Severn Valley Railway dealt blow as vintage signs stolen from station

Severn Valley Railway has been dealt a blow as it prepares to reopen in just over a week's time.

Station master Ian Latimer, with volunteer Leonard Warrington, holding one of the few remaining signs at Arley Station
Station master Ian Latimer, with volunteer Leonard Warrington, holding one of the few remaining signs at Arley Station

Thieves have stolen 21 vintage signs from Arley Railway Station, near Bewdley, which were restored and have been on display for many years.

They were a mixture of enamel advertising signs and Great Western Railway notice cast iron signs – and only one of the cast iron signs has been recovered.

Volunteers at the tourist attraction today issued an appeal for people to keep their eyes peeled.

The Spratt's signs on the far left and right have been stolen, along with the Colman's mustard and Champion bread cakes signs

Anyone who sees any of the signs, or may be offered one to buy, is asked to report it to the railway or police.

The enamel signs advertise brands such as Colman's mustard, Champion bread cakes and Spratt's.

Other signs say 'private' and 'shut the gate'.

A sign identical to this one was stolen

Leonard Warrington, one of SVR's volunteers, said they had been stolen over two nights.

He said a white van was spotted near the railway station on Sunday evening, which he believes may have been used to cart the signs away.

Leonard said: "They took nine enamel signs early on Monday morning towards the north end of the station, and then I got another call saying that more had been taken on Monday night.

Station master Ian Latimer and volunteer Leonard Warrington

"They had taken another nine enamel signs as well as three cast iron signs.

"After getting a call from a farmer saying something was sticking out a hedge, we found one of the cast iron signs there.

"They are heavy – the cast iron ones especially – so maybe they couldn't carry it and chose to leave it behind."

One of the stolen signs

He said the signs had been on display at the station for many years.

"We are really upset that they've been stolen," Leonard said.

"It's not so much the cost. We spent many hours restoring them.

One of the stolen signs

"All of the enamel signs have a coating of SmartWater and if anyone sees them or is offered any of the signs, we are asking them to contact the police or the railway."

Lesley Carr, spokeswoman for SVR, said: "Our volunteers at Arley station have worked hard to collect and restore these vintage signs.

"They take huge pride in looking after the buildings and platforms, so that they look attractive for our visitors.

"It’s awful that this has happened, especially now as we’re getting the railway ready to reopen on April 12.

"We have reported the theft to the police and removed further signage from the station."

People can pre-book their tickets online for the attraction ahead of it reopening.

Visit svr.co.uk to find out more.

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