An unofficial website featuring the West Somerset Railway

Latest news

Taunton Rail Shuttle Tickets now available online

WSR

The new GWR summer shuttle service linking the national rail network at Taunton Railway Station and the West Somerset Railway starts on Saturday 27 July 2019. The full list of dates for 2019 are 27 July, 3, 17, 31 August, 7, 21 September, 5 October. See below for train times.

With timings and dates of operation finally resolved (in rather less time than the 18 months normally taken for timetable and pathing planning for trains on the national network) tickets for the Taunton shuttle trains can now be found at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk in the Events and Experiences section of the site. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of travel from the Travelling Ticket Inspectors on the shuttles who can also sell tickets.

Returns on the Bishops Lydeard - Taunton shuttle are £6.00 for adults and seniors and £3.00 for young people aged 3 to 17; singles cost £4.00 and £2.00 respectively. Please note that WSR discount travel schemes do not apply on the shuttles but can of course be used on WSR trains for travel between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead.

Taunton shuttle timetable for 2019 - please check on the websites prior to travelling as times will vary for WSR special event weekends, or ring 01643 704996.

Saturdays 27 July and 3, 17, 31 August and 7, 21 September and 5 October
GWR Taunton dep * 09.39*10.28*12.10*15.37*16.36*
GWR Bishops Lydeard arr 09.5610.4512.2615.5416.53
GWR Bishops Lydeard * dep 10.03*11.45*12.53*16.09*17.11*
GWR Taunton arr 10.22 12.05 13.10 16.26 17.28

* On Saturday 3 August the GWR shuttle trains will leave Taunton and Bishops Lydeard up to four minutes earlier and call at Norton Platform to serve the Steam and Vintage Rally.

Online Taunton Shuttle Tickets

22 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

GWR 0-6-0PT no 9466 is a surprise Steam Rally visitor

WSR

GWR 0-6-0PT no 9466 will be a surprise operating guest exhibit for the West Somerset Railway Association's Steam and Vintage Rally at Norton Fitzwarren on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 August 2019, courtesy of a no-cost deal struck between the South Devon Railway, the West Somerset Railway Plc and WSRA, along with 9466's new owner Jon Jones-Pratt.

As a red route engine, no 9466 is restricted to the Norton - Bishops Lydeard section of the WSR but is likely to head the empty stock of the evening Somerset Coast Express from Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren on Friday 2 August 2019. The Somerset Coast Express is a special excursion for those folks involved in the Rally. The loco will then bank the excursion from Norton to Bishops Lydeard, then cut off and return to Norton.

Over the Rally weekend, the loco will spend some time on static display and footplate visits, plus will also share duties with Barclay 0-4-0ST no 1219 on brake van duties on the Barnstaple Branch section of the Norton Triangles helping to raise more funds for the WSR's current £250,000 track appeal.

Click or tap the button below for 'two days for price of one' online tickets for the Rally.

Online Rally Tickets

19 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

WSR Plc to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting

WSR

Jon Jones-Pratt, Chairman of West Somerset Railway Plc, has written to shareholders about an Extraordinary General Meeting being held in August. Click or tap the button below for the full letter. Here is part of the message:

The board is currently experiencing some very time consuming problems, both in terms of carrying out a major re-structuring process and bringing an Annual Account and Report together. We simply do not think it will be possible to produce meaningful accounts and have them audited in the time scale currently required by the Company's Articles of Association.

We are therefore asking you to agree to a change in the Articles to facilitate a short delay in completing them. The wording of the change is specifically chosen to allow this. This requires us to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting and details and a copy of the formal notice are included in the enclosed agenda.

Jon adds:

You will have seen the previous notice issued about the re-structuring of the Board so, once the formal business of the EGM is completed, we shall provide you with a more general update on the current state of your Railway, some of the challenges we face in the weeks and months ahead - and of course there will be opportunities for questions.

Full letter Official webpage & other documents

18 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Rail renewal fundraising reaches one fifth of target

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association, in partnership with WSR Plc and the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust, have updated the running total which today stands at £46,792.21 - that's 19% of the target of a quarter of a million pounds. A truly excellent effort. Around a tenth of this amount has been raised via the online donation page. Donations may also be made in other ways. For more information, please click or tap the buttons below.

