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In memory of Roy Dunglison

WSR

On the Saturday before Easter, friends of Roy Dunglison met at Minehead Station and a Rowan tree was dedicated in his memory. Roy served many years on the West Somerset Railway and was the Station Master at Minehead for much of that time and he was the first Chairman of the Friends of Minehead Station.

19 April 2014
Details from local correspondent


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The first guest engines announced for the Autumn Steam Gala

WSR

The first three guest engines for the West Somerset Railway's Autumn Steam Gala has been announced by the WSR's Special Events Planning Team. The smallest of the three will be GWR 14xx no 1450 which will be joined by two other representative stalwarts of the Great Western and Western Region branch line network 'Small Prairies' nos 4566 and 5542. Home-based engines - nos 3850, 4160, 6960 and 7828 - will also feature plus GWR 4-6-0 no 4936 Kinlet Hall which is coming to the WSR for the main operating season and should be available. Other guests are being sought.

18 April 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR


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Group organisers offered pre-Christmas round trip opportunity

WSR

Although the Christmas Season is a long way off yet England's longest steam railway has plans in place for a pre-Yule outing. For coach and holiday companies and group travel organisers who will be in South West England in the four weeks leading-up to Christmas there is the opportunity to enjoy a twenty mile round trip on a steam train through the Somerset countryside with sherry and mince pie included as part of the journey. On 29, 30 November and 6, 7, 13, 14 December, the steam trains will leave Bishops Lydeard Station (just four miles from Taunton) at 10.10am, 12.20pm and 2.35pm for a round trip through the Quantock Hills to Williton and back. The round trip will take around ninety minutes and there is a licensed buffet car on the trains which are made up of steam-heated carriages dating from the 1950s. On 22 December, the specials operate between Minehead and Williton with departures at 10.30am, 12.45pm and 3pm. The fare on the trains is £13 per person and for more details and bookings please contact the Commercial Office via 01643 700384 or sam.com@wsrail.net.

18 April 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR


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Mike the Knight due at Minehead Railway Station on 3 May

WSR

The popular children's character Mike the Knight is making personal appearances at Minehead Railway Station, northern terminus of the West Somerset Railway on Saturday 3 May 2014. He will be meeting his friends on the platform at 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.40pm, 2pm and 3.15pm. Other attractions on the day include free face painting for the children and for all the family there will be free trips around Minehead on vintage buses. Admission to the station is free but the best way to come and see Mike and his friends will be by steam train from Bishops Lydeard, combining two magical attractions for the family day out. More information about the trains and the West Somerset Railway can be seen at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk or by ringing 01643 704996.

17 April 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR


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Spring into the Bishops Lydeard Station Railway and Gift Shop...

WSR

Following the winter refit the West Somerset Railway Association's shop at Bishops Lydeard Station now has one of the most comprehensive selection of railway books - from publishers large and small - in the region. Also now in are the 2014 Hornby, Bachmann, Dapol and Peco catalogues. In addition the Railway & Gift Shop at Bishops Lydeard Station stocks a wide range of other railway-related and transport titles covering trams, buses, aviation, shipping, military and local history. Why not call in - the Shop is open whenever trains are timetabled - or if looking for a particular publication ring 01823 432125.

13 April 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Association WSR
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The issue of Association membership cards...

WSR

For new membership applicants and for those renewing memberships, the West Somerset Railway Association is now recommending it may take up to 28 days to process the application. The Association has introduced a new system for membership cards and concessionary travel tokens, and some teething troubles were anticipated and communicated some time ago to members. As ordinary WSRA members, the folks at this website know that great efforts are being made to overcome the issues; hopefully other members and prospective members will be patient whilst the new system is tamed.

12 April 2014
Details gleaned, in part, from the website of West Somerset Railway Association WSR
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Special offers from local accommodation providers

WSR

Two of Exmoor's accommodation providers are offering packages to guests incorporating a day out on the West Somerset Railway as part of the attraction. The Rock Inn at Waterrow is promoting a West Somerset Railway Break which apart from the WSR includes a stay in one of their superior standard rooms and a three course meal. The price is £150 for a couple and for more information and bookings please contact Ruth on 01984 623293. Looking further ahead the Yarn Market Hotel in Dunster is running a Railways of Exmoor Weekend on 2 to 5 October. A three night half-board package it includes a full day at the WSR's Autumn Steam Gala and a coach trip to the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway including time in the twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth and a trip on the water-powered Victorian Cliff Railway which links them. For three nights (Thursday, Friday, Saturday), the cost is £300 per person, for two nights £225. Contact the hotel via 01643 821425 or hotel@yarnmarkethotel.co.uk.

