Ten years ago on 20 July 2007 for the first time for over thirty years regular trains began to run on and off the Minehead Branch with the start of the Butlins Express service between Bristol Temple Meads and Minehead. Here is a news item from that time:
Visitors to Butlins Minehead, or anyone heading for Exmoor this summer, can climb aboard the new Butlins Express service from Bristol Temple Meads to Minehead, for a relaxing start to their summer holiday or a great day out every Friday, Saturday and Monday. The service, which resumed on 20 July after a 30 year break, runs until the end of August and has been made possible thanks to a partnership between ECT Mainline Rail, Butlins Minehead, West Somerset Railway and Victa West Link Rail. ECT Mainline Rail is providing the locomotives, rolling stock and maintenance services and underwriting the costs of providing the service. Butlins are supporting the service and promoting it to their guests as an ideal way to start their holiday. West Somerset Railway (WSR) is providing train stabling, use of the West Somerset line and stations and on train ticketing staff. Victa Westlink Rail is the train operating company (TOC) which operates the service over the WSR and Network Rail lines. Up till now Butlins guests and visitors to the area, wanting to use public transport had to rely on buses from Taunton. Now they will have an opportunity to travel through the beautiful Somerset countryside, on an air conditioned diesel hauled train service utilising topped and tailed Class 31 locomotives and Mk2 coaches stopping at stations beautifully restored by West Somerset Railway. 'We are delighted to be able to work with Victa West Link Rail, Butlins and West Somerset Railway to re-open this service as a gateway by rail to Exmoor. Not only will passengers be able to have a relaxing start to their holiday, but they will be able to do their bit for the environment, by letting the train take the strain.' says Martin Sargent ECT's Mainline Rail Director.
For a variety of reasons this particular service has not run since 2007.
20 July 2017
Details originally provided by West Somerset Railway Plc