Donate online Other ways to donate West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

18 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

Full independent track survey for the West Somerset Railway

WSR

The West Somerset Railway has commissioned a full independent track survey of the complete line between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead, to be carried out by a fully qualified heritage railway civil engineer.

Jonathan Jones-Pratt, the WSR Plc Chairman commented:

This is to ensure that a proper audit and independent evaluation is made of the work currently being carried out on our track infrastructure, so as to provide absolute assurance and transparency for those people who kindly support us with donations. The survey will also enable us to clarify all of the core assets involved along the track in a greater level of detail than we have today.

The evaluation will be carried out using a traffic light system to identify which of the assets require most immediate attention versus those that can be maintained over a longer term basis. It will also help ensure the West Somerset Railway is maintained to fully meet the requirements of the Light Railway Order, both now and into the future.

One of the key objectives for the railway has been to restore the previous 'red route' status which allows the heavier and celebrity locomotives, such as Flying Scotsman, to use the line, giving the railway much needed publicity and additional revenues. This survey will enable the Board to accurately assess the work needed to restore red status to the line. Jonathan Jones-Pratt adds:

The output from this survey is expected to be a 5-10 year plan that can be delivered by teams of volunteers and a core group of paid staff working together to raise overall standards on the railway. The Board will empower these people to 'get on with the job' by giving them sensible budgetary guidance and being prepared to listen and react to support the various initiatives arising from this survey

This initiative is part of a much wider strategy to raise standards across all areas of the railway; to achieve best practice in all areas of maintenance and repair; and to restore pride in the overall operation of the Railway by bringing in fresh new people who are best qualified to provide the railway with the right level of detail and assessment.

17 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The 9351 Blog has been updated

WSR

Now that the completed locomotive has been handed back to the West Somerset Railway Plc, the West Somerset Railway Association has added the final entry in the blog detailing the overhaul of the unique WSR 2-6-0 no 9351.

Click the link below to load the Blog page.

The 9351 Blog

15 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

Good news from the West Somerset Railway Association

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association are keen to share two pieces of good news:

Firstly, WSR 2-6-0 no 9351 has today been returned to the WSR Plc in Minehead. After a little more gentle running-in the loco is expected to return to traffic within a few days. The overhaul of this locomotive was a truly collaborative venture. The boiler was overhauled at LNWR Crewe and the bottom end was overhauled at Minehead. The re-assembly and refurbishment of a suitable tender were then completed at West Somerset Restoration in Williton. The total cost of the re-assembly and tender work was just short of £30,000, which has been funded by donations from supporters and by the WSRA. Ryan and Liam Pope of West Somerset Restoration accompanied no 9351 during the light engine move back to Minehead on 12 July 2019.

The 9351 Blog

Our second piece of good news relates to our own locomotive, GWR 'Small Prairie' 2-6-2T no 4561. We have today received a cheque for £20,000 towards the cost of the restoration of the loco, from Garfield Weston Foundation. This is a result of the work of our Trusts and Foundations fundraiser Kate Williams. Kate has also sourced £5,000 from the Veronica Awdry Charitable Trust and £15,000 from the Pilgrim Trust for this project and means that the total now held in donations and pledges for restoring 4561 is over £120,000. We still need more, but we are well on the way and now that 9351 has been returned to Minehead the team at Williton will be able to turn their attention to 4561.

13 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

New easy ways to get to the Steam Rally

WSR

The ever-popular WSRA Steam & Vintage Vehicle Rally will take place at Norton Fitzwarren on 3 and 4 August 2019. This year, there are new ways to get to the Rally.

