Latest news

A Head of Mechanical Engineering is sought by the WSR Plc

The West Somerset Railway has succeeded in delivering some of the most challenging restorations completed by any heritage railway and to build on this expertise, is recruiting for the role of Head of Mechanical Engineering.

The Head of Mechanical Engineering is a member of our senior management team and reports to the General Manager. We offer a competitive salary with a non-contributory pension scheme. He/she will be responsible for all aspects of restoration, overhaul and maintenance of locomotives, carriages and wagons. The jobholder must balance engineering needs, the availability of people, machines and finance to deliver the overhauls required, whilst maintaining the operational fleet to meet the needs of the Railway throughout the year. The jobholder is responsible for ensuring that the requirements of legislation and standards (both internal and external) applicable to heritage railways are met.

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27 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Colas Class 56 naming ceremony on Saturday 11 June 2016

The West Somerset Railway is pleased to announce that they have agreed to host the naming of a Colas Class 56 locomotive at Minehead Station on Saturday 11 June as part of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Peco Ltd as a model railway manufacturer. The Railway explain...

At the time of going to press we don't know which class 56 locomotive will be honoured but we do know that the locomotive should arrive on the West Somerset Railway on Thursday 9 June. On arrival the locomotive will be moved to Minehead Station to go on display stabled on the turntable outside the cafe for the whole of Friday 10 June 2016.

Peco are expecting about 150 guests on the Saturday, many of whom are past and present employees and they are due to travel to Minehead from Bishops Lydeard on the 10.55am on the steam hauled service. Prior to their arrival at Minehead the locomotive will come off the turntable and be positioned ready to be named.

The naming Ceremony is scheduled for 1pm - the name and the person unveiling the name are being kept secret for now.

After the ceremony the guests are to take lunch and then travel back to Bishops Lydeard on the 3.47pm departure from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard. As the Class 56 is an air-brake-only locomotive the return journey will use the air braked Set A which has only 7 coaches (providing all duel brake vehicles are serviceable). We therefore would ask visitors to our Gala to respect the accommodation booked on the train for Peco guests.

27 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Quantock Belle breakfast & luncheon during Mixed Traction event

Details of the Quantock Belle breakfast and luncheon services during the forthcoming Mixed Traction Weekend special event. No need to reserve a seat - just walk-on! The team expect to accommodate all those wishing to dine.

On Saturday 11 June, the breakfast menu will be served on the 9.05am from Bishops Lydeard, and on the 10.47am from Minehead. Lunch will be served on the 1.03am from Bishops Lydeard, and the 2.47pm from Minehead.

On Sunday 12 June, the breakfast menu will be served on the 9.55am from Bishops Lydeard, and on the 11.47am from Minehead. Lunch will be served on the 1.15am from Bishops Lydeard, and the 3.47pm from Minehead.

Breakfast - served daily until 12:30pm

The Somerset Big Breakfast £8.00
Orange or Grapefruit Juice
Egg, Bacon, Sausages, Hash Browns, Tomatoes & Baked Beans
Toast and Marmalade
Tea or Coffee - with a complimentary refill

Bury Black Pudding - optional extra £1.00

Lunchtime and Afternoon - served daily from 1pm

West Somerset Brunch £6.50
Egg, Bacon, Sausages, Baked Beans, Tomatoes and New Potatoes

Traditional Cornish Pasty £5.50
served with Baked Beans and New Potatoes

Country Apple Pie served with Custard or Cream £3.50

Bakewell Tart served with Custard or Cream £3.50

Tea or Coffee with complimentary refill £1.50

Table service of beer, lager, cider and soft drinks, available from the steward on request

27 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

Locomotive allocations available for 2016 Mixed Traction Weekend

We understand the locomotive allocations and working timetables are now available online at the Mixed Traction Weekend page on the official WSR website - scroll down to 'Tickets' and click the word 'here' next to each of the three days listed to load the working timetable and allocations.

