Latest news

Fantastic Fridays in September on the West Somerset Railway

On Fridays in September (4th, 11th, 18th & 25th) Day Rover Tickets will be available at the discounted price of £14 for adults and senior citizens and £7 for children aged 5 to 15. Travel on the trains to suit yourselves and explore the places of interest along the way including the old harbour town of Watchet with its narrow streets, museums and local shops, Washford - the alighting point for Cleeve Abbey and Torre Cider Farm, and Dunster for the medieval village overlooked by the 1000 year old castle and with the Yarn Market building, working water mill and Dolls Museum amongst its attractions. WSR ticket holders can obtain discounted admission to the Abbey and Dunster Castle and if you are going to Bishops Lydeard the village pubs offer discounts on production of your WSR tickets. Buy at station booking offices or from ticket inspectors on the train. Or buy online now.

2 September 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

The Titfield Thunderbolt comes to a nearby venue

Former Bishops Lydeard Station Master and long time WSR supporter, David Northey, is directing the latest offering from @2K Theatre - Somerset's newest amateur theatre group. Fresh from winning the NODA South West award for 'Best Dramatic Production' for their recent production of "Abigail's Party", @2K Theatre brings "The Titfield Thunderbolt" - adapted for the stage, from the Ealing comedy film of the same name by Philip Goulding.

David explains "Bring along a big dollop of imagination and be prepared to join in with the fun as we work with the good villagers of Titfield to save their branch line from imminent closure. The man from the ministry has to be convinced that this can be done competently despite the dodgy dealings of Vernon Crump and his new omnibus service. A rollocking production of pure hilarity. Audience members are invited to dress circa 1952 and step all aboard for a journey like no other and join in the fun!"

Catch the Titfield Thunderbolt during October at Churchinford Village Hall on the 1st; Monksilver EMN Hall on the 2nd; Tacchi Morris Arts Centre on the 3rd; Stogumber Village Hall on the 8th; Hatch Beauchamp Village Hall on the 9th, and Othery Village Hall on the 10th. All departures are 7.30pm prompt except Saturdays where an additional matinee is performed at 2pm. Tickets and information can be obtained by calling the @2K Box office on 07943 495088 or for bookings at the Tacchi Morris 01823 414141.

2 September 2015
Details kindly provided by @2K Theatre and local correspondent

An update on visiting steam locos for Autumn Steam Gala

The West Somerset Railway had hoped that it would be possible to bring one of the original WSR opening day locomotives to the Autumn Steam Gala but unfortunately despite best efforts neither GWR 0-6-0PT no 6412 or one of the Bagnall Tanks has been able to be made available. As an alternative the WSR are currently concluding arrangements to bring a third star locomotive to the four day event, this will be in addition to nos 2857 and 7812 which have been already confirmed courtesy of the Severn Valley Railway, 2857 Society and Erlestoke Manor Fund.

27 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

A correction to the date of the reunion lunch

Owing to a misunderstanding the date quoted for the reunion meal for WSR volunteers from between 1971 and 1979 is incorrect. It will be held at the Beach Hotel on Thursday 1 October 2015 rather than Saturday 3 October. The food is being paid for by the West Somerset Railway Association and anyone connected with the railway in those early years who is interested in attending should contact John Simms via 01643 704996 or john.com@wsrail.net. Apologies for the confusion.

27 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

A special chance to enjoy the Quantock Belle dining experience

The WSRA have announced this special offer. "Upgrade your ticket to travel on Sunday 30 August to a Quantock Belle dining experience for just £28 per person. Limited availability - two tables for four; four tables for two; and one table for three. To book call 01823 433856 and quote LSW offer. Offer ends at 5pm on Thursday 27 August. You must already have a ticket for travel eg rover ticket or pass."