  • On Saturday 3 August you can travel free on the new Great Western Railway shuttle from Taunton Railway Station, and return later. Trains will leave Taunton at 9.35am, 10.27am, 12.10pm, 3. 37pm, and 4.36pm.
  • On Saturday 3 August and Sunday 4 August, you can travel free on a 1967 Vintage Bus which leaves Taunton Bus Station at 10am, 11.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm. Stop at Norton Fitzwarren (outside the Co-op) at 10.20am, 11.50am, 2.20pm and 3.50pm. The bus will also take you back to Norton Fitzwarren village or Taunton Bus Station.
  • On both days, you can travel on the West Somerset Railway. There are trains from Minehead, with a special early service at 8.45pm. There is also a free, regular shuttle train to the Rally from Bishops Lydeard where there is free car parking.
  • Or travel by car to the free Rally car park off the B3227 at TA4 1BH.

Book Rally Day Tickets online

Don't forget that WSR ID card holders get in to the Rally free.

12 July 2019
Details kindly provided by Rally Team

A statement from the Erlestoke Manor Fund

WSR

The Erlestoke Manor Fund have made a statement on their Facebook page:

On Sunday 7th July our locomotive 7802 Bradley Manor suffered a broken piston rod whilst working the 10.15 passenger train from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead on the West Somerset Railway.

The WSR dealt with the situation very promptly and recovered the train and failed locomotive to Bishops Lydeard.

Unfortunately the locomotive has suffered significant consequential damage and has been withdrawn from service for an investigation and further examination prior to repair. It is likely that the locomotive will be out of service for a considerable period.

Bradley Manor is normally based on the Severn Valley Railway but has been on hire to the WSR for this summer season.

The Erlestoke Manor Fund add:

Further updates will be posted in due course and the Fund would like to thank all those who have sent messages of support at this difficult time.

10 July 2019
Details gleaned from the Facebook page of Erlestoke Manor Fund

Rail link between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard starts end of July

WSR

The West Somerset Railway and Great Western Railway have announced a joint venture of Saturday trains starting on 27 July 2019 and through August and into the autumn forming the basis of the new GWR summer shuttle service linking the national rail network at Taunton Station and the West Somerset Railway.

Trains will run on Saturdays on the following dates in 2019:
27 July
3, 17, 31 August
7, 21 September
5 October

These dates will allow for a big influx of visitors to the WSR's special events on 3 August, the Steam Rally at Norton Fitzwarren, and the Autumn Steam Gala on 5 October.

Details of the train service are set out below. Further dates for the shuttle later in the year are still under consideration by GWR and the WSR.

The primary purpose of the trial is to attract people from the national network to visit the WSR and enjoy the scenic line and attractions which will bring big benefits to local businesses in West Somerset. The West Somerset Railway itself is one of the largest tourist attractions in Somerset with around 180,000 visitors a year. For local residents, the new service offers a stress free and sustainable way of Saturday shopping in Taunton as well as a good connection with the national network.

Tickets can be bought on the train - there is a flat fare of £4 each way (£2 for children) - although Great Western Railway already offers through tickets from its staffed stations to the West Somerset Railway, and these will be valid on the shuttle train or on the No 28 bus between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard as an alternative to the shuttle rail service. Tickets can also be bought on the shuttle train from Taunton to any station on the West Somerset Railway. Book online at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk

The use of the trains will be carefully monitored and analysed to see if there is a basis for running a service in future years.

For information on the GWR shuttle and West Somerset Railway services, see the railway's website: www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk or call 01643 704996. For information on connecting services from Taunton, see the National Rail website: www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

This new regular, timetabled GWR shuttle service from Taunton to the WSR at Bishops Lydeard is an exciting opportunity for both railways in a joint venture. It is funded through our Customer and Community Improvement Fund as a trial, and we hope that visitors, enthusiasts and local residents will use the new Saturday service this year so that we can jointly evaluate its success.

Jonathan Jones-Pratt, chairman of the West Somerset Railway plc said:

The new GWR shuttle link is another good reason to visit the West Somerset Railway this year. Coupled with great scenery, the friendly welcome and our steam trains, and you have an unbeatable day out. We are proud to be running our heritage steam trains alongside their Great Western successors.

Timetable for 2019 - please check on the website prior to travelling as times will vary for WSR special event weekends, or ring 01643 704996.

