I've broken it down into three sections, as it has turned out to be so large that to post it as one single report all in one go would be absolutely unmanageable and a daunting task for the reader! I have decided that I am first going to post "Part 2" of the report, which covers the run up the Severn Valley Railway and back, as for me this was the most fun part of the trip. I have yet to finish writing parts 1 and 3, but when I do they will hopefully be posted here in due course: PART 2: SEVERN VALLEY RAILWAY My travelling companion Andy and I vetoed that we would stay onboard the train for the crossover from the main line to the SVR, despite the beckoning delights of the King and Castle just over the footbridge at the SVR station. I was intrigued by just what sort of manoeuvre the crossover to the Severn Valley entailed, as I wasnt even sure where the crossover was. If all went to plan, we reckoned, we would still have around twenty minutes to get a pint in before the tour was due to leave up the Severn Valley to Bridgnorth, and we would also avoid the initial rush that we presumed would result from a number of those who had chosen to leave the train at the first opportunity when we arrived at Kidderminster descending on the bar as one. Our progression from one side of the running lines at Kidderminster to the other and onto the SVR was even more tedious than I was expecting, and I began to doubt my judgement when there was the chance for a(nother) beer at stake. I was surprised to see another green 150, which turned out to be 150109, clatter noisily past our cavalcade, rousing me from my stupor that had been brought about by a lengthy fester on the Birmingham bound line while awaiting a clear path to negotiate the link to the Severn Valley Railway. Moments later we received a phone call from Joel (The third member of our group, more on him in parts 1 and 3!), reaffirming us of his consciousness and informing us that he had just arrived in Kidderminster, having just travelled down, as we found out a little while later, on the 150 from Smethwick Galton Bridge and in doing so gaining a greater variety of 150 mileage than many passengers on the Farewell Tour that day! Assuming that the King and Castle would be thronging with enthusiasts who had already alighted from the tour earlier, we desperately urged him while had had the ear of our man on the ground to get a round in in preparation for our imminent arrival at the SVR terminus and make our lives a little easier. We neednt have been so concerned: Upon release from the train at the SVR station, we rushed down the platform and across the concourse of Kidderminster SVR, with only twelve minutes to spare, to be greeted by the site of a virtually deserted King and Castle. This didnt however stop more than one flustered looking railfan who had arrived behind us from attempting to gain seniority in the pecking order at the bar with the impatient comment of Dont you know Ive got a train to catch in five minutes? While my typically relaxed demeanour may have suggested otherwise to the casual observer, just what did they think I was doing there too?! Over five minutes is more than ample time to get a few pints poured. The excitingly titled pint of Gunpowder Plot that I had now had in my grasp completely underwhelmed my taste buds and left me disappointed. A quick intended grab shot of 150106 at the platform was transformed into a much longer affair when the batteries in my camera chose that moment to give up the ghost, and I with only limited hands to spare, before we finally met up with Joel, our party of three all now replete with pints, and through accident rather than design ended up back on board vehicle 55200. Travelling up the Severn Valley on fully enclosed, underfloor engine diesel stock was an experience both frustrating and disappointing, as there was much more appeal, with steam heat and compartments and big, opening toplight windows, to be had from every other train that we witnessed. Indeed, at the first sight of Lancashire & Yorkshire designed Crab 42968 pulling capably out of Kidderminster bound for Bridgnorth as our procession awaited the chance to cross over to the SVR, my first comment had to be I want to be on that! Not to mention that the wealth and variety of human movement and activity meant that by this point the atmosphere aboard carriage 55200 was becoming decidedly humid, and the feeble draft admitted via the hopper vents, the majority of which were wide open by this point, was insufficient to alleviate this clammy feeling. We had selected to take up position in a vestibule due to the inavailability of a set of three seats together and Andy and myself had become somewhat tired of sitting down on the poor 3+2 seating offered by a 150. This also had the added benefit of allowing us to jump out at each station stop up the Severn Valley for a quick leg stretch and the occasional photo opportunity. At Bewdley we were passed by heavy freight locomotive 2857 working a passenger train towards Kidderminster, this being the first time that I had seen this testament to the great mechanical mind of George Churchward in action, and I was also relieved to finally be finished with my disappointing pint of Gunpowder Plot and be able to move onto my new, undiscovered ale for the day in the form of a bottle of Badgers Poachers