Latest news

Floral display wrecked following theft of plants at Bishops Lydeard

The floral displays are much admired by visitors to Bishops Lydeard Station on the West Somerset Railway. Sadly, a thief has stolen 19 mature plants, all top quality from Bower Flowers of Bridgwater, from the famous and much photographed 'train' feature created by Head Gardener Clive Goddard and his team. The theft took place over the weekend and we understand it may be possible to identify the culprit. Meantime the gardening team are working hard to re-arrange plants to ensure visitors can continue to enjoy the wonderful floral display.

Update 1 July 2016: The Head Gardener reports the display is back to its glorious state thanks to the hard work of the gardening team and donations from well-wishers.

29 June 2016
Details kindly provided by local corrspondent

From London to West Somerset behind 'Lizzie' in August

Steam Dreams announce an excursion from London to West Somerset on 23 August 2016. Steam express locomotive LMS 4-6-2 no 6201 Princess Elizabeth is rostered (subject to the usual caveats). The special departs form London Victoria and calls at Hounslow, Virginia Water, Ascot, Reading, Newbury Racecourse and Castle Cary, then non-stop to the West Somerset Railway. For full information please visit the Steam Dreams website.

28 June 2016
Details kindly provided by Steam Dreams External link

News from the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust

News from the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust:

Mike Beale is giving two talks about the Somerset and Dorset this weekend. On Friday July 1st he will present 'The Legacy of the S&D' at the Village Hall, Burtle Road, Burtle, Bridgwater, TA7 8NB. Steph Gillett will also be signing copies of 'The Somerset and Dorset Railway Through Time' Start time is 7.30pm. Then on Saturday 2nd Mike will talk on 'The End of the Line' at The Hub, Station Road, Stalbridge , DT10 2RG at 10.30am. All are welcome to come along to either event.

28 June 2016
Details kindly provided by the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust External link

A new Station Master for Crowcombe Heathfield Station

From a news item on the Friends of Crowcombe Heathfield Station website:

Following the resignation of Station Master David Bartin this week, Station Co-ordinator Lesley Farthing advises that she has appointed Deputy Station Master Geoff Cross as Acting Station Master.

28 June 2016
Details gleaned from the Friends of Crowcombe Heathfield Station External link

The day 98 children and staff made a trip by train to the seaside

On Tuesday 21 June 2016, local schoolchildren enjoyed a day out on the WSR when a trip by train was arranged for 98 children and staff from Crowcombe & Stogumber CofE Primary Schools. The group enjoyed a sandcastle competition on the beach with ice lollies. The trip from Stogumber to Minehead and back was sponsored by Butlins and the WSR's Andy Norman, John Williams and Angie Scutt (who, along with Steve Bailey) had visited the schools to explain their railway jobs, were on hand to answer the many questions raised by the children who clearly had an enjoyable day of fun and education.

This lovely story comes courtesy of Julie Norman, Headteacher for Crowcombe & Stogumber CofE Primary Schools, via the WSR's Robin White.

25 June 2016
Details kindly provided by local correspondents

The Wednesday Quantock Belle midweek lunch train

Just a few seats left on the Quantock Belle midweek lunch train on Wednesday 29 June 2016, due to be attached to the service train leaving Bishops Lydeard at 12.35pm, steam hauled, and arriving in Minehead at 1.52pm.

A set menu is offered (see below) and must to be booked in advance (vegetarian alternatives are available). To book please contact the admin office on 01823 433856, Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to 5.00pm, or email admin@wsra.org.uk. Ticket price is £42.00 per person inclusive of travel and meals. An at-table bar service will be offered.

  • Starter: Chicken Liver Pate with toast and side salad or Orange Juice
  • Main: Steak, mushroom & ale pudding served with new potatoes and fresh veg selection
  • Dessert: Strawberry Cheesecake

The Quantock Belle will depart Minehead at 2:25pm and passengers may either return with the train and enjoy a small afternoon tea on the way, or maybe spend some time in Minehead before making the return trip on the service trains leaving Minehead at 3.25pm or 4.20pm.

23 June 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

The Fat Controller needs your help at Minehead Station

The Fat Controller needs your help at Minehead Station on 1st, 2nd and 3rd July. Travel down in a train behind one of Thomas's friends, from Bishops Lydeard (near Taunton) to Minehead.

On the train there will be extra staff to answer your questions and point out interesting facts whilst the on-board Day Out With Thomas colouring activities take place. During your journey you will pass the engine works at Williton and you will get to see trucks being shunted at Minehead Station.

Thomas and his Friends will be at Minehead Station and the Fat Controller will be there to make sure that all engines are being 'really useful'. The Fat Controller needs your help to keep Thomas, Daisy the Diesel and many others running on time. There will be lots of activities taking place here, including free face painting, games and Thomas DVD screenings.

Book your tickets now!

19 June 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

A new manager for the Quantock Belle Dining Train

The WSRA Promotions Board are pleased to announce that...

Barrie Childs has been appointed Quantock Belle Manager. Barrie first started working with the Quantock Belle team in 1994 and has gained valuable experience along the way. Barrie will work alongside the current manager Richard Knight who after many years of loyal service will relinquish some of the more onerous tasks but continue to work alongside Barrie as Deputy Manager.

The Quantock Belle was active during the recent Mixed Traction weekend serving Full English Breakfasts and hot lunches to hungry passengers. This was a very successful enterprise which we hope to continue at future Galas.

Another new venture was the Wednesday lunch yesterday, served on the 12:35 service train from Bishops Lydeard. Devised in collaboration with the WSR Plc this event is designed to be flexible and give customers choices. Pre-booking is advisable but walk-on seats are available if there are any vacancies. Passengers can either return with the tran, leaving Minehead at 14:20 or stay longer and return on a later service train. Likewise walk-ons are welcome on the return trip where afternoon tea is served. This Wednesday lunch service will be repeated on 29th June and there are currently about 12 available seats. For menu details see our Quantock Belle page.

18 June 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

Take a return trip from Taunton to Minehead with GWR this Sunday

An invitation from GWR to join the 'WSR Away Day' product launch charter on Sunday 19 June 2016. GWR say:

Running from Taunton to Minehead and return, you will get the chance to sample the longest preserved ine in the country from one of our green Class 150s.

The trip will include a launch party on arrival at Minehead with special guests in attendance and an on-board trolley service with proceeds going to charity. On the return, subject to conditions on the day, there will be a visit to the start of the former Taunton to Barnstaple branch at Norton Fitzwarren.

The special leaves Taunton at 11.15am, Bishops Lydeard at 11.35am, then arriving Minehead at 12.55pm. The return leaves Minehead at 3.15pm, Bishops Lydeard at 4.30pm, arriving back in Taunton at 5.05pm. (Kindly note the revised time of departure from Minehead from that shown on previous news items)

Etickets, available at £25.99 per person, are available to buy at wsrawayday.eventbrite.co.uk

17 June 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

New through ticket from GWR to West Somerset Railway

GWR has today launched an all-in-one ticket enabling passengers to explore the West Somerset Railway, with GWR rail and a local bus service fares included.

Instead of customers having to purchase separate GWR rail, Buses of Somerset, and West Somerset Rail tickets, a single through ticket is now available, offering unlimited travel on England's longest heritage railway for the day.

Supported by Visit Somerset and local traders, the ticket will allow customers unlimited access on the West Somerset Railway which operates between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead; return travel on the bus link between Bishops Lydeard and Taunton; and return travel on Taunton bound GWR rail services.

Full press release

16 June 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

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