Saturdays 27 July and 3, 17, 31 August and 7, 21 September and 5 October
GWR Taunton dep09.3910.2812.1015.3716.36
GWR Bishops Lydeard arr 09.5610.4512.2615.5416.53
then change trains...
WSR Bishops Lydeard dep 10.15 11.00 12.40 16.20
WSR Minehead arr 11.35 12.20 14.00 18.00
WSR Minehead dep 10.05 14.30 15.25
WSR Bishops Lydeard arr 11.30 15.52 16.50
then change trains...
GWR Bishops Lydeard dep 10.03 11.45 12.53 16.09 17.11
GWR Taunton arr 10.22 12.05 13.10 16.26 17.28

Note: Change at Bishops Lydeard. Also, on 3 August, trains will call additionally at Norton Fitzwarren for the Steam Rally - times to be confirmed.

8 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Overhaul of Lorna Doone making good progress

WSR

West Somerset Restoration's complete overhaul of the wheelchair accessible carriage no W80736 Lorna Doone is making good progress and should be outshopped from the workshop at Williton by the end of July. The overhaul of this vehicle is yet another project funded by the Friends of Minehead Station.

8 July 2019
Details kindly provided by the Friends of Minehead Station

Dates for diesel running on the Minehead Branch

WSR

The Diesel and Electric Preservation Group have kindly provided details of diesel running for the rest of the 2019 season.

  • Sat 6 Jul - Class 37 no D6948 - last day on the WSR - running 60 miles
  • Tue 16 Jul - Class 35 nos D7017 and D7018 - Quantock Belle Evening Dining Train - Book through the West Somerset Railway
  • Sat 20 Jul - Class 33 no D6566 - running 60 miles
  • Sat 27 Jul - Class 14 no D9526 - running 60 miles
  • Sun 4 Aug - Class 35 no D7018 - running 60 miles
  • Mon 5 Aug - Class 35 no D7018 - running 60 miles
  • Sun 11 Aug - Class 33 no D6566 - running 60 miles
  • Sat 24 Aug - Class 35 no D7018 - running 60 miles
  • Sat 14 & Sun 15 Sep - 1940s Weekend - possible diesel use as required
  • Sat 21 Sep - Class 14 no D9526 - running 60 miles

5 July 2019
Details kindly provided by Diesel and Electric Preservation Group

SDJR no 53808 has a busy weekend ahead

WSR

With repairs done, the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust have announced the powerful SDJR Class 7F 2-8-0 no 53808 will now be on display at Washford Station on Saturday 6 July 2019, and next day will haul the Trust's special train.

More information

5 July 2019
Details kindly provided by Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust

Final WSR runs of the visiting Growler no D6948

WSR

Visiting Class 37 'Growler' no D6948, owned by the 'Growler Group' will soon have its last runs on the Minehead Branch.

On Saturday 6 July 2019, the popular diesel locomotive will head the 11am from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead, then the 1.25pm Minehead to Williton and the 2.22pm Williton to Minehead, with its finale being the 3.25pm from Minehead back to Bishops Lydeard. These trains on 6 July 2019 are public service trains for turn-up-on-the-day passengers along with those with valid season tickets or valid tickets booked in advance.

The day before - Friday 5 July 2019 - is the Growler Group 'members day'. The Group have arranged a special treat with a departure at 9.40am from Bishops Lydeard to the less used Norton Fitzwarren end of the line. The train will then depart Bishops Lydeard at 11am to Minehead. There is an afternoon 'fill in' return trip from Minehead to Williton before the train leaves Minehead at 3.25pm for the return to Bishops Lydeard. The fare for Growler Group members is £15, payable on the day. Non members can join on the day. Information taken from the Growler Group Facebook page. Please note this is a special service.

The Growler Group Facebook page

3 July 2019
Details kindly provided by local correspondents

West Somerset Railway Plc announces re-structure of Board

WSR

The West Somerset Railway (WSR) Plc is pleased to announce a complete re-structuring of its existing Board following a comprehensive business review by the Chairman, Jonathan Jones-Pratt. The review included an external safety & operational compliance audit, a full review of overheads and staff structure and a detailed financial investigation.