26 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

A summary of topics discussed at recent WSRA Trustee Board

The new WSRA Trustee Board met for the first time on Monday 24 August 2015. The WSRA website has a link to a document providing a summary of the meeting. After an introductory session, during which the Association's organisation and structures were explained to the new Trustees, the meeting discussed reports from various officers; membership costs and benefits; stone trains; a request from the Special Events Planning Team for sponsorship of an event at the Autumn Steam Gala which was was agreed; and stabling facilities for the Quantock Belle coaches during construction of covered loco accommodation at Bishops Lydeard. The next meeting will be on 21 September 2015. The summary was written by new Trustee Nigel Adams on behalf of the Trustees.

26 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

More opportunities for online shopping

In recent weeks extra work has been done to increase the range of items available to buy online from the West Somerset Railway shop. To have a look and maybe find a gift for someone or perhaps yourself just enter West Somerset Railway Online Shop into your browser and click through the link.

26 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

A reunion lunch planned for original volunteers and staff


The West Somerset Railway is planning to hold a reunion lunch for original volunteers and staff who helped to reopen the line between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead during the years 1971 to 1979.

The reunion will take the form of a buffet lunch - kindly sponsored by the West Somerset Railway Association - in the Beach Hotel opposite Minehead Railway Station on Saturday 3 October 2015 during the WSR's Autumn Steam Gala event which takes place over the four days 1 to 4 October and will feature at least six steam locomotives working an hourly service of trains over the twenty miles of track with plenty to see and do along the way.

West Somerset Railway General Manager Paul Conibeare commented "It is nearly forty years since the first train left Minehead for a round trip to Blue Anchor and back on Good Friday 1976 and we would like to welcome back those pioneers who worked from 1971 to 1979 to restore the line from Minehead stage by stage until trains began running to and from Bishops Lydeard in the latter year. Sadly of course age will have thinned the ranks of those early volunteers and staff but we would like to welcome those who wish to attend to be our guests. We will offer two day tickets to all of those who wish to attend so that they can also travel the line and in their mind's eye compare the current line with what is was like in the first decade of revival."

Any volunteers from the early era including members of support groups such as the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust and the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group who would like to attend should notify John Simms of the Railway's Commercial Department via john.com@wsrail.net or 01643 700382 by Monday 28 September 2015 so that arrangements can be made to welcome them.

25 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Suspension of WSRA Trustee is resolved

It would seem the suspension of WSRA Trustee Ian Coleby has been resolved according to the WSRA website which reports "The Association Trustees have released the following statement regarding the suspension of Trustee Ian Coleby which had been in place since Wednesday 13th May. 'The Trustees had a number of concerns about Ian's actions before 13th May 2015. Ian does not agree that these concerns were valid. Without resolving that difference of opinion, Ian and the Trustees have agreed that his suspension will be lifted after Ian attends an induction course, when he may rejoin the Board on 24th August 2015.' The matter is now closed and it has been agreed that no further statement will be made by either party."

23 August 2015
Details gleaned from the West Somerset Railway Association website External link

Dunster Station's little BR(W) style platform bench project

There are three types of GWR-style platform seat supports, the scroll type, the 'shirt button' type and the rarest of all, a 'BR(W)' version produced for a few short years in the late 40s and early 50s. The Railway has had one 'BR(W)' support stored away at Bishops Lydeard for many years and now, given the eagle-eye of a Railway supporter, two more have been discovered in a Banbury scrapyard and can join their lone fellow. 'GWR' benches were only supplied in a 10-foot length with three supports. These three now need shot blasting, painting and the ministrations of the RAMS team to add the necessary woodwork in an authentic style, when the bench will head off to Dunster Station, which presents the 'chocolate and cream' British Railways era.

Anyone willing to contribute towards the £300 purchase price of the supports, the £200 for the new timber, or the £100-odd for shot blasting, painting, bolts and the like, can contact Alan Bond, Dunster Station Master, or Robin White (robin215white@btinternet.com) who is managing this little project for Dunster Station.