26 May 2016
Details gleaned from Facebook

By bus from Dunster Station to Dunster Castle this weekend

On Sunday 29 May and Bank Holiday Monday 30 May, a free vintage bus service will link Dunster Station, the village and the Castle. The bus, a heritage vehicle from the Crosville fleet, will leave Dunster Station at 10.30am, 11.45am, 12.20pm, 1pm, 1.50pm, 2.50pm, 3.50pm, 4.40pm and 4.55pm. Departure times from Dunster Square will be 10am, 11am, 12 noon, 12.40pm, 1.20pm, 2.10pm, 3.15pm, 4.10pm and 4.55pm. Folks staying in the village are welcome to travel down to the Station. Full details.

25 May 2016
Details kindly provided by the Dunster Station Master

SDJR 7F no 53809 to stay for the summer

The WSR's Chief Mechanical Engineer, Andy Forster, has announced:

I am pleased to advise that the owners of ex S&D locomotive no 53809 have decided that the locomotive will remain in service on the WSR until late August. It will then depart to the North Norfolk Railway for their gala event in September. To have both 7Fs and 4F no 44422 running on the WSR during this Somerset and Dorset Railway 50th anniversary year is a real bonus.

25 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Robin White appointed WSR's Operations Project Manager

The WSR is pleased to announce that Robin Moira White has been appointed as Operations Project Manager.

Robin will work within the Operations Department alongside the existing staff. Her role is to research all aspects of the department's work, to recommend changes to improve the department's effectiveness and implement those that are agreed by the Operational Executive Committee. This is an initiative to ensure that the critical operations department is robust, secure and sustainable into the future. Robin said:

I am very excited to be taking on this role for the WSR in which I believe I can make a significant contribution in the coming months.

Robin brings a wealth of experience to the role. She is a professional railwayman, a member of the Institute of Railway Operators and of the Chartered Institute of Transport. She has volunteered on heritage railways for over 30 years, acts as signalman and line controller for the Railway and lives by the side of the line. Robin also has considerable experience in change management processes. WSR General Manager, Paul Conibeare, welcomed this appointment and said Robin's background and experience will enhance and strengthen the department, ensuring that we continue to build a robust future for the WSR. Robin plans to start work in the next two weeks.

23 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

The latest draft minutes from the Partnership Development Group

The Secretary of the Partnership Development Group has kindly provided the draft minutes of the meeting ot the Group held on 3 May 2016. The draft minutes are available as a downloadable PDF document.

The next meeting of the Partnership Development Group will be held on Thursday 14 July 2016 in Brunel House, Bishops Lydeard.

23 May 2016
Details kindly provided by Partnership Development Group Secretariat

Class 56 to attend the 2016 Mixed Traction Weekend

According to an update received from the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group a Class 56 will attend the Mixed Traction Weekend. The DEPG update states:

A Colas Class 56 will now be coming to the event. Arriving on Wednesday or Thursday the loco will then be positioned on the turntable for Friday of the Gala. On Saturday the loco works the 15:47 From Minehead-Bishops Lydeard before returning with the 17:55 Bishops Lydeard-Minehead. On the Sunday the loco will work the 09:45 from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard and 11:55 Bishops Lydeard-Minehead.

Also during the gala there will be some semi fast runs of D832 down the entire length of the line to/from Norton, Driver Neil McCannon driving the loco all three days, this is a last chance for you to have a ride behind the loco on the WSR.

Western D1010 may make a limited appearance during the gala. The loco has had a lot of work progressed over the winter. We'll let you know when we know any more, the loco will be on static display for a lot of the gala at Williton.

The WSR Plc have agreed to our publication of the above.

22 May 2016
Details kindly provided by Diesel & Electric Preservation Group External link

Guards Inspector Peter Vile has retired

Peter Vile, the WSR Guards Inspector, retired from the Company on 19 May 2016 but not before a small 'send off' for him at Bishops Lydeard facilitated by Kate Beard and her team. A number of his colleagues attended to say goodbye. The picture shows Peter proudly displaying his two 'retirement certificates' presented to him by Merv Hebditch and Paul Fleet on behalf of the Loco and Operating Departments. Peter also received a number of gifts from the Company, presented to him by the General Manager. We at wsr.org.uk hope all WSR folks will join us in wishing a happy retirement to Pete and a big thanks for his work in many WSR departments over many years.

