The lives of those who died building the Severn Valley Railway to be honoured | So Good News
A century and a half after they died during the construction of the Severn Valley Railway, 10 marines have been honored with a blue commemorative plaque.
The installation of the blue plaque marks the completion of a project to restore the railway’s Falling Sands Viaduct.
The £1.3m Falling Sands project saw not only the restoration of a vital part of the SVR’s infrastructure, but also the creation of two permanent exhibitions which tell the story of the construction of the original line and the more than 1,000 marines who built it.
Victorian railway construction was extremely hard and dangerous work, resulting in many accidents and a significant number of people losing their lives.
The Severn Valley Railway was no exception as at least 10 marines are known to have died and there are numerous reports of serious accidents during the two phases of construction.
Severn Valley Railway chief executive Helen Smith said: “”Unlike today, health and safety measures were not considered important.
“For the Victorian Navy, danger was just an occupational hazard.
“It is fitting that we now remember these forgotten heroes, who constructed most of our rail system by hand and who until now have received little recognition.”
The National Lottery Heritage Fund, which provided a substantial grant for the restoration of the Falling Sands Viaduct, was keen to see the omission rectified and funded the blue memorial plaque in honor of the 10 men who died building the railway during Victorian times.
New interpretive panels have also been fitted to the viaduct illustrating its original construction and eventual restoration more than 140 years later.
Falling Sands Viaduct is adjacent to the new Silverwoods mixed-use development, half a mile from SVR’s Kidderminster Town station.