Choice, which proved to be much more rewarding and a far more enjoyable tipple with a strong fruity flavour. Our train proceeded to roll up the Severn Valley, our progress accompanied by the pleasing clickety clack sound of the Sprinters wheels passing over the sixty foot rail lengths, as we hopped on and off at every station en route. In doing so, we commented on just how incredibly low the platforms on the Severn Valley Railway are in comparison to the height of the door steps on a 150, which is something that is not immediately noticeable with the usual crop of mark 1 coaching stock. We transferred over to stand in 150106 from Highley, and I was surprised to notice that the production 150/1s, if 150106 was anything to go by, had a poorer design of interior than the prototype 150001: No bins in the vestibules for a start, a very useful feature when you are drinking multiple bottles of ale, and sloping handrails that make it impossible to gain any purchase while stood resting against the vestibule wall instead of the level ones on 150001. The ride also felt livelier than the comfortable motion of 150001. We stuck with 150106 through to Bridgnorth though, despite my now apparent preference for the prototype Scud, as we realised that by standing in one particular vestibule of vehicle 52106 the doors would be as near as possible to the position of the footbridge on platform 2 of Bridgnorth station and that we would be in pole position to make a dash across the footbridge and be the first ones lined up at the bar of the Railwaymans Arms. For the second time today I was surprised, as just like at Kidderminster there was no need to rush for the bar, as most of the passengers disgorged from our five carriage formation immediately began to scurry to secure photos of the working as I quick marched across the footbridge to the pub. Many people also appeared to stay on board for the shunt procedure from platform 2 to platform 1, but my interests lay not in a few yards of rare track, but in beer. As such, securing a pint in the Railwaymans Arms was a leisurely affair (I was indeed the first, or very nearly the first, to make it to the bar), and I landed a much more pleasing effort than in the King and Castle in the form of a Hobsons bitter. In fairness, the pub did fill up a bit more once the two 150s rolled into platform 1 following completion of their crossover manoeuvre, but still not nearly to the extent that I would have expected as a proportion of around three hundred and forty railway enthusiasts. At 14:20 with ten minutes to go until departure time, my companions and I wisely concluded that now would be the perfect opportunity to grab ourselves the pick of the seating, in the form of one of the sets of three nearest the doors that would afford us the most legroom, while almost everyone else was busily engaged elsewhere. So we picked up a drink for the road from the Railwaymans Arms, but as we made ready to leave our best intentions were foiled as one of the London Midland stewards stuck his head round the door and called out ten minutes! to all assembled. And so began the desperate scrum for seats. We were fortuitous enough to get ourselves a bay of four; not what we were hoping for at best but a marked improvement on the cramped 3+2 airline seating conditions Andy and myself had had to endure earlier in the day. Through no intent of our own, we had once again selected accommodation in 55200. We departed Bridgnorth on time to begin our sub-25mph trundle back down the Severn Valley Railway back to Kidderminster, a taste of how things will be when some of these fine workaday units are undoubtedly preserved in the distant future. Returning from the direction of the toilet and with the train having just come to a stand at Hampton Loade, I discovered to my surprise that my two travelling companions had disappeared, although their bags were still on the luggage rack, and only a few short seconds later the door closing warning tone sounded and our train moved off! I hoped that they had not been caught unawares and strayed too far away after disembarking from the train for a quick breather, and a phonecall from Andy very shortly after as the engines roared and we gradually picked up speed away from Hampton Loade initially did little to dispel this possible theory. However, at Highley all became clear, as the two of them reappeared, strolling down the platform from the direction of 150106, each of them clutching a thin box under one arm which contained the last of the two clocks that were being sold on the tour from the far end of 150106, which they had sped round from 150001 during our Hampton Loade stop to collect, after being told by the group sat opposite us of their dwindling availability. So, that explains that one! The remainder of the journey back to Kidderminster passed uneventfully if quite merrily, with all three of us now plied with alcohol in comfortable quantities and showing no signs of relenting. As we returned to Network Rail metals at Kidderminster, passing over the link from the SVR with no complex shunt manoeuvre required as we were able to pass directly onto the Birmingham bound line, Joel cracked open the bottle of mead he had squirreled away in his bag. This bode well for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. Our intended eventual destination: Stratford upon Avon.