Jonathan Jones-Pratt comments:

The focus is now moving from 'turn-around' to 'recovery' but for shareholders and staff we owe it to them to be transparent. The results of the review highlight some critical business failures which have resulted in significant financial losses accruing to the Plc. Results for the 15 months to 31 March 2019, when published, will illustrate the extent of the sharp decline in the financial condition of the Plc.

Click or tap the link below to load the full press release.

Full press release

1 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The 9351 Blog has been updated

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association has updated the blog detailing the overhaul of the unique WSR 2-6-0 no 9351 including a useful piece detailing the next stage:

The next part of the testing program will be weighting the locomotive and tender to set the springs to provide correct loadings on all wheels. Then some light engine runs Williton to Crowcombe and return will be undertaken between the service trains to prove the bearings, valves and lubrication are all doing what is expected. The firebox and tubes will be kept under close observation for any emerging leaks or fizzes. Once 9351 has had a couple of days running with no issues, the brick arch will be installed and some further loaded ECS test runs will be conducted. Then if all is well, 9351 will be handed over to the Minehead loco and be back into front line service as part of the WSR home fleet, just in time for the peak summer season.

Click the link below to load the Blog page.

The 9351 Blog

1 July 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

Special 2019 Steam Rally invite for WSR volunteers and staff

WSR

The Rally Team say:

Our annual Rally will take place on the 3rd and 4th August 2019at Norton Fitzwarren. We have a bigger and better Rally again this year, and would like to invite you to join us. Volunteers and staff with WSR ID cards get in free, and you can buy tickets for guests on the gate, or in advance on www.steamrally.org.uk (two days for the price of one) The event is open from 10.00 to 17.00. There is free parking on site, a shuttle bus from Bishops Lydeard, or a shuttle bus from Taunton. More details of times will be published shortly

We would also like to invite volunteers, staff & their guests to join us in the bar on Friday 2nd August 18.00 to 23.00. We have:

  • A great range of real ales, craft ciders and other drinks
  • Food available from our range of caterers
  • Free parking on site

The event is free, but we would like to know how many are coming. Our bar manager is anxious not to run out of beer! So please would you register for the free evening with Keith Sandford on admin@wsra.org.uk and let us know how many in your party.

We look forward to seeing you at the Rally

30 June 2019
Details kindly provided by Rally Team

Young musicians entertain on the Minehead Branch platforms

WSR

On 29 June 2019 the Railway hosted a visit by the High Park Community Music Group from Wiveliscombe. These talented youngsters visited several stations on the line and played impromptu concerts on the platforms. The trip was organised jointly by Catherine Dance, the Association's Community Engagement Officer, and Helen Anson, the Steam Trust's Learning Officer.

30 June 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Successful 'Vintage Diesels to the Seaside' event

WSR

Despite problems in the lead-up to the event the June Diesel Gala on the West Somerset Railway proved to be successful with plenty of passengers travelling and fares revenue exceeding the budget target by 10% with over 2,900 passengers. Sunny and pleasant weather added a nice note to the theme of 'Vintage Diesels to the Seaside'.

Axle loading restrictions between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead meant that early planned guest engines 'Peak' no 46010 and a Class 50 had to be cancelled and lighter substitutes found. These included Class 31 no. 97205 (31163) but sadly the 31 was declared failed before the June 20th - 22nd event and more work had to be done to find a substitute.

In the end the guests turned out to be a pair of Class 25s D7535 and D7612, courtesy of the South Devon Diesel Traction group, Class 37 D6948, courtesy of the Growler Group at Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Rly, and a pair of GBRf Class 73/1s 73107 and 73136.

These were joined by locos from the Williton based Diesel and Electric Preservation Group, with a particular high spot being the return to traffic of Class 35 'Hymek' no D7018 which returned to action after a gap of 24 years following a disastrous engine failure. It was joined by classmate no D7017, giving the rare sight and sound of a pair of these popular diesel hydraulics in action. Another pairing was Class 33s nos D6566 and D6575 with Class 14 no D9526 also working trains. The WSR Gala Planning Team would like to thank all the loco owners who helped to make the three days a success and also thank the owners of locos whose visit had to be cancelled for their understanding.

