An unofficial website featuring the West Somerset Railway

Latest news

Turntable Cafe open during Dunster by Candlelight evenings

WSR

Just to let everyone know the Turntable Cafe at Minehead Station will be open at 4.00pm on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th December for Dunster by Candlelight. We will be serving pork and stuffing baps, soup, mulled wine and mince pies. Also our wonderful choices of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and various cakes. All available to take away or have in. Look forward to seeing you all.

5 December 2019
Details gleaned from Facebook page of the Turntable Cafe

James Pearson nominated for HRA Award

WSR

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust Board have nominated James Pearson as the Trust's young representative for this year's Lord Faulkner Award hosted by the Heritage Railways Association for 'significant achievement' to Heritage Railways by a young person under the age of 26. The Trust add:

Joining the Gauge Junction team in January 2016, James quickly discovered his talent for scenic creation and has completed much of the current scenery enjoyed on our model layout. James has made a very valuable contribution to our efforts as a team. In the Autumn of 2017 James was awarded the Young Tracker of the Year Award by the WSR. Our best wishes to James and hope that you make it through to win at the finals held in Birmingham February 2020.

2 December 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

End of season message from the WSR Plc Chairman

WSR

Jon Jones-Pratt, Chairman of WSR Plc, has issued an end of season message to all who work on the Railway. Click or tap the button below to read the full message. Of special note is Jon's penultimate paragragh:

I am so impressed by what you all have individually done to get the railway to this stage, and how we have collectively overcome the obstacles we faced. The West Somerset Railway is alive and very much kicking. I am so proud to be part of this railway. Thank you again for all you have done this year. I hope like me you can now look forward with real hope to 2020.

Chairman's message in full

1 December 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

GWR letter rack arrives at Gauge Museum

WSR

A set of GWR letter boxes from Taunton Station is now safely preserved in the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard Station. Beautifully made, they were part of the internal mail system run by GWR and later BR, which closed on completion of privatisation in 1997.

29 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Overhaul of accessible coach Lorna Doone is complete

WSR

The overhaul of the Railway's wheelchair-accessible coach no W80736 Lorna Doone - boosted by a £10000 donation from the Friends of Minehead Station (FoMS) - has been completed thanks to the splendid work of the staff at West Somerset Restoration based at Williton. No W80736 has been returned to Minehead awaiting its 'fitness to run' examination. Meanwhile the coach will be in use during the Christmas Market at Minehead Station on 30 November 2019 hopefully housing a FoMS display for visitors to view including the new plaque showing FoMS involvement in the overhaul.

29 November 2019
Details kindly provided by Friends of Minehead Station

Timetables and loco allocations for Winter Steam Festival

WSR

The Railway say:

We are publishing the loco rosters online for this gala. See buttons below. This is a new timetable, with a few extra trains and some extra spice added. Four engines are diagrammed to be used. The early start will mean some staff being on duty very early or indeed all night so please support us and make their efforts worthwhile.

Sunday 29 December Monday 30 December

26 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Revelations at the Gauge Museum

WSR

Refurbishment work at the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard has revealed the two doors at the Minehead end of the shed. These allowed unloaded wagons to be moved through to a short holding siding (where the Taunton Model Railway Group is today) to allow other wagons to be brought into the shed. The doors will be a feature of the new National Lottery Heritage Fund supported museum display. Somewhere underneath the floor is the original track!

26 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Train times for 2020 now on official WSR website

WSR

The WSR Plc have published the train times for 2020 on the official WSR website along with a list of special events for next year. Times for the latter will be published nearer the date.

Trains times for 2020

24 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Stogumber Station Christmas Cards now available

WSR

Stogumber Station has just taken delivery of a new batch of 500 Christmas cards and they can be obtained directly from the Friends of Stogumber Station treasurer via the Station website. Ten cards and envelopes for £10 including postage.

Stogumber Station website

22 November 2019
Details kindly provided by Stogumber Station

Steam Trust volunteer receives British Museum Marsh Award

WSR

A rather nice news item from the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust's website:

On 19 November 2019, during a meeting of the Museum HLF Project Group, our Trust Chairman Chris Austin presented a certificate awarded by the British Museum, Marsh Award to Trust member Matthew Sutton for his 'highly commended voluntary contribution to 'Museum Learning'. Matthew is a Senior Operator and Training Officer at Gauge Junction as well as being a member of the HLF Project Group and serving on the Volunteer Steering Committee. A great deal of his work is on the administration side of the operation which does not attract public attention but is a very vital part of our activities. Well done Matthew in obtaining a National Award and also to the Trust for the efforts made to encourage and support young volunteers within our activities.