10 April 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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Come along on 11 May 2014 to the Volunteer Information Day

WSR

Sunday 11 May 2014 is the next Volunteer Information Day on the West Somerset Railway. The day is for potential volunteers to find out more about volunteering roles on the West Somerset Railway; there is a wide range to choose from - many do not require previous railway experience - and full training is provided. Please telephone 01935 429032 or email volunteers@wsrail.net to book a place and for more information. More details...

10 April 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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Diesels in the South West theme for the Mixed Traction Weekend event

WSR

Fans of Western Region diesel hydraulic locomotives from early and mid-60s period of British Railways history will have a treat on the West Somerset Railway between Friday 6 June and Sunday 8 June. Once again there will be plenty of 'Maybach Music' to be heard in the Quantock Hills and along the Bristol Channel coast. To augment the home-based fleet of the Williton-based Diesel and Electric Preservation Group, two guests from the Diesel Traction Group are due to be at work, Warship class 42 no D821 Greyhound and Western class 52 no D1015 Western Champion. From the WSR residents it is planned to field Warship no D832 Onslaught, Westetn no D1010 Western Campaigner, Hymek no D7017 and Class 14 no D9526, plus Class 47/8 no D1661 North Star. First Great Western will operate a shuttle service between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard stations on Saturday 7 June with a separate fare payable on the FGW train. In a new venture for 2014 there will be a Friday night 'mega-train'. Two of the coaching rakes will be coupled together to form a 12 coach train leaving Bishops Lydeard at 5pm. It is intended that the train will be hauled by a single Warship in one direction and a single Western in the other. For full details of the event please click here.

4 April 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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Preparing for the very first Ladies Day...

WSR

The Railway is holding its first ever Ladies Day at Minehead Station on Saturday 10 May 2014. This will include a Fashion Show organised by Hobbs Woman of Minehead plus consultations, treatments including reflexology, manicures, sales stands and a pre-bookable posh afternoon tea. This is an entirely new venture for the West Somerset Railway and we don’t think any other heritage line has done anything similar. So why not come along and see for yourselves. For more about the Ladies Day event please click here.

4 April 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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Network Rail use Norton Triangle for testing high output ballast cleaners

WSR

The Norton Triangles were used on 2 April 2014 by Network Rail to test two refurbished high output ballast cleaners( HOBC). Class 66 no 66518 brought the two ballast cleaners and two types of tampers as one train to the West Somerset Railway's Norton Triangles to enable testing of the HOBC's hydraulic systems. The train was split into four units, with the tampers stabled at the very end of the Allerford Spur. The tampers later tidied up the test sites before the long train was re-assembled and headed back to Fairwater Yard. Another example of co-operation between Network Rail and the WSR making good use of the Triangles to the advantage of all parties.

4 April 2014
Details from local correspondent
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A successful Gala for the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

WSR

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust were fully involved in the Spring Gala, most notably at Blue Anchor, Williton and Bishops Lydeard. At Blue Anchor, the museum was open on all four days; on the Saturday and Sunday at Williton, stewards talked to people about the Heritage Carriages Project showing the progress being made on Collett BCK no 6705; at Bishops Lydeard, the GWR Sleeping Car was available for viewing on all four days and a good number of visitors were shown around; at the Gauge Museum, in keeping with the LSWR/SR Gala theme, the Trust arranged for a 2mm scale working model of Wadebridge Station, and a diorama of Okehampton to 4mm scale. These activities raised useful funds for the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust in general and the Heritage Carriages Project in particular. For full report by Claire Sheppy please see the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust website.

1 April 2014
Details from West Somerset Steam Railway Trust WSR
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Old comrades meet again on the West Somerset Railway

WSR

98 years after they were together in France during the Great War, two old comrades briefly met on the West Somerset Railway. GWR 2-6-0 no 5322 went to France during the First World War, and hauled ammunition trains from Calais to the main Allied depot at Audruicq which served the Western Front. At the weekend, during the Spring Steam Gala, whilst on every journey through Williton, the loco passed GWR Toplight no 3639 (under the green tarpaulin). No 3639 was converted to an ambulance coach in 1916 and also spent three years in France carrying wounded soldiers back from the front to Calais and to other ports and hospitals around Boulogne and Abbeville. So, two old comrades, next to each other, some 98 years after their military service abroad. Information and picture from Chris Austin of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust.