Another successful part of the event was the Beer and Cider Festival staged at the Washford museum and restoration base of the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust which was run and staffed by volunteers from the Somerset Branch of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale). Some 2000 pints were sold, with supplies running out on Saturday evening and the profits were added to the takings from the Gala days.

Together with the successful weekend of June 8th and 9th which marked the 40th anniversary of trains running between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead the June Special Events have made a most useful funding contribution towards the future of the WSR.

29 June 2019
Details kindly provided by the Gala Planning Team

News of the Peter Barnfield exhibition at Bishops Lydeard

WSR

Drawings, paintings and models by Peter Barnfield (1942-2018) at the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard Station on the West Somerset Railway from 13 to 28 July 2019. Open daily from 10am to 4pm. Admission free. Click or tap the button below for more information at www.peterbarnfield.co.uk

More information Download the poster Bishops Lydeard Station

28 June 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Target Taunton: an update on the current position

WSR

Chris Austin has kindly provided an update on the plans to introduce a shuttle between Taunton and the West Somerset Railway.

The West Somerset Railway has been successful in securing a grant of £60,000 from Great Western Railway's Customer and Communities Improvement Fund to provide connections between the heritage railway and the national rail network this summer.

After many years of planning and preparation, a regular link to the main line at Taunton is about to become a reality as the Exmoor Gateway project. The scheme is expected to run later in the summer and through the Autumn, with a service on Saturdays and Sundays between Bishops Lydeard and Taunton. Trains will be timed specifically to connect with steam trains to and from Minehead at Bishops Lydeard, Five return trips are planned for Saturdays and four for Sundays (the Sunday late morning slot on Platform 2 at Taunton is taken up by the Torbay Express.) Details are still being worked on with GWR, and an announcement will be made as soon as dates are confirmed.

Comprehensive data will be kept on passenger loadings to allow a judgement to be made on whether or not such a service could be run commercially in future years. A major communications campaign is planned to promote these services and to encourage new visitors to come to see the railway by public transport rather than by car.

GWR already offers through tickets to the WSR from its staffed stations, available for use on the 28 bus between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard, and these tickets will also be valid on the shuttle train. Alternatively, passengers will be able to buy tickets on the shuttle train to any station on the WSR.

Further details of this exciting development will be made widely available as soon as possible.

27 June 2019
Details kindly provided by Chris Austin

The latest WSR Journal has been issued

WSR

Members of the West Somerset Railway Association are now receiving their copy of the West Somerset Railway Journal number 165. The quality of design, print, photographs and written content seems to have reached new heights - congratulations and thanks to the editorial team. Membership is very reasonable - click the button below for details.

Membership

24 June 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

The 9351 Blog has been updated

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association has updated the blog detailing the final stages of the overhaul of the unique WSR 2-6-0 no 9351. Pictures show the loco standing in Williton's North Yard. Click the link below to load the Blog page.

The 9351 Blog

24 June 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

A sun-bathed sell-out success

WSR

From Somerset CAMRA:

This event was a sun-bathed sell-out success causing the Festival to close down three hours ahead of schedule, the 2000th and final pint being poured at 7pm on Saturday afternoon. We were delighted to serve many past customers of the erstwhile WSR/CAMRA Minehead festivals. Our hosts, the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust made us very welcome and arranged some spot-on entertainment. Some folk considered that we had managed to recreate the special atmosphere of those early Minehead events. We very much hope to have the opportunity to work together with the S&DRT again next year.

23 June 2019
Details kindly provided by Somerset CAMRA

Amended timetables for the 2019 Diesel Gala

WSR

Slight alterations to some afternoon timings to allow for the additional station calls of the midday limited stop services. The loco roster remains the same and is subject to availability/change for operational reasons.