Steam Trust website

21 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Trackworks well underway along the line

WSR

The folks from WSR's Infrastructure Engineering team have posted an update on their Facebook page. The pictures are now on this website's Latest Pictures page. Here's what they say:

Many thanks to all those who have generously contributed to our track renewal fund this year. (see https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/railrenewal2019 or click the button below)

Our winter works engineering programme started on 4th November. The donations have allowed us to plan track renewals at Doniford, Watchet and Minehead. Ways to get involved:

  • Track renewals - Sunday to Thursday meeting at Bishops Lydeard
  • Washford Bank ground works and drains - TBC starting January. Based at Washford
  • Tidy Train - starting in February
  • Cutting Back gang - second weekend each month at the south end of the line
  • Donations are still welcome

Donate online

20 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The 2020 train times now available online

WSR

With kind permission of WSR Plc, the train times for 2020 are now available online on this website. Times for special events will be published nearer the date.

Trains times for 2020

19 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Vintage Trains railtour to Minehead in May 2020

WSR

Vintage Trains have announced a steam hauled railtour from the Birmingham area to Minehead on 30 May 2020:

Hauled by our flagship steam locomotive Clun Castle, we pick up at Dorridge, Solihull and Birmingham Moor Street before heading south along the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway and on to Cheltenham and Bristol. After a brief stop, we continue towards Taunton, turning onto the preserved West Somerset Railway (WSR). At Bishops Lydeard, we swap Clun Castle for a WSR preserved steam loco before continuing on to Minehead, setting down at Blue Anchor on the way. After nearly 3 hours in Minehead, our return journey retraces our steps.

Full details and booking

18 November 2019
Details gleaned from website of Vintage Trains

The Rail Renewal Fund passes the halfway point

WSR

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust have received a large donation towards the 2019 Rail Renewal appeal, that takes the total over the half way point. Together 51% has so far been raised of the targeted £250,000 for this winter's track works. Work has already begun on the Doniford section of the track and will continue over the winter period.

Full story West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Donate online

18 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

Latest WSR Association Board Meeting documents published

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association have published the agreed Minutes of the Board Meeting of 14 October 2019 and a synopsis of the more recent Board Meeting held on 11 November 2019. Click or tap the buttons below to load the documents from the Association's website.

Minutes Synopsis

15 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

Online tickets now available for 2020 Spring Steam Gala

WSR

Following the announcement of BR 9F 2-10-0 no 92134 as the first guest locomotive for the return of the WSR's 2020 Spring Steam Gala, discounted tickets for the event are now on sale from www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk (click the button below) or via 01643 704996. Why not treat yourself to an early Christmas present -- or drop a few hints about your plans for next year?

Official online tickets page

12 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

A fine effort by the volunteer Carriage Cleaning Gang

WSR

Volunteer Aaron Manley writes:

The Carriage Cleaning Gang at Minehead today. A great time and fun had by all. Cleaning will be every Saturday and Wednesday though November. Contact Simon Ball if you're able to help out - contact details on the internal document recently made available to all staff.

9 November 2019
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

First guest loco announced for the 2020 Spring Steam Gala

WSR

The WSR Gala Planning Team is delighted to be able to announce the first guest loco for the big 2020 Spring Steam Gala, the popular event returning after a year’s absence in 2019. The four-day gala will be held between Thursday 23 April and Sunday 26 April 2020.

The loco is newly restored BR Std 9F 2-10-0 no 92134, the only surviving single chimney member of the once 250 strong class. Agreement has been reached with the loco owners and North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where the loco is based, for the 9F to make this first visit away from its base to the WSR.

The Gala Planning Team are now working on other guest locos and the overall gala plan and more information will be published as these become finalised. Tickets are now available.

Official online tickets page

7 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Opening times for Bishops Lydeard Station Shop and Cafe

WSR

Kate Beard has kindly provided details of the following opening times over the remainder of 2019 for the Bishops Lydeard Station Shop and Cafe:

  • Saturday 9th November – 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Saturday 16th November - 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Saturday 23rd November - 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Saturday 30th November – 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Sunday 1st December - 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Friday 6th December – 3.00 to 5.30 pm (Shop and Hot Drinks) 1
  • Saturday 7th December – 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only) 1
  • Sunday 8th December - 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only) 1
  • Monday 9th December – 5.30 pm to 7.00 pm (Shop and Hot Drinks) 2
  • Tuesday 10th December - 5.30 pm to 7.00 pm (Shop and Hot Drinks) 2
  • Saturday 14th December – 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Sunday 15th - December – 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Saturday 21st - December – 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Sunday 22nd - December – 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Monday 23rd – 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (Shop only)
  • Tuesday 24th – 9.30 am to 11.00 am (Shop only)
  • Friday 27th December – 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (Shop and Café)
  • Saturday 28th December – 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (Shop and Café)
  • Sunday 29th December – 9.30 am to 5.00 pm (Shop and Café) 3
  • Monday 30th December – 9.30 am to 5.00 pm (Shop and Café) 3
  • Tuesday 31st December – 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (Shop and Café)
  • Wednesday 1st January 2020 – 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (Shop and Café)

Notes:
1 Dunster by Candlelight
2 Carol Train
3 Winter Steam Festival

Also, please note that, unlike previous years, the Station Shop and Café will not be open while 'Santa's Winter Wonderland' and 'Whistletoe and Wine' trains are operating due to restricted access to the station platforms.

Official Station Shop webpage 2019 Festive Services

6 November 2019
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

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