I have now made a provisional booking at the Bridgnorth Station on the Severn Valley Railway for Sunday, 14th April.
I think this is a good venue as there are not only the attractions of the SVR, but Bridgnorth offers plenty of interest for those who want an alternative to Morgans and oily machines.
The station has its own pub and catering and there are many food and water holes just over in the town.
I have been offered the use of a section of their overspill car park and reduced rates for train tickets.
To start the meeting itself, I plan to hold a gathering on the Saturday night at the famous (and bizarre) Crooked House, Himley, DY3 4DA, which is signposted down a lane off the B4176 about a mile east of its junction with the A449. If you want dinner the pub serves good food and beer. Ring 01384 238583 to book.
On the Sunday we have been allocated space in the car park at the Severn Valley Railway Bridgnorth station, WV16 5DT.
If you wish to travel all of the sixteen miles of scenic line alongside the Severn, you can save some money by booking in advance (see https://www.svr.co.uk/fares.aspx). Shorter journeys have to be booked on the day.
If you would like lunch on the train, there are also two dining-car services during the day but you will need to book separately on the SVR website https://www.svr.co.uk/RestaurantCar_SundayLuncheon.aspx. However, as both the dining trains start from Kidderminster, you must make sure you can catch the first train of the day from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster at 10:40 to make the connection. If you want to dine on the train, I suggest you book asap after the New Year as tickets are likely to sell out quickly.
Down the line at Highley, there is The Engine House, a recent visitor centre, where there is also a café (and the Ship Inn, which serves good food). There is a snack bar and a CAMRA-listed pub at Bridgnorth Station.
I have also arranged for groups to visit the Bridgnorth Loco Workshops, which are normally closed to the public. If you wish to visit, it is essential that you contact me to book in advance as places are limited. Please also advise whether your preference is for a morning, early afternoon or mid-afternoon tour.
Bridgnorth itself is a traditional market town with lots of small shops and restaurants including The Castle, just across a vertigo-inducing footbridge from the station. The older part, High Town and the newer part, Low Town, are joined by a cliff railway (or lots of stairs). For those who fancy some healthy exercise, a short walking treasure hunt around the town will be arranged.
Accommodation for those who wish to stay overnight in the area ranges from a generous offer by Dave Shotton to make use of his field nearby for camping or motor homes (ring Dave on 01742 712812) to hotels, coaching inns and ancient farmhouse B&Bs. Contact the Tourist Information Centre on 01746 763257 or www.bridgnorthshropshire.com.
Slightly further away, there is already an MTWC party booked in at The Best Western, Valley Hotel, Buildwas Rd. Iron Bridge TF8 7DW, who will hold a number more rooms at a special rate for dinner, bed and breakfast per night of £142 for a couple and £85 for singles. If you want to join this group, ring 01952 432247 and mention the MTWC. Please do this BEFORE THE END OF FEBRUARY, when the offer will lapse. Please also contact Ian Parkinson and let him know you are joining this group (details in the front of the Bulletin).
A scenic run from this hotel is planned for the Saturday and I am hoping to offer another route from Bridgnorth for those who wish to sample the great Shropshire countryside for themselves.
Further details will be posted in future Bulletins. I hope to see you all at Bridgnorth in April.