22 August 2015
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

Bishops Lydeard Station webcams suffer hardware failure

Folks who regularly visit the website pages to view the webcams at Bishops Lydeard Station may wish to note the computer that serves both webcams has stopped functioning. It would seem the motherboard has failed. The webcam manager is sourcing a replacement. Fears that the hard disk had expired, along with unavailable backup software for the static camera, were thankfully unfounded. Please be patient whilst the volunteer webcam manager works on the problem.

21 August 2015
Details kindly provided by webcam manager and WSRA

Railway-themed sculpture at Watchet Station is unveiled by the Mayor

A new sculpture standing at Watchet Station was unveiled on 15 August 2015 by Watchet Town Mayor, Peter Murphy. During his unveiling speech, the Mayor noted that the sculpture's main inscription 'Welcome ye friends of progress' commemorated the words above the 'welcoming arch' when the first train arrived at Watchet Station all those years ago, whilst the station names conclude with Watchet which was the terminus of the line at that time, the line being pushed on to Minehead some ten years later; and the striking converging lines represent the change from Brunel's broad gauge to the standard gauge in a later part of the line's history. The sculptor, David Milton, is also Watchet's Town Crier, and has other works on display around the town of Watchet, notably 'Seascape' located in Esplanade Lane just behind the tourist information office, and another work in front of the Town Council offices. Thanks to Ron Jones for the words and picture.

20 August 2015
Details kindly provided by the Friends of Watchet Station

The West Somerset Railway Association Taunton Group

The Taunton Group meet on the first Monday of the month unless informed otherwise at the GWS&A Association Hall, Station Approach, Taunton, Somerset TA1 3TX at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start. Ian Aldridge WSRA Vice Chairman and Trustee looks forward: "On 7 September, Richard Summer returns to give the Group an update on the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway's push to Broadway and beyond as well as updating us on what is happening at the Cheltenham end of the line. Richard gave an excellent presentation on his last visit following the near disastrous land slips that the line had to deal with and the line has come through better and stronger. On 5 October, a David Oldham DVD presentation of all that is good on the mainline and the WSR. It will cover some of last year's later events and this year's early event. I expect David will also throw in a few surprises as he did before not an evening to miss for lovers of steam and other modes of transport. DVD's of David's work will be available for purchase on the night. I have no further update at present as to when the Hall might close but I will let you know as soon as I do. I can be contacted by email ianaldridge62@talktalk.net or phone 01823 430194 please leave a message if I do not answer the phone and I will ring you back as soon as I can."

19 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

Coach link between Dunster Station and Dunster Show

The West Somerset Railway's Publicity Officer John Simms, reports that the Railway will be running a coach link, using Ridlers Coaches, between Dunster Station and Dunster Steep on Friday 21 August 2015 in connection with the annual Dunster Show. Use the trains and coach link to avoid the traffic on the A39 and A358 as the inevitable extra road traffic for the Show coincides with a changeover day for the Butlin holiday centre in Minehead. The coach will leave Dunster Station at 10.30am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm, and the Steep at 11am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.20pm and 5.10pm.

19 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Donations sought for the 'Tiles and Towers Appeal'

The West Somerset Railway is continuing its fund raising towards improvements to the facilities at its steam locomotive compound at Bishops Lydeard station, estimated to cost £150,000 in total. WSR shareholders have already generously supported the 'Tiles and Towers Appeal' but more money is required to take the work forward to construct a shelter at the locomotive compound at Bishops Lydeard and for work on the erection of the water tank from Reading to replace the existing time-expired tank also at Bishops Lydeard.

The shed design will be open sided and will cover the two existing inspection pits which will offer shelter enough for four tender locomotives or six large tank engines. The appearance will be similar to Great Western Railway wartime ash shelters and to promote ventilation when lighting- up is underway the roof line will be high with central raised clerestory vent running the length of the building. The roof will be supported on galvanised steel portal frame. Suitable lighting provision will be supplied by flood lights down each side and centrally between the pits. The lighting will be at such a level that sufficient illumination will be available for inspection of locomotive wheels and motions.