20 May 2016
Details kindly provided by local correspondents

Staff are praised by the West Somerset Railway

The West Somerset Railway commends all staff who acted quickly and professionally on Wednesday 18 May following the reports of a suspect package. The package was found at the lineside just outside Watchet Station on Wednesday late morning. For the safety of passengers travelling, services were immediately suspended by the Railway. The police were called and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit travelled to the site to investigate the device. The West Somerset Railway's General Manager Paul Conibeare said:

Whilst on a routine line check, one of our permanent way team discovered a suspect package at the lineside. The emergency services were called and our train services were suspended. I am immensely proud of all of our staff, and I thank them all for their quick acting and professionalism to ensure the safety of our passengers.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit removed the device very quickly upon arrival at Watchet and services have returned to normal.

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

All clear on the West Somerset Railway

The folks at the West Somerset Railway - with some relief - have announced:

We are pleased to announce that the suspect device has been removed. The police cordon has been removed, and we will reopen the Railway tomorrow as usual. We thank you all for your support and understanding during this challenging day. We hope to see some of you on the services tomorrow.

Trains will resume running on Thursday 19 May 2016 with the Green timetable in use on that day. See the train times.

18 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

Services suspended on the West Somerset Railway on Wednesday 18 May

We understand train services on the West Somerset Railway have been suspended for safety reasons. The WSR Plc have made a statement:

For safety reasons, trains have been suspended on the West Somerset Railway for the rest of today. We apologise for any inconvenience. We are working hard to get travelling passengers back to their start station.

Update: We can confirm that we are currently awaiting for the bomb disposal team to arrive at Watchet Station to look at a suspect package that has been found close to the line.We are unable at this stage to confirm what the package is or when the railway line will re open. We will of course keep you updated as soon as we have more news.

Update: We are pleased to announce that the suspect device has been removed. The police cordon has been removed, and our steam engine at Bishops Lydeard is returning to Minehead for reopening the railway tomorrow as usual. We thank you all for your support and understanding during this challenging day. We hope to see some of you on the services tomorrow.

18 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

A special guest at the West Somerset Railway on Saturday 28 May

The West Somerset Railway will be welcoming PaddingtonTM to Minehead Station on Saturday 28 May 2016. Paddington will be making appearances at intervals throughout the day between 10am and 4pm (last appearance is at 3.30pm). Along with the special guest, there are lots of fun activities to enjoy at the Station. We have free face painting, crafts, Colin John the entertainer, Andrews Leisure and their inflatable helter skelter and bouncy bastle (weather dependant). Combine all of this with a train ride through the countryside for a family day not to be missed! Full details

Tickets to travel can be purchased either on the day or in advance up to seven days before the event. When purchasing tickets in advance get a 10% advanced discount.

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

Change of address for the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

The Registered Office of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust has moved from Williton to The Railway Station, Station Road, Bishops Lydeard, Taunton. TA4 3BX.

This move has been undertaken in the spirit of one railway family.

16 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust External link

The next WSR Association Taunton Area Group meeting

The next meeting of the WSRA Taunton Area Group will be on Monday 6 June 2016 with the main presentation being 'Holding the Line - WSR Infrastructure'.

In the 1960s the Railway suffered years of neglect and since the 1970s has relied mainly on volunteers and benefactors to survive. With 26 miles of track, 10 stations and 56 bridges, maintaining the aging infrastructure is no small challenge. In recent years the Company took steps to form a new department to manage the Railway's assets and ensure the line remains operational for future generations. This talk presents the story of the Railway's infrastructure from its inception through to the current challenges and future ambitions. The speakers will be Ric Auger, WSR Infrastructure Director, Ian Coleby, WSR Vice-Chairman and Andrew Young, Head of Infrastructure Engineering.