Thu 20 June Fri 21 June Sat 22 June Sun 23 June

19 June 2019
Details kindly provided by the Gala Planning Team

Crompton no D6575 withdrawn from Diesel Gala

WSR

Martin Howard, Chairman, Diesel and Electric Preservation Group, writes:

We have a disappointing bit of news. One of our drivers has been taken ill and is currently in hospital recovering. We have not been able to get a replacement driver in the time available and as a result we have had to take the decision to withdraw Crompton no D6575 from the bulk of the Diesel Gala programme. We are naturally disappointed that one of our billed locomotive pairings will not now take place but we hope our visitors will understand the reason behind our decision. Our thoughts are with our driver and we wish him a speedy recovery back to full health.

19 June 2019
Details kindly provided by DEPG

Update on the Real Ale and Cider Festival

WSR

Barrie Childs, Chairman, CAMRA Somerset Branch, has provided a timely update.

The beer has all arrived on site and is racked ready to serve from tomorrow (Thursday 20 June). There have been a couple of last-minute changes to our line-up. Clcik or tap the button below to view the final confirmed list of 25 beers and 6 ciders.

There is no entry fee and beers/ciders are all priced £1.75 per half or £3.50 per pint.

The festival is open from midday to 8pm on Thursday, and midday to 10pm on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday and Saturday evening at 9pm a free bus will depart from Washford, calling at Watchet, Williton, Bishops Lydeard and Taunton Railway Station. Buses of Somerset route 28 towards Minehead departs just a few minutes later.

West Somerset Railway train services continue until 5.49pm towards Minehead and 6.09pm towards Bishops Lydeard each evening. These train departures will be announced at the bar in good time.

This information updates that to be found on www.somerset.camra.org.uk

We hope to see you there.

Updated list of beers and ciders Real Ale and Cider Festival Camra Somerset Branch

19 June 2019
Details kindly provided by Camra Somerset Branch

Evening bus service from the Real Ale and Cider Festival

WSR

The West Somerset Railway have announced:

On Friday 21 June and Saturday 22 June, Crosville Motors will be providing an evening bus service from Washford Station to coincide with our Washford Beer Festival and Diesel Gala. The Bus will depart Washford at 9pm and will drop off at Watchet, Williton, Bishops Lydeard and Taunton Railway Station. Those with tickets for travel on those dates will be permitted to travel on the bus free of charge.

Real Ale and Cider Festival

19 June 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The Steam Trust publish the Minutes of recent Board Meeting

WSR

The Minutes of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust Board Meeting held on 22 May 2019 have been published. These were approved as a correct record with one amendment to Minute 311:

The railway will be closed for possession purposes between Watchet and Minehead from October 2019 until March 2020 to undertake vital infrastructure improvement work. The exception to this would be during half term in February 2020 when the full line will be open to visitors. Scheduling of work in this way will enable the PLC to ensure that the line is fully operational for the 2020 season and particularly during the peak periods.

Download the Minutes

18 June 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Signalling project manager for crossing renewal

WSR

The Railway's Infrastructure Engineering Team say:

We're looking for a project manager to work on a level crossing renewal in Minehead over the next nine months. The planning stage will require one or two day per week, up to November when the job will require up to five days a week. This is a paid position for someone with signalling, level crossing, CDM and civil engineering experience. Please contact ieadmin@wsrail.net or call 01643 700400 (leave a message)

18 June 2019
Details kindly provided by WSR Plc

An update from the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group

WSR

The Diesel and Electric Preservation Group have issued an update:

Class 35 'Hymek' no D7018 is having final preparations for the Diesel Gala starting on Thursday 20 June 2019, marking a full return to revenue earning service over the event, a significant achievement and the culmination of years worth of work by the Group.

The Diesel Gala visitor line up is excellent including two visiting Class 25s from the South Devon Railway, two Class 73s courtesy of GBRF and the Class 37 from the GWR which has been on the Railway for a little while now on a welcome extended visit.

Click or tap the button below for the official WSR event page for the working timetables and loco allocations; and to buy tickets in advance. Also details of the very popular Real Ale and Cider Festival at Washford Station during the event thanks to the Somerset branch of CAMRA.

