Latest news

WSRA looking for help from the membership

In the latest electronic newsletter from the West Somerset Railway Association the Chairman, Frank Courtney writes:

Amongst the membership of the WSRA we have a wide range of professional expertise. It is very helpful to the trustees to know what is available and which members may be willing to give occasional support and advice to the trustees, on a pro bono basis as part of their support for the continuing success of the railway.

We are however particularly keen to identify colleagues with a legal background who might be able to help us. I need to stress that this is not to replace the proper paid legal support that the Association needs, but rather to act as a professionally expert sounding board for occasional matters that come up.

Anyone interested is asked to contact the WSRA Chairman using the contact details on the electronic newsletter.

27 August 2016
Details gleaned from newsletter from the West Somerset Railway Association External link

Travel along the Barnstaple Branch during 2016 Autumn Steam Gala

The first two days - 6 & 7 October - of the West Somerset Railway's four day 2016 Autumn Steam Gala offer the rare chance of a trip along part of the Barnstaple Branch. Almost three quarters of a mile was been relaid in recent years as part of the Norton Triangles project. Gala visitors will have the opportunity to travel in Autocoach no 233 from Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren then along the 'Barnstaple' to just short of the long-removed Allerford Bridge, and return.

Also announced is a shuttle service on the third and fourth Gala days - 8 & 9 October - between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard provided by a modern GWR diesel multiple unit.

Further information

26 August 2016
Details gleaned from Facebook

SDJR coach no 4 in use during Autumn Steam Gala

The West Somerset Railway's 2016 Autumn Steam Gala will see the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust's coach no 4 carrying fare paying passengers for the first time in over 70 years.

No 4 was built at Highbridge in 1886, taken out of use in 1929, and the body converted for use as a cricket pavilion at Templecombe. It was rescued by the Trust in 1986 and brought to Washford, where it is now resplendent in the fully lined out Prussian Blue livery of the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway. The restoration was completed in August 2016. No 4 was in use for the Spring Steam Gala only partly completed.

For further information on the Autumn Gala please visit the West Somerset Railway's website at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk or ring 01643 704996.

23 August 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Princess Elizabeth's visit to West Somerset

The WSR Plc have asked us to post this reminder:

Please note: Princess Elizabeth will detach from its train on arrival at Norton Fitzwarren at approx 2pm on 23 August and the accompanying diesel loco will take the train to/from Minehead. Princess Elizabeth will then follow on to Bishops Lydeard for servicing and will re-join the charter at Bishops Lydeard on its return from Minehead at approximately 6.10pm.

23 August 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

News from the Friends of West Somerset Railway

The Second Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the West Somerset Railway will be held on Saturday 24 September 2016 at Brunel House, Bishops Lydeard, 2pm for 2.15pm. Item 8 of the Agenda might be of particular interest:

FoWSR - THE FUTURE: It is Proposed that the FoWSR be merged with the WSRA, all paid-up FoWSR Members becoming WSRA Members with a free one-year WSR Membership and all benefits, including WSR Journal and 25% off all WSR train fares. After all costs are covered, surplus funds to be donated to the WSR plc's Water Facility Project; disposal of other assets to be agreed.

23 August 2016
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

Princess Elizabeth to visit West Somerset on 23 August

This summer, LMS Pacific 4-6-2 no 6201 Princess Elizabeth will be making a comeback at the head of The Cathedrals Express with the first trip for 'Lizzie'on The Cathedrals Express to the West Somerset Railway on Tuesday 23 August 2016. Join the train at London Victoria, Hounslow, Virginia Water, Ascot, Reading, Newbury or Castle Cary. Full details.

Please note: Princess Elizabeth will detach from its train on arrival at Norton Fitzwarren at approx 2pm and the accompanying diesel loco will take the train to/from Minehead. Princess Elizabeth will then follow on to Bishops Lydeard for servicing and will re-join the charter at Bishops Lydeard on its return from Minehead at approximately 6.10pm.

18 August 2016
Details kindly provided by Steam Dreams External link

Diesel allocations during the Late Summer Weekend event

The Diesel & Electric Preservation Group have confirmed the allocations for the diesel locomotives during the 2016 Late Summer Weekend, subject to availability.

Class 52 no D1010 Western Campaigner Saturday 3 September 2016

  • 9.50am Bishops Lydeard to Minehead
  • 11.45am Minehead to Bishops Lydeard
  • 1.20pm Bishops Lydeard to Minehead (via Norton Fitzwarren)
  • 4.25pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard

Class 52 no D1010 Western Campaigner Sunday 4 September 2016

  • 9.00am Bishops Lydeard to Minehead
  • 10.47am Minehead to Bishops Lydeard
  • 12.45pm Bishops Lydeard to Minehead
  • 2.45pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard
  • 4.25pm Bishops Lydeard to Minehead

Class 35 no D7017 Saturday 3 September 2016

  • 9.45am Minehead to Bishops Lydeard
  • 11.57am Bishops Lydeard to Minehead
  • 2.30pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard
  • 4.20pm Bishops Lydeard to Minehead

Class 35 no D7017 Sunday 4 September 2016

  • 10.45am Bishops Lydeard to Minehead
  • 12.45pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard
  • 2.25pm Bishops Lydeard to Minehead
  • 5.30pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard

16 August 2016
Details gleaned from Facebook

News update from the Quantock Belle folks

The folks who run the Quantock Belle dining train have announced:

Quantock Belle are pleased to announce a new promotional price discount of 10 per cent, applicable to new bookings aboard selected Sunday Luncheon services. This promotion applies to dining services operating on 11th September (roast beef), 2nd October (roast lamb) and 16th October (roast gammon) only and will run until the allocated promotional seats are all taken up. Please quote promotion code 'QB10' when booking. All enquiries please to the usual 'phone number 01823 433856.