All meetings (except where otherwise stated) will be at the Wyvern Club, Mountfields Road Taunton TA1 3BJ, 7 for 7.30pm.. The venue has a bar and also offers food from snacks to a full meal. Meetings are open to all WSR supporters, whether you are a WSRA member or not. Further information from Robin White, theTaunton Area Group Organiser, robin215white@btinternet.com

16 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

Volunteers needed for the 2016 Steam Rally

During the first weekend in August every year, the West Somerset Railway Association run a very successful Steam Fayre and Vintage Vehicle Rally held at the Norton Triangle fields just to the west of the village of Norton Fitzwarren near Taunton. The event attracts well over 5000 visitors over the weekend.

The Rally Team need help at the event with public car parking; exhibitors gates; public ticket offices; arena marshalling; on-site exhibitor traffic marshalling; directing visitors on the Rally site; admin assistance and 'runners'; refreshment tent assistants; programme sellers; and help before and after the event setting up fences, tables, chairs, road signs, on-site signage and so on. Please see the Steam Rally website for more details and the application form.

16 May 2016
Details kindly provided by the Rally Team External link

GWR and WSR offer a day package to West Somerset

GWR have issued a leaflet advertising a day package to West Somerset including return travel to Taunton on GWR, return travel by bus to the WSR, and unlimited travel on the WSR.

GWR have teamed up with the West Somerset Railway to offer a fantastic money saving day package giving flexibility and opportunity to enjoy a great day out. The day package ticket includes return travel to and from Taunton with GWR, return travel between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard on the No 28 bus, and unlimited travel on the West Somerset Railway. Buy the day package at gwr.com or any staffed station. The day package tickets are not valid of certain days on the West Somerset Railway - see the leaflet for details.

12 May 2016
Details gleaned from a leaflet published by GWR External link

Richard Jones re-takes the editorial reins of the WSR Journal

Richard Jones has offered to take on the editorship of the WSR Journal and lead the editorial team for the next four issues. This offer has been accepted by the Trustees of the WSRA and, by mutual agreement, will be reviewed after twelve months. Richard has been a volunteer on the line for almost 40 years and is well known to many on the WSR, and was Editor of the Journal from 1990-95. Richard gives us a brief update:

The next issue, No 153, is currently in the course of production. With a new team recently in place, this will take a little longer than normal to put together - our aim being to strive for the highest quality - so please bear with us. A further update regarding publication date will be made soon.

11 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

The Home Counties Group could do with some help

Keith Smith from the West Somerset Railway Association's Home Counties Group says:

Our role is to publicise the West Somerset Railway by handing out timetables and other leaflets such as the Thomas weekend or the Dunster Castle Express, and raise a few pounds for our own funds. Our next outing is in two weeks time. This is to attend Sir William MacAlpine's 80th birthday event at his home in Fawley Hill, between Henley and Marlow. If you have never had the opportunity to visit his railway, museum, and grounds, this is an ideal time. It is a three-day event, 20 - 22 May, and if previous events are anything to go by, one day will not be enough to see it all.

Now this type of outing is a big drain on our small band of regular stand volunteers, and so I would like to appeal for more members to step forward and join us. One benefit is that you get free entry, and if we had more helpers, we could look for new events to attend. The Spring Open Weekend at the London Transport Museum Annex in Acton is one example.

As well as people, we welcome donations of good transport books for sale, but unless they are copies of Backtrack, or the Great Western Journal, no magazines please. Collection may be possible.

11 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

Breakfast and Brunch on the move during Mixed Traction Weekend

We understand that on the Saturday and Sunday of Mixed Traction Weekend, the WSR Association's Quantock Belle dining cars will be offering a full traditional English breakfast service (with toast) and optional Bury Black Pudding, followed by a luncheon service that will include a brunch option, decent pasties, hot puds and so on. This will be the first time for seven or eight years that the 'full works' will be provided during a West Somerset Railway special event. Do come along and enjoy the 'thrash' with some decent grub and a decent pint. More details later. The Mixed Traction Weekend runs for three days from 10 June to 12 June.