The water tank was moved to Reading locoshed in 1953 and holds 22,000 gallons. It was in use until it was moved to the WSR in December 2013 as part of the work on the track layout at Reading and the relocation of the maintenance depot as part of the Great Western electrification work. Foundations will need to be prepared to take the eighty ton weight of the tank which when erected will be one of the largest in use on British heritage railways.

West Somerset Railway General Manager Paul Conibeare who is also a volunteer steam engine driver on the 20 mile line between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead commented "I can say from many years of personal experience that improved cover at Bishops Lydeard will make the job of our unpaid volunteer locomotive crews more comfortable when preparing engines at the start of the day and the 'disposal' duties that are required before the locomotive can be left ready for the next day's duty. From the viewpoint of the presentation that we offer to the passengers and visitors to the line something that will keep the worst of the weather at bay can only help in conserving paintwork. We would therefore like to thank everyone who has supported the appeal so far and thank in anticipation any further donors for their help."

Donations for these projects can be sent to West Somerset Railway Plc (Tiles and Towers Appeal), The Railway Station, Minehead, TA24 5BG. As the WSR is a Plc gift aid provisions do not apply.

17 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

A special recruitment day for volunteer guards and signalmen

The West Somerset Railway will be holding a specially organised recruitment day for volunteer guards and signalmen at Bishops Lydeard Station on Sunday 15 November starting at 10am. The railway is facing a potential shortage of volunteers in the near future and needs to take action to attract more people now to ensure that the line continues to prosper and remains able to offer an attractive service to the public. For those who have been tempted to offer their services but are unsure as to whether these are the right roles the day offers a chance to gain 'hands on' experience of what is involved without any commitment.

Following an initial chat and basic safety briefing (covering both grades), potential guards will have the chance to try their hand at rolling stock inspection, shunting, liaising with drivers, handsignalling, and so on - there is much more to being a guard than simply waving a green flag every now and then. Potential signalmen will be shown the interior of the signal box and be given the chance to try working the token machines and some points and signals and also be introduced to the outside duties - handsignalling, point machines and so on. Once again, there is much more to being a signalman than simply pulling a few levers.

If you want to know more about what is involved before deciding whether or not to attend then please feel free to contact Pete Vile (guards) on peter.vile@wsrail.net or Chris Pratt (signalmen) on chris.pratt@wsrail.net for more details. Or just simply turn up on the day - although it would be helpful to advise you plan to attend to give some idea of the numbers to expect. The Sat Nav code for Bishops Lydeard Station is TA4 3BX and ample parking will be available.

17 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

A change of manager for the West Somerset Railway Association

The West Somerset Railway Association today announced the resignation of the Association Manager, Susan Kaufman. A press release (dated 4 August) on the Association's website states "Susan Kaufman has stepped down from her position as Association Manager with effect from Saturday 25th July. Susan has been in post for the past seven years, having been appointed in March 2008, and has played a major role in the restructuring and development of the Association and its Promotions Company during this period."

WSRA Chairman Peter Chidzey comments "Susan will remain involved with the Association to assist us with her considerable experience, including continuing as Company Secretary...I am pleased to say that Jacquie Green, who has been working for the Association recently in a temporary capacity, has agreed to take on the role of Association Manager with effect from Monday 3rd August 2015."

See the full press statement.

17 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

'Holmes Halt' is officially opened at the Norton Triangle

On Saturday 1 August 2015 Councillor Marcia Hill, Mayor of Taunton Deane, attended the Association's Steam Fayre & Vintage Rally at Norton Fitzwarren along with her consort, Julian. During her visit, the temporary platform erected adjacent to the Triangle to accommodate passengers joining the brake van specials running along the remaining section of the Barnstaple branch was named 'Holmes Halt' after former Association Chairman David Holmes, who passed away in 2014.