31 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Steam Railway Trust WSR
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Spring Steam Gala is a major success for West Somerset Railway

WSR

The West Somerset Railway enjoyed a very welcome success with its Spring Steam Gala held over the four days 27 to 30 March. 5,130 passengers travelled on the 20 miles of line between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead and fare revenues for this year's Spring Gala were higher than for the nine day Spring Steam Gala in 2013 by 19%. WSR General Manager Paul Conibeare commented "After a period of early season concern over passenger loadings and the general downturn in tourism business in the county as a whole, reflecting the inaccurate impression that we have all been flooded, it was great to see busy trains and people out and about enjoying themselves. As well as enthusiasts from all over the country, many of whom spent one or more nights with local accommodation providers, there was a good level of family business clearly visible particularly during the excellent spring weather on Saturday and Sunday." Nine steam engines in total featured in the event. Unfortunately one of the hired-in guests, SR Pacific no 34070 Manston suffered a failure on Friday morning which put it out of rest of the event and disrupted the timetable on that day but the remaining trio of visitors Nos 34007, 31806 and 5322 worked all their trains as intended alongside WSR residents nos 7828, 6960, 4160, 3850 and 88. On Friday and Saturday the small tank engine Kilmersdon operated "Driver for a Fiver" operations at Minehead Station. Retail operations and catering on the WSR also had a busy time and the staff of England's longest “heritage” railway are now looking forward to a busy Easter Holiday period and a successful remainder of 2014.

31 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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Helping families affected by flooding on the Somerset Levels

WSR

The West Somerset Railway - within the 96% of the county which was not flooded in the winter - is one of the organisations offering some relief to the unfortunate residents of the areas which did find themselves under water and coping with all the unpleasant after effects. Following an approach by Denise Sage of Porlock Tourist Information Centre the Railway is supplying a batch of family tickets to the FLAG appeal so that some of those affected by the flooding can enjoy a day out on England’s longest heritage line.

26 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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Limited car parking at Bishops Lydeard Station...

WSR

Visitors arriving by car for the Spring Steam Gala are advised that car parking at Bishops Lydeard Station will be limited as the waterlogged field normally used for overflow parking is not available. If the area enjoys a spell of dry weather between now and the weekend then some limited use of the field may be possible, but no guarantees. Other options for car-borne visitors are the council run pay and display car parks at Minehead and Watchet, and a very limited number of spaces at other WSR stations, except Doniford. Another option is to park in Taunton and use the Buses of Somerset Route 28 to Bishops Lydeard Station (half hourly on Thu, Fri, Sat, and hourly on Sun). For full details of the Spring Steam Gala please click here.

24 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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Along the line during the Spring Steam Gala...

WSR

Lots of things to see and do during the Spring Steam Gala - and the trains are ideal for getting to and from the attractions. Here are some ideas: the railway museums at Bishops Lydeard, Williton, Washford and Blue Anchor; model railways at Bishops Lydeard and Minehead; the Railway Literature Fair at Minehead; a curragh is being built at the Beach Hotel, opposite Minehead Station; and lots more besides. For more information please click here. For full details of the Spring Steam Gala please click here.

24 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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Tender conumdrum answered and update on Souvenir Programmes...

WSR

Tender conumdrum answered and update on Souvenir Programmes. John Simms, WSR's Publicity Officer writes "Some visitors to the WSR and linesiders have asked why the paint schemes for SR 4-6-2 no 34007 Wadebridge and the tender accompanying it during its visit to the WSR do not match. The answer is simple. The regular tender is under repair. Meanwhile the Souvenir Programmes for the Gala arrived from the printers this morning. Those ordered in advance went out in the afternoon post and the supplies for the stations will reach them as the 10.15am from Minehead makes its way along the line on Saturday morning. The price of the programme is £3 over the station counters." For full details of the Spring Steam Galaplease click here.

21 March 2014
Details via facebook from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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On the day before the fun starts...a fun day is promised

WSR

It is not technically a Gala day but Wednesday 26 March is shaping up to be a very interesting day with lots of steam haulage and a mixture of local and non-stop trains. Amongst the highlights, visiting engine SR 4-6-2 no 34007 Wadebridge will haul the 10.25am non-stopper from Minehead, whilst SDJR 2-8-0 no 88 heads a local stopper from Minehead to Williton and later runs light engine from Minehead to Washford. Meanwhile, GWR 4-6-0 no 7828 Odney Manor will work two return trips and GWR 4-6-0 no 6960 Raveningham Hall has a non-stop run from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard. Later, Peckett 0-4-0ST no 1788 Kilmersdon travels light engine from Washford to Minehead. More information about Wednesday 26 March can be found here and for full details of the Spring Steam Gala itself please click here.

17 March 2014
Details via facebook from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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A twelve coach train, fish and chips, real ale...

WSR

The West Somerset Railway has announced news of a rather special train due to run on the evening of Friday 6 June 2014 as part of the Mixed Traction Weekend. A twelve coach train will make a return trip over the Minehead Branch with passengers able to make the most of a real ale bar and also perhaps enjoy fish and chips. More details are promised soon. Diesel enthusiasts will be pleased with the confirmation to the Mixed Traction Weekend of visiting diesel hydraulic locos Class 42 Warship no D821 Greyhound and Class 52 Western no D1015 Western Champion.

