Latest news

Small Locomotive Weekend at Washford Station 28-29 May 2017

Come and see Peckett 0-4-0ST no 1788 Kilmersdon and Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST no 1219 (ex-Caledonia Works) working together for the first time in the yard at Washford Station on the West Somerset Railway, along with the superbly restored six-wheeled SDJR First Class Coach 4 and freshly outshopped WR Fruit D van no W3450 and the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust's wonderful collection of wagons. Another 'must see' is the Trust's fine museum featuring the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. The Trust shop will be open. Tea, coffee and light refreshments at the Station or the Washford Inn next door. All happening at Washford Station on Sunday 28 May and Monday 29 May. See the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust website for more information.

22 May 2017
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

The 6695 Locomotive Group Boiler Fund Appeal

The 6695 Loco Group have provided a brief update:

The heavy overhaul of ex GWR 0-6-2T no 6695 is proceeding well at Williton, such that we anticipate the mechanical work to be largely complete later this year. Focus must now turn to the boiler and, following further recent assessments, we now have a clearer idea of the work required to put this back into steamable condition for (hopefully) a further ten year stint.

Following the recent announcement of a long term agreement for 6695 to operate on the West Somerset Railway we have agreed a possible timescale for completion of the overhaul in readiness for the main 2019 season. However, this largely depends upon how things progress with the boiler and there can be no guarantee on such date. A Boiler Fund Appeal was launched earlier this year by the 6695 Locomotive Group to raise £100,000 to assist in funding the work required.

For more information please click here.

22 May 2017
Details kindly provided by 6695 Loco Group

Quantock Belle news - Murder Mystery Special and Diesel Gala

The Railway's next Murder Mystery Special will run on the evening of 27 May 2017 on the theme of 'The Last Connection!'. The Quantock Belle dining cars will form part of the train - see the menu. For more details and to book please click here.

And next month, the Quantock Belle dining cars will run on certain trains during the WSR's Diesel Gala on 9, 10, 11 June 2017 - please see the breakfast, lunch and afternoon menus.

20 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Brief visit by Flying Scotsman in late May

The world famous Flying Scotsman locomotive will be touching base at Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway on Tuesday 23 May 2017 and Friday 26 May 2017 hauling a charter train. The charter train has been organised and promoted by Steam Dreams. Tickets for the excursion have already sold out. The charter is scheduled to go from Bishops Lydeard on a round trip via Bristol, Bath and Westbury. Please note, Flying Scotsman will not be travelling to or from Minehead on these dates.

For further information about the track improvement work, access to Bishops Lydeard Station, and the September visit of Flying Scotsman, please see the recent press release from WSR Plc.

20 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Steam Trust presses on despite lottery setback

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust submitted a proposal to the Heritage Lottery Fund in March to improve the displays at the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard and to instal interactive interpretation displays designed to attract younger visitors. The HLF have advised the Trust that their application has been declined. Trust Chairman, Chris Austin, said:

This is a disappointing response, given the imaginative proposals to engage with young people and to interpret the heritage of the railway more effectively for our visitors. A lot of work went into the application, including external advice, and we are grateful for the support we received from local authorities and other parts of the railway family.

We are all volunteers and depend on donations to make improvements. Despite this setback, we will continue to develop the museum as we have done since we took over in January, although we will not be able to do so as quickly, nor do we have the resources to engage with local schools as we had hoped to do. We will continue to seek for other sources of funding for the future.

For the full statement please see the Trust website.

14 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Going green - new life in Devon for ex-SR platform benches

The former Southern Railway benches - acquired from the West Somerset Railway - have all been restored and painted this spring at Chelfham by volunteers of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. The first completed bench is now in place on the down platform and seemingly well used by the work parties for lunch and tea breaks. See the pictures on the L&BR website.

14 May 2017
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

The final Promenade fence panel now in place

The Friends of Minehead Station report completion of the fence at the Promenade end of the station.

Just in time for the Antiques Roadshow the final small piece of the front fence at Minehead has been installed completing a project for which Friends of Minehead Station funds were initially set aside as long ago as October 2009 but which was much delayed due to ongoing discussions with the planning authorities.

13 May 2017
Details kindly provided by Friends of Minehead Station

Maybach Memories for 20 May is cancelled...

The WSR Plc have confirmed:

Due to operational reasons we unfortunately will not be having Maybach Memories on 20th May as previously advertised. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Please keep an eye on our website for more details. Thank you all for your continued support and don't forget The Diesel Gala and Rail Ale Trail will be taking place on 9th - 11th June. Tickets are on sale now from our website or over the phone.