Speaking at the official opening, Councillor Hill reminded all to especially acknowledge the foresight and skills of a special few, in particular, David Holmes. "David was a member of the West Somerset Railway Association's Board for over ten years and was a much-respected Chairman between 2009 and 2011. He brought enormous commitment and energy to the role and in particular the vision for the flagship Norton Triangle project...He will be fondly remembered by many for his unstinting efforts in support of the Association and the West Somerset Railway."

David Holmes' widow, Anne, was then invited to cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially mark the opening of 'Holmes Halt', following which the guests were treated to a brake van ride hauled by the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust's Peckett saddle tank Kilmersdon. The halt's running-in board was painted by regular Bishops Lydeard volunteer Harry Kirkland, well known both for his sign writing and for designing his popular range of transport-related weather vanes.

17 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

Fantastic Fridays in September on the West Somerset Railway

On Fridays in September (4th, 11th, 18th & 25th) Day Rover Tickets will be available at the discounted price of £14 for adults and senior citizens and £7 for children aged 5 to 15. Travel on the trains to suit yourselves and explore the places of interest along the way including the old harbour town of Watchet with its narrow streets, museums and local shops, Washford - the alighting point for Cleeve Abbey and Torre Cider Farm, and Dunster for the medieval village overlooked by the 1000 year old castle and with the Yarn Market building, working water mill and Dolls Museum amongst its attractions. WSR ticket holders can obtain discounted admission to the Abbey and Dunster Castle and if you are going to Bishops Lydeard the village pubs offer discounts on production of your WSR tickets. Buy at station booking offices or from ticket inspectors on the train. Or buy online now.

16 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

News from Friends of Crowcombe Heathfield Station

On 25 September 2015, the Friends of Crowcombe Heathfield Station are once again taking part in the "World's Biggest Coffee Morning" in adi of MacMillan Cancer Support. Join the Friends on the platform between 10.30am and 12.30pm for coffee or tea with delicious homemade cake. Full details here. Earlier in September, the Friends have also arranged a "1960/70s Buffet Dance" at WestBagborough Village Hall - details

16 August 2015
Details kindly provided by Friends of Crowcombe Heathfield Station External link

WSR Plc is seeking to recruit new Board members

The West Somerset Railway Plc is in the process of restructuring its Board in order to be able to meet the commercial, financial and business challenges and opportunities associated with running a heritage railway over the next few years. Significant progress has already been made in appointing existing Board members to new Director portfolios. The Plc now wishes to complete this process by recruiting experienced and capable individuals to the Board to undertake responsibilities in the following areas - Volunteer Development; Marketing; Inward Investment; Safety Audit and Human Resources. These are all voluntary positions. Some expenses are reimbursed in line with Company policies. The West Somerset Railway is one of Britain's leading heritage lines and is working on a number of exciting and interesting projects designed to maintain the WSR as a major tourist and preservation attraction in West Somerset. The Plc approved its Ten Year Corporate Plan in 2014 and is looking to strengthen the Board with people with the right leadership, strategic and other skills to complement those of existing Directors. Further details.

14 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

No 3850's last runs on WSR before heavy overhaul

GWR Class 2884 2-8-0 no 3850 will make its last workings on the West Somerset Railway before withdrawal on the weekend of 12 and 13 September 2015, coinciding with the CAMRA Real Ale and Cider Festival at Minehead Station. If you would like to travel on the last day the lunchtime jazz session at the Festival is usually a nicely relaxed way to enjoy an hour or two. We should add that the loco will move to the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway to work for a couple of weeks before overhaul commences.

13 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

A very successful 2015 Steam Fayre and Vintage Vehicle Rally

Di and Richard Charlton of the Rally Committee report "What a wonderful weekend! The sun shone and more than 6000 people visited the rally. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Well done to Chairman Ian Jonas and the Rally Team and a big thank you to all volunteers, exhibitors and sponsors. The Rally Committee are taking a well-earned break just now but will meet in September to start planning the 2016 rally. In the meantime do take a look at some of the photographs in our 2015 gallery."

