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STEAM TRAIN enthusiasts will soon benefit from a visitor centre at the Severn Valley Railway near Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

Systems Geotechnique is working on an £800,000 contract for site preparation and piling for the project at a slip-prone location overlooking the River Severn at Highley.

Landslips and slope movements have been monitored over the last four years and the contractor is using a combination of techniques to deal with the conditions.

These include extensive slope regrading, slip plane stabilisation by soil nailing, sprayed concrete retaining walls, grouting a worked coal seam and installation of foundation minipiles. About 250 soil nails ranging in length from 14m to 25m will be used intercept deep slip surfaces.

The centre will house some of Severn Valley Railway's locomotives and rolling stock and an exhibition on the history of the line.

It is a full size standard gauge line running regular steam-hauled passenger trains for tourists and rail enthusiasts over the 26km riverside link between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster in Worcestershire.

Principal contractor for the scheme is George Law and the engineer is David Symonds Associates.

The centre is fi nanced by £3.3M from the Heritage Lottery Fund with £1M from the European Regional Development Fund plus support from Bridgnorth District Council and Advantage West Midlands.

Systems Geotechnique began on site in mid April and is scheduled to fi nish in August. The visitor centre should be complete in spring 2007.

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