Our new 'Hymek D7018' booklet has just arrived in stock, straight off the press, and we will have plenty of copies for sale at £10 per copy starting from this weekend. The A4-sized booklet is a hefty 64 glossy pages and includes background information on the Hymeks as well as detail about the working life and restoration of D7018. We will have a sales stand on the Railway either at Minehead, Bishops Lydeard or Williton.

The 2019 Diesel Gala Real Ale and Cider Festival

18 June 2019
Details kindly provided by DEPG

The Gauge Junction Model Railway featured on YouTube video

WSR

Videographer Andy York has produced an informative video interview with Matt and James who are members of the thirty-strong volunteers who look after the Gauge Junction model railway which can be found at the Gauge Museum on Platform One at Bishops Lydeard Station. Click or tap the button below to watch the interview and find out more about this fabulous model railway.

Watch on YouTube

17 June 2019
Details kindly provided by the Gauge Museum Model Railway Team

The 2019 Steam and Vintage Rally - 3 and 4 August

WSR

Geoff Garfield, Chairman of the Rally Team, writes with great news about the 2019 Steam and Vintage Rally:

Tickets for the 2019 WSRA Steam and Vintage Vehicle Rally at Norton Fitzwarren are now available on the Rally website.

If you book in advance on www.steamrally.org.uk each ticket is valid for both days 3rd and 4th August, for the price of one day. Click or tap the button below for the online ticket page.

This year we are offering a new opportunity: cab rides in a diesel shunter, as well as steam-powered brake van rides. There will be all the usual favorites: steam road vehicles large and small, vintage cars, motorbikes, tractors, military vehicles, commercials, trade , craft and artisan food stands, refreshments, children's entertainments...

There will be a special train leaving Minehead for the Rally site at 9.30 each morning.

WSR ID card holders get in free, but for your friends and guests, why not book tickets now.

Online Ticket Page Full details

17 June 2019
Details kindly provided by The Rally Team

Travel by train to the Minehead Grand Prix

WSR

With entries from every corner of the UK already in excess of 500 for a weekend of spectacular cycle racing, the town centre at Minehead looks set for an exciting mid-summer sporting festival on 22 and 23rd June 2019. The West Somerset Railway is offering lots of trains to get folks to and from Minehead over the weekend. Use the links below for the train times.

Minehead Grand Prix Trains on 22 June Trains on 23 June

17 June 2019
Details kindly provided by local correspondents

D7018 due to return - a quarter of a century later

WSR

On Thursday 20 June 2019 Class 35 Hymek no D7018 will be working - subject to availability - part of the Diesel Gala diagram that includes the Quantock Belle dining car set. This is a piece of neat symmetry as the Class 35 was heading an evening Quantock Belle when it suffered the major engine failure which has kept it out of action for just short of a quarter of a century.

D7018 was built by Beyer Peacock at Gorton Foundry, Manchester and was completed on 18 January 1962 (ten days after D7017) and was initially allocated to Bristol Bath Road. It was withdrawn twelve years later and after purchase by the DEPG was originally based at the Great Western Railway Society depot at Didcot before moving to Williton.

The 2019 Diesel Gala

14 June 2019
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

'Tales of the West Somerset Railway' - a must for the bookshelf

WSR

Ginny Barnfield writes about the new book 'Tales of the West Somerset Railway' recently published by the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust and also reminds us of the huge volunteer effort made by the Barnfields all those years ago:

When you visit the WSR, look out for this fascinating account of volunteering by 29 of us who, 40 years ago, helped to make the railway the tremendous success it is today, Better by Miles, the strapline coined by Peter when we were responsible for the railway's publicity. It is indeed the longest heritage line in the country. Where else could you travel over 20 miles each way in a 14 coach train hauled by doubleheaded Manors? Yes, that was a very special 40th Anniversary occasion, a one-off, but on most days except during diesel galas you can expect steam haulage! Yes, of course I'm biased. Peter and I created Blue Anchor Railway Museum for GW150 in 1985 and most of our display work, photographs, captions etc., is still in evidence, to my surprise and delight. Open Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter to September. Do visit!

14 June 2019
Details kindly provided by Ginny Barnfield

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