12 August 2015
Details kindly provided by the Rally Committee External link

The WSRA Review Panel say thanks for written submissions

On their Facebook page, the WSRA Review Panel say "The Review Panel wishes to say thank you to all the individuals and organisations that have made written submissions. We fully recognise the considerable time, effort and research that went into many of the submissions. We regard every submission as valuable and will be reading them all in detail over the rest of August. This will help guide the review process during the next stage which is to pick out common themes and particular issues to establish our lines of enquiry in much greater depth which we will be undertaking during September."

11 August 2015
Details gleaned from the Review Team's Facebook page

Nos 2857 and 7812 booked for the 2015 Autumn Steam Gala

The West Somerset Railway's Autumn Steam Gala will feature a first ever appearance on the Minehead Branch by GWR 2-8-0 no 2857, normally based at the Severn Valley Railway. Accompanying the 28xx from Shropshire to Somerset will be GWR 4-6-0 no 7812 Erlestoke Manor, owned by the Erlestoke Manor Fund, making a welcome return visit to the WSR. Other guest engines for the Gala which takes place on 1, 2, 3, 4 October 2015 are being sourced and the West Somerset based locomotives in action are nos 4160 (its last Gala appearance before heavy overhaul), 4936 Kinlet Hall, 6960 Raveningham Hall, and 7828 Odney Manor. Once again it will be possible to travel in the West Somerset Railway Association's Hawksworth Inspection Saloon on some trains over the four days on payment of a supplementary fare on the day of travel.

Discounted Rover Tickets can be purchased in advance from www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk or by telephone from 01643 704996 (seven days a week). Normal fares will apply for single and return fares over the four days and the West Somerset is looking to encourage younger visitors with a £2 flat fare for any journey, including Rovers, on Sunday 4 October for children aged 5 to 15 accompanied by a full fare paying adult or senior.

11 August 2015
Details provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Minehead Summer Festival: revised timetable on 12 August

Wednesday 12 August 2015 is Minehead Summer Festival Day and with Minehead Station being situated on the seafront the West Somerset Railway is a very good way to come down to visit the stalls, enjoy the live entertainment and in the afternoon see the amazing skills of the Red Devils parachute team and the Red Arrows aerobatics. As part of the day the WSR will be running a modified timetable as follows:
Depart Bishops Lydeard at 10.25 (steam) 11.05 (steam) 11.45 (diesel) 15.00 (steam), 16.40 (steam).
Depart Minehead at 10.15 (steam) 12.30 (steam) 13.20 (diesel to Williton), 15.05 (steam) 15.22 (diesel to Blue Anchor only) 15.50 (steam) 16.45 (steam) and 17.30 (diesel).
All trains except the 15.22 from Minehead will call at all stations.

Afternoon trains from Minehead will be busy and passengers may have to be patient as queuing to board the trains may be necessary.

11 August 2015
Details provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Two defibrillators obtained for the West Somerset Railway

Pam Hawkins, Station Master at Minehead and Chris Hocking Brown, WSR Plc's Head of Commercial Services, are pleased to announce that they have procured two defibrillators for the Railway from the South West Ambulance Trust. One will be placed at Minehead Station and the other will be located at Bishops Lydeard. Pam said, "This will benefit our staff and customers alike. It is pleasing to know that we have these important machines available at short notice and that we can save lives." Chris went on to say, "These machines are easy to use. They self-diagnose heart problems and correct them automatically, saving lives. Many have been placed out in the community and the WSR's defibrillators will compliment that network. Our staff will have a basic input from South West Ambulance staff, but the defib does the work. We all hope we will never have to use them, but it's reassuring to known they are there, just in case."

7 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

The WSRA Review - make sure you have your say...

The WSRA Review Panel is very keen to get as many written submissions as possible. The written submissions will provide show just how many people are concerned about the future of the Association, what are the range of issues that concern them and how they see these being resolved in the future. By taking part in the process there is a genuine opportunity to influence what will be the form, purpose and activities of the future WSRA. The Review is evidence based and therefore relies on evidence being submitted. You don't have to be a member of the WSRA to be involved in the Review. So if you want to influence the future of the Association then don't delay and email your written submission to wsrareview@gmail.com in the next day or so. The deadline is 10 August 2015.