The Railway plan to run the Maybach Memories service on 25 June as advertised.

12 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Timetable changes for 13 May 2017

West Somerset Railway Plc have announced a few changes to the train timetable for 13 May 2017:

For operational reasons the timetable for 13th May has been altered slightly, and will now run as it appears on our website for this day. The major changes are with the services in the afternoon from Minehead where the 14.30 becomes the 14.55 and the 15.30 becomes the 15.45. We apologise for any inconvenience and hope visitors to us have an amazing day. The timetable for the 13th May can be found here

11 May 2017
Details gleaned from official website of West Somerset Railway Plc

Western haulage confirmed for Somerset Explorer special on WSR

Update: West Somerset Railway Plc and the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group now confirm, subject to availability, Class 52 Western no D1010 Western Campaigner will, as recently announced, head the WSR leg of the GWR's Somerset Explorer London-Minehead HST special on Saturday 13 May 2017. The GWR HST will operate to Bishops Lydeard, where passengers will change to a special WSR service headed by Western Campaigner for the return trip to Minehead before rejoining the HST at Bishops Lydeard for the run back to London.

Tickets are available for the Somerset Explorer. Join in this Saturday for a special charity event in aid of Weston Hospicecare.

9 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Update on planned diesel haulage for Maybach Memories

West Somerset Railway Plc advise a problem with Class 52 'Western' class no D1010 Western Campaigner during service on Saturday 6 May led to its replacement. This loco is rostered to work the same diagram, starting with the 11.50am from Bishops Lydeard, on Sunday 7 May and it is hoped that will be the case but Class 33 no D6575 may take its place. The owners of D1010, the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group (DEPG) have also provided an update:

We are sorry to report that D1010 failed today (Sat 6th) at Williton with an electrical fault which caused flat batteries. D7017 also failed today when we attempted to get it working due to an exhauster problem. At the time of writing the team at Williton are trying to fix both locos so that one of the two should be available to work the Maybach Memories train tomorrow (Sunday). Please accept our sincere apologies for this, unfortunately these things happen and the team are busy trying to fix the locos as quickly as possible in time for tomorrow.

Update: 9pm 6 May D1010 has been fixed for running tomorrow. D7017 also repaired.

More information about Maybach Memories

6 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Advance tickets for Steam Rally now available online

Tickets for the 2017 event are now available to purchase online. As last year, these are 'print-your-own' tickets. After purchase, just print the tickets and bring the paper copy along to the Rally gate in the day. A quick scan of the paper copy and once validated, the Rally awaits you. And remember, tickets purchased online are valid for both days of the Rally weekend. Why not take a look at the Steam Rally Tickets page. Day tickets can also be bought at the Rally gate.

6 May 2017
Details kindly provided by the Committee of the Steam Fayre and Vintage Vehicle Rally

The West Somerset Railway Locomotive Restoration Fund

The West Somerset Railway Plc and West Somerset Railway Association have together announced a funding initiative designed to see three GWR steam locomotives restored to full working order for use on the Minehead Branch.

The West Somerset Railway Locomotive Restoration Fund is a new appeal centred on the long term security of ex-GWR locomotives operating on the WSR, through the provision of three locomotives - Large Prairie no 4110, owned by the WSR Plc, and two locomotives owned by the WSRA, Small Prairie no 4561 and Manor Class no 7821 Ditcheat Manor.

John Irven, Chair of WSR Plc, and Paul Whitehouse, Chair of WSRA, said:

Running two separate fund raising exercises for the locomotives makes little sense to us. We have concluded that all three locomotives should now be covered by the same fund raising programme. It will be led by the Association, which as a charity can benefit from gift aid where appropriate, with funding disbursed on a phased basis as the work takes place. The first phase will focus on finishing the restoration of 4561, with the Plc also starting work on 4110.

6 May 2017
Details gleaned from West Somerset Railway Association website

Nearly 10,000 tickets sold for Flying Scotsman services

Colin Howard, WSR's Head of Commercial Services, writes:

The WSR Plc is pleased to announce that it has now sold all its current allocation of tickets - totalling 9,964 seats - on its Flying Scotsman services in September 2017. We will shortly be releasing details of our evening trains, including dining options and these will be announced on our website and through the usual media.

And Frank Courtney, WSR's Project Manager, adds:

All places on the two Flying Scotsman runs for school-children have also been taken up by local schools, with great enthusiasm.

