Severn Valley Railway news

Posted by Chris Graham on 2nd April 2022

Colin Tyson reports on some colourful plans being hatched at the Severn Valley Railway, to help celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Severn Valley Railway

How Taw Valley might look in it’s purple Platinum Jubilee livery. (Pic: Jason Hood)

Heads will be turning at the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) later this year, when a very special steam locomotive makes its appearance. To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games, the SVR is taking the unusual step of renaming and repainting one of its home-based steam locomotives. 

34027 Taw Valley will not only carry a different name later this year, but will also appear in a brand-new purple livery, to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The name change and repaint will be strictly temporary measures and, later in the year, the locomotive will be restored to its original name and colour.

“This is all about making the biggest impact possible,” said SVR chairman, Mike Ball. “We’re putting a huge amount of effort into our celebrations for both the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which are being held in Birmingham. We’re sure that the unusual appearance of the loco will prove a huge draw to visitors. 

“The sight of a purple steam loco might not appeal to all heritage enthusiasts, but it’s certainly going to cause a stir among the visiting public, and we’re aiming to stimulate maximum interest in heritage rail among the widest possible audience this year.”

This won’t be the first time that the West Country class loco has appeared in an unconventional livery. In 2000, it was turned out in maroon and carried Hogwarts Express nameplates to promote JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, appearing at signing events throughout the UK. Taw Valley never made it onto the silver screen, however, as the film producers chose 5972 Olton Hall instead.

The temporary new name for the locomotive will be chosen by public vote. The railway received almost 1,200 name suggestions, and with the help of the loco’s owners, it has whittled these down to a shortlist of four; Elizabeth II, Gloriana, Severn Majesty and Valley Monarch. The name that receives the most votes will be cast onto authentic nameplates and affixed to the engine in readiness for the VIP ceremony on Thursday, June 2nd; the start of an extended Bank Holiday weekend to celebrate the Jubilee..

You can vote at, and voting gives you the chance to enter into a prize draw to win a family travel ticket for the SVR.

The SVR’s head of engineering, Martin White, gave details of how the transformation into purple will take place: “Taw Valley was booked in for its annual boiler exam in early February and, following its steam exam, will be sent to the paint shop at Bridgnorth. We expect to have the repaint completed by early April. In all fairness, the loco was starting to look a little weather-beaten. With three years still to run on its boiler ticket, a smarten-up was a good idea to avoid further deterioration and enable maximum use of the loco.”

Taw Valley will be returned to its BR green livery later this year. There will be an opportunity for this in the autumn, when the loco will undergo scheduled maintenance for a significant valve and piston examination.

The loco’s owners are fully supportive of the temporary name and livery change. Speaking on behalf of his fellow owners, SVR director Phil Swallow said: “We’re delighted that Taw Valley is going to play such a prominent role at the SVR in 2022. The rename and repaint will be a very fitting and memorable way to celebrate two extremely important occasions this year. Ultimately, this is a hugely fun thing to do, and while it might upset some people, it will contribute significantly to our celebration of these important events and will attract many visitors to the SVR.

This feature is taken from the April issue of Old Glory magazine. For a money-saving subscription, simply click HERE.


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