7 August 2015
Details kindly provided by the Review Team

Bathampton blockade brings trains to the West Somerset Railway

The West Somerset Railway Plc are pleased to have signed a new contract with Network Rail to assist with the work currently going on during the Bathhampton Blockade. Paul Conibeare, WSR's General Manger, explains "This will involve a number of trains arriving onto the West Somerset Railway between the 3rd and 28th August 2015 for unloading on the WSRA land at Norton Fitzwarren by John Luffman Trading who work on site. Although tonnage may vary from the contract it was good to see that three trains arrived on Monday 3 August. At this point it is only right to recognise all the additional work by a small number of key staff to bring in additional income on an already busy steam railway."

6 August 2015
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

The minutes of the recent Partnership Development Group meeting

The minutes of the most recent Partnership Development Group (PDG) meeting held on 25 June 2015 are now available for viewing. Topics covered during the meeting include Commercial Negotiations with the Plc, the Heritage & Preservation Group, the Bishops Lydeard Development Group, the Williton Site Developments, Plc 3-Year Business Plan, Plc Policies, Question on Grievance Procedures, Leasehold Update. The next meeting would be held at 2pm on Thursday 20 August 2015 in Brunel House, Bishops Lydeard. For a PDF of the minutes please click here. (opens in a new window)

5 August 2015
Details kindly provided by the PDG Secretariat

Johnny Kingdom book signing at Minehead Station on 17 August

The Buffer Stop Shop at Minehead station on the West Somerset Railway will be welcoming the well-known Exmoor resident and wildlife film maker Johnny Kingdom and author David Parker for a signing of the new book 'Johnny Kingdom's Wild Exmoor' on the afternoon of Monday 17 August 2015 starting at 2pm. The book is a fully illustrated hardback and coincides with Johnny's recent four part television series for ITV. The WSR is operating its peak season timetable so there are plenty of opportunities to combine a meeting with Johnny and David with a steam train journey on England's longest heritage railway (for timetable information see www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk or call 01643 704996). As with the TV series the book traces the changing scenes on Exmoor through the seasons of the year and captures the beauties of this part of England. The 144 page book is published by Halsgrove and costs £14.99.

5 August 2015
Details provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Minehead Summer Festival: revised timetable on 12 August

The West Somerset Railway is once again expecting a very busy day on Wednesday12 August when the seaside town of Minehead hosts its annual Summer Festival complete with an aerobatics display by the world famous Red Arrows. To cope with the expected loadings the WSR has modified its timetable for the day.

This very popular annual event will once again feature the RAF Red Arrows team and the Red Devils parachute team. There are craft and charity stalls, live music and entertainment throughout the day and the roads in the area will be very busy indeed.

West Somerset Railway General Manager Paul Conibeare commented "The Minehead Summer Festival is one of the major events in the West Somerset calendar and the Railway has a key role in getting people to and from the town. We will close the station after the 12.35 train arrives from Bishops Lydeard and we have to put a queuing system in place to ensure that passengers can be safely carried back home in the afternoon. We would ask passengers to be patient and accept that on this one day of the year it will be necessary to introduce this level of controlled access."

4 August 2015
Details provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

The 2015 Steam Rally is a great success

Good news from the 2015 Steam Rally as posted by Wendy of the Rally Committee on the Rally's Facebook page, "A big Thank You to everyone who came to the Rally. We have had an amazing weekend. Still counting up the final numbers but looks like a record breaking year. An enormous Thank You goes to all the volunteers how help to make the event happen and run smoothly. You should all be very proud. See you all next year." And a reminder that the 2016 Steam Fayre and Vintage Vehicle Rally will be held on the weekend of 6 & 7 August 2016.

3 August 2015
Details provided by the Rally Committee External link

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