16 March 2014
Details via facebook from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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Preparing for the Steam Rally at the Norton Fields...

WSR

Volunteers from the West Somerset Railway Association have been busy at the Norton Triangle in the last week. The small field near the platform has been enlarged slightly following the slight re-alignment of one of the ditches. Other ditches have been cleared. A gap has been created in the hedge near the platform as part of a project to lay a new stone-surfaced track from the platform to the main site; this will greatly improve the access to the site for Steam Rally visitors arriving by train. Elsewhere, improved fencing has been installed at the crossing near Orchard Junction. For more about the Steam Faye and Vintage Vehicle Rally please click here.

15 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Association WSR
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The Quantock Belle 2014 Programme now available...

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association has released full details of the Quantock Belle Dining Train programme for 2014. Start planning your special day out - visit the Quantock Belle page on the WSRA website or simply download the 2014 leaflet. Find out details of the Sunday Luncheon, the Saturday Dinner, the Christmas Specials and more, including new for 2014 the private hire and exclusive use of the superbly finished Hawksworth Saloon!

5 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Association WSR
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Views sought on how the Station Farm site is developed...

WSR

What's happening on the Station Farm site at Bishops Lydeard? The West Somerset Railway Plc has developed the layout for the operating sidings, and while Taylor Wimpey prepare to build the access road and boundary walls, the WSR Plc are seeking ideas for the rest of the site - see the aerial view for some early ideas. Please email BLideas@wsrail.net or write to BLideas, The West Somerset Railway, The Railway Station, Minehead TA24 5BG, or share your ideas with on the official Facebook or Twitter pages. More...

5 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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The Minehead Station toilet refurbishments completed...

WSR

The refurbishment of the toilets at Minehead Station was completed just in time for the first running weekend of the season on 15 February 2014. The Friends of Minehead Station, who funded the work, report in their latest newsletter "They now have a clean and fresh look which should be easily kept clean. One toilet in the Ladies is a Mother and Child toilet with two toilets, one of which has an additional child seat." For more about Minehead Station click here.

5 March 2014
Details from the Friends of Minehead Station
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No more blocks but plenty of roof slates to sponsor...

WSR

Tim Stanger of the Friends of Crowcombe Heathfield Station reports "Due to the fantastic response from everyone, we have now closed the sponsorship of the Sandstone Blocks appeal, but the good news is we have now launced the 'sponsor a roof slate' appeal at £5 per slate. As before there will be a drawing in the Waiting Room at the Station showing all the sponsors. We have been staggered by the generosity and goodwill from so many people, a number of which we have never heard of, so thank you all. We would be delighted to hear from anyone who wishes to make a general donation as well." For contact details click here.

2 March 2014
Details from Friends of Crowcombe Heathfield Station WSR
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Saloon available for exclusive use..

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association's Hawksworth Inspection Saloon, once used by the Taunton Area Engineer to travel his domain, is now available for private hire for a trip on the fabulous West Somerset Railway. Up to twenty people can have a fantastic day by hiring this exclusive carriage which will then be attached to the Quantock Belle first class dining train. Packages can include a buffet lunch and afternoon tea in luxurious surroundings whilst watching the Somerset countryside pass by. Call 01823 431311 for more details of available dates and options.

2 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Association WSR
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It was fifty years ago the Beatles came to town...

WSR

In March 1964 the relatively peaceful surroundings of Minehead railway station were shattered by the screams of hundreds of schoolchildren. Teachers at local schools gave in to demands for time off from the classroom and a large crowd of excited teenagers gathered by the railway tracks. And the reason for all this excitement? The Beatles were in town shooting scenes for their first movie "A Hard Day's Night" and no one was going to miss the chance to see their heroes! On the morning of 2 March 1964 a special charter train of 5 coaches trundled out of London's Paddington station heading for Minehead. Read the full story...

2 March 2014
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West Somerset Railway Commercial Manager moves on...

WSR

David McCubbin left the WSR Plc for his new career at Weston-super-Mare on Friday 28 February 2014. The WSR Plc's statement continues "Whilst the Company seeks to fill the large shoes he has left behind, Colin Howard, the Retail Manager, will be combining roles on a temporary basis. During his time with the West Somerset, David has overseen many important developments including great improvements to the website, a growing usage of social media and the adoption and introduction of new ideas and packages, culminating in the app." We at wsr.org.uk also wish David well with his new job.

1 March 2014
Details from West Somerset Railway Plc WSR
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