5 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

WSR's Classic Car Run is only a month away

The West Somerset Railway's annual Classic Car Run will be held on Sunday 4 June this year and entries have been coming in. The well-established pattern from previous years will be repeated with cars gathering at Bishops Lydeard Station near Taunton from 9am and setting off at 11am for a 35 mile run to Minehead. The route will take in some stunning West Somerset scenery, little-known by-ways, and medieval villages and towns, looping around the West Somerset Railway's stations and ending at Minehead where reserved parking will be available alongside the Station close to the town and the beach. Spectators can see the cars gather at Bishops Lydeard and then take the 10.20am steam service from Bishops Lydeard to get ahead of the cars and watch them pass one of the WSR's nine stations. Run organiser and WSR volunteer Robin White said:

The run has been growing in popularity over past years as word has got out there what a fun day out it is for both the participants and visitors to the Railway. The combination of stunning classic cars, West Somerset scenery and our wonderful steam trains makes for a great spectacle. This year we already have over 50 entries from 1920s Austins and Morrises, to MGs from the 1970s. We have space for up to 100 cars, so there is still time to enter.

Full details including contact information.

5 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Antiques Roadshow coming to Minehead Station on 17 May

It is time to dust off your treasures for a great day out as BBC One's ever popular programme Antiques Roadshow comes to the West Somerset Railway at Minehead Railway Station on Wednesday 17 May 2017. The Railway have issued an update:

The doors open at 9.30am and close at 4.30pm. Entry to the show at Minehead station is free, everyone is welcome, and no tickets or pre-registration is required to access the station. If you would like to travel to the event by train from Bishops Lydeard, we have limited space on a free diesel service specifically for those visiting Antiques Roadshow at Minehead. The diesel service will be leaving Bishops Lydeard at 9.30am and at 1.25pm. Tickets are issued on a first come first served basis. To request a free ticket please contact us direct on 01643 700382 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Once all free tickets have been issued for our diesel services, tickets will be available to purchase for the day through our website at a discounted rate.

Read the full update about the Antiques Roadshow at Minehead Railway Station.

5 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Heritage hydraulic haulage for Somerset Explorer special on WSR

A recent email from GWR to passengers booked on the GWR's Somerset Explorer HST special from London to Minehead suggests:

Due to operational reasons, we can no longer run our HST all the way to Minehead on Saturday 13th May as originally planned. This has resulted in a change to some of the planned itinerary for your journey with our special charter on the 13th May. Whilst we appreciate the alteration to the original journey planned for Minehead, we believe the new offering will still deliver a unique experience on the 13th May for all involved.

The revised plan will see the GWR HST operate as booked to Bishops Lydeard. There, passengers will change to the Somerset Campaigner, a special WSR service headed by a classic Western Region diesel hydraulic locomotive Class 52 Western no D1010 Western Campaigner for the trip to Minehead and back. Update 8 May now to be headed by Class 47 no D1661 North Star.

5 May 2017
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

Maybach Memories this weekend with classic Western diesel loco

The West Somerset Railway and the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group are pleased to announce agreement to operate an additional eleven heritage diesel hydraulic locomotive hauled trains during the 2017 season. These trains will run under the brand name of 'Maybach Memories' in recognition that it was forty years ago the last Western Region Maybach powered diesel hydraulic locomotives ran on British Rail. The season of 'Maybach Memories' gets under way this weekend, 6 and 7 May 2017.

More information

4 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

WSRA Trustee nomination forms for 2017 AGM

The West Somerset Railway Association have announced:

The Trustees wish to remind all WSRA members that the date for the 2017 AGM is 30 September. Nomination forms for new trustees are now available and members are encouraged to consider whether they or someone they know has the skills, experience and qualifications needed to guide the WSRA through the next phase of growth and development.

More information

3 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

Special offers for WSR employees and volunteers

The West Somerset Railway Plc have asked us to draw attention to the following:

West Somerset Railway Employees and Volunteers: you can now take advantage of some special offers which your management team have negotiated especially for you to show how much they value your contribution to the West Somerset Railway.

More information

3 May 2017
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Successful model railway sale at Watchet Railway Station

The Friends of Watchet Station write:

Watchet Model Railway Sale last Saturday 29 April - a massive thank you from all of us at Watchet Station to everybody who donated model railway equipment and everyone who visited us. Big thanks to David Leusby from Yeovil and Rob Greenslade who helped with the sale and Steve Sutherland who organised the event and collected the donations.This was our best sale yet. Next sale Saturday 7 October 2017.

2 May 2017
Details kindly provided by Friends of Watchet Station