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Furness Railway Number 20 will be 150 years old in 2013 - so was the perfect engine to mark 150 years of the railway through the Severn Valley in 2012.  The first job for FR2o - to haul its first Royal Train!
David Wilcock's shot of FR20 arriving at Bewdley on the Royal Train HRH the Duke of Gloucester at Bewdley after travelling behind FR20

This was a notable first for the oldest working standard gauge steam locomotive in Britain! 

HRH the Duke of Gloucester is the Patron of the Severn Valley Railway, and visited the SVR on 14th May to mark the 150th anniversary.

The Duke arrived at the SVR at Kidderminster, and travelled behind FR20 in a GWR special saloon from Kidderminister to Bewdley, where he detrained to meet staff and unveil a plaque marking the 150 years of trains there.

The Royal duty attracted the attention of the local press and national specialist steam magazines.

The line between between Worcester and Shrewsbury had opened on February 1st 1862. The present day SVR went on from the Royal visit to mark the anniversary on May 19th and 20th 2012.

Other guests were fellow Victorian survivor "Captain Baxter" from the Bluebell Railway and the replica "Coffee Pot" from Beamish.

Plans to hold regular cavalcades with the three guest engines working into Kidderminster and FR20 shuttle services had to be shelved  because of timetable complications but efforts were made to keep the crowds happy.

After the Duke's visit, "Her Majesty Queen Victoria" visited the line during the weekend calling at the stations to enjoy the entertainments of the time and to mingle with her subjects!

There were also a photographic display in Kidderminster Railway Museum recording the history of the line with a further display at Bridgnorth. A Victorian beach was recreated at Arley complete with traditional 19th century Punch & Judy Show, a Brass Band performed at  Highley and visitors could step back to 1895 with a visit to Barry Railway Coach No. 163 at Hampton Loade. 

The Severn Valley Railway asked visitors to consider entering into the spirit of the occasion by wearing a costume of the Victorian era.

This was FR20's first visit to the SVR, following in the tracks of 5643 which was a surprise visitor there in 2010.

FR20 at Kidderminster during the anniversary weekend
Joining FR20 - Coffee Pot and Captain Baxter
Jen selling the FRT wares at the SVR

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FR Number 20 at the Severn Valley Railway