15 August 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

News update from the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust have published an update of recent news including the visit of BCK no 6705 to the Steam Rally at Norton Fitzwarren, mention of backroom discussions concerning possible developments at Williton, and with regard to a Heritage lottery fund application, a review of the contents of the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard.

13 August 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust External link

Vacancy for carriage fitter on the West Somerset Railway

The West Somerset Railway Plc has a full time vacancy for a person to maintain railway carriages. The work will be based at Minehead. The hours will be 40 per week, some of which will be weekend. Salary will depend upon experience. Closing date for applications is 24th August 2016. Further details.

11 August 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

The latest news from the Friends of Minehead Station

The latest Newsletter from the Friends of Minehead Station includes news of floodlighting, fencing, flowers, a freshly painted van, bunting, Setright machines, working parties, social events and fundraising.

To join the Friends of Minehead Station, write to FoMS, The Railway Station, Minehead TA24 5BG.

9 August 2016
Details kindly provided by the Friends of Minehead Station

Synopsis of the recent WSRA Trustee Board meeting

Amongst the items discussed at the West Somerset Railway Association Trustee Board meeting on 4 August 2016 was a decision about the Association's ex-GWR Camping Coach currently stabled at Blue Anchor.

For more details of this decision and other topics please see click here.

9 August 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

Somerset CAMRA Real Ale & Cider Festival 2016

Somerset CAMRA have announced details of their annual Festival:

Somerset CAMRA are pleased to announce that their 17th Annual Real Ale & Cider Festival is taking place at Quantock Brewery, adjacent to Bishops Lydeard WSR station on Friday 9 September (4pm-11pm) and Saturday 10th September (11am-11pm). 50 real ales and 10 ciders will be available. Hot food choices on both days. As a gesture of goodwill the West Somerset Railway are kindly offering card carrying CAMRA memubers a discount of 25 per cent on Standard Adult Day Rover tickets over the two days of our event. Why not ride the trains during the day, then spend your evening at the CAMRA Festival. Alternatively it will be possible to take a return steam hauled train from any WSR station and spend up to four and a half hours at the Festival on Saturday afternoon 10 September (10.15am from Minehead, returning on 4.20pm from Bishops Lydeard). Full details will be available at www.somerset.camra.org.uk

8 August 2016
Details kindly provided by Somerset CAMRA External link

News of WSRA (Promotions) Ltd vacancies

Applications are invited from people with a business, engineering or financial background to serve as Directors of WSRA (Promotions) Limited - the wholly owned trading arm of the West Somerset Railway Association. The Association website has further details.

Also, a seasonal Shop and Cafe Assistant Manager is required to assist the Retail Manager with the shop and cafe on Bishops Lydeard Station for three days a week (27 hours). The Association website has further details.

8 August 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

Duchess of Sutherland to visit the West Somerset Railway

LMS Coronation Class Pacific 4-6-2 no 46233 Duchess of Sutherland will be stabled at Bishops Lydeard over the weekend of 6-7 August 2016. The loco arrives from Southall via Bristol at 2.25pm Saturday 6 August, and returns to Southall at 11.10am on Monday 8 August. On Sunday 7 August it will haul Railway Touring Company's Royal Duchy railtour between Taunton and Par, passing the Steam Rally site at Norton Fitzwarren at approximately 10.04 (heading west) and returning at approximately 9.21pm. It leaves Bishops Lydeard for Fairwater Yard at 9.08am returning at 10.14pm. This is the second visit of a working Coronation Class Pacific to the WSR. (see pics of earlier visit

To add to the mainline steam action, LNER A1 Pacific 4-6-2 no 60163 Tornado (a past WSR visitor) is due past the Steam Rally site on the Torbay Express to Kingswear at about 10.42am on Sunday, returning at about 6.26pm.

4 August 2016
Details kindly provided by uksteam.info External link

Times for the free shuttle train to the Steam Rally

Here are the times of the free train that shuttles between Bishops Lydeard Station and the Rally at Norton Fitzwarren on 6 and 7 August 2016.

Departs Bishops Lydeard Station at 9.45am, 10.20am, 11am, 11.40am, 12.15pm, 1.50pm, 2.30pm, 3.05pm, 3.52pm and 4.45pm

Departs Norton Fitzwarren 10am, 10.40am, 11.15am, 11.55am, 1.25pm, 2.10pm, 2.45pm, 3.20pm, 4.10pm and 5pm

The journey takes just ten minutes.

Day tickets for the Rally purchased online are valid for both days - visit the Rally Ticket page to get your e-tickets for the Rally.

1 August 2016
Details kindly provided by The Rally Team External link

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