8 May 2016
Details kindly provided by the Quantock Belle team

The West Somerset Railway in Hampshire this weekend

Keith Smith from the West Somerset Railway Association's Home Counties Group says:

This coming Sunday 8 May 2016 sees the Home Counties Group making their annual visit to the Basingstoke Festival of Transport. The event takes place as usual in the War Memorial Park, and entry is free. We are also looking for donations of good quality railway books for re-sale, but no magazines, unless they are Backtrack, or the Great Western Journal. See you all there.

6 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

Minutes of the recent Steam Trust Annual General Meeting

The minutes of the recent Annual General Meeting for the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust, as held on 23 April 2016, are available on the Trust's website at www.wssrt.co.uk.

The document also includes a summary of the 'Questions and Answers' session which followed the formal meeting.

6 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust External link

News from the Station Shop at Bishops Lydeard

Kate Beard, Retail Manager at WSRA Promotions, writes:

The Station Shop at Bishops Lydeard would be grateful for donations of railway/transport books, good quality model railway items and collections of railway ephemera such as tickets and working timetables. Historical magazines such as Backtrack are also welcome but unfortunately we cannot accept model railway and preservation magazines. All proceeds will be used for WSRA projects.

6 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

The 2016 Mixed Traction Weekend gets a new theme

As a result of discussions with the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group (D&EPG), the West Somerset Railway has changed the theme of the Mixed Traction Weekend which is being held from Friday 10 June 2016 to Sunday 12 June 2016.

The Gala theme will now be to celebrate 40 years of the D&EPG on the West Somerset Railway. Appearing at the Mixed Traction Weekend possibly for the last time, will be Class 42 'Warship' no D832 Onslaught, which is due to travel home to the East Lancashire Railway at Bury after seven years in the core of the D&EPG at their Williton Depot. Also in attendance Class 14 'Teddy Bear' no D9526, Class 33 'Crompton' no D6575, Class 35 'Hymek' no D7017, Class 47/8 no D1661 North Star and possibly Class 52 'Western' no D1010 Western Campaigner. GBRF will also be bringing Class 66 no 66757 West Somerset Railway to the event.

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk or over the phone on 01643 704996.

4 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

WSR Plc launch restoration appeal for GWR 2-6-2T no 4110

The West Somerset Railway has launched its next appeal project, focussing on the overall target of achieving a secure fleet of suitable locomotives to take the West Somerset Railway forward.

The Railway has recently purchased GWR 2-6-2T no 4110 in unrestored condition. The engine has not been in steam since June 1965, so there will be a considerable amount of restoration work to be completed before it is able to be entered into service between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead.

We therefore will be doing everything we can to fundraise for the restoration, which will include the selling of company shares and donations. For further information on the appeal please do not hesitate to contact us either by email info@wsrail.net or on 01643 704996

4 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

The next meeting of the WSRA's Taunton Group

The next meeting of the WSRA Taunton Group will take place on 9 May 2016 and is not to be missed. Railway photographer and WSRA Report Chairman Robin Coombes will be giving a 45 minute presentation of his railway photography entitled 'A different take', and answering questions on this and the processes he has recently managed for the WSRA. Also, one of the new WSRA trustees will also be present to talk about the work underway to get the WSRA back on track after the recent upheavals.

Future meetings are planned:

  • 6 June 2016 A presentation on West Somerset Railway Infrastructure by WSR Infrastructure Manager Andrew Young, WSR Vice-Chairman Ian Coleby and WSR Civil Engineering Director Ric Auger
  • 4 July 2016 Summer evening social at Bishops Lydeard and we hope to take a short but rather special trip by train (subject to confirmation).

We take a break in August, and the Autumn programme will recommence on Monday 5 September 2016.

All meetings (except where otherwise stated) will be at the Wyvern Club, Mountfields Road Taunton TA1 3BJ, 7pm for 7.30pm. The venue has a bar and also offers food from snacks to a full meal. Meetings are open to all WSR supporters, whether you are a WSRA member or not.

Do come along and help revitalise our Association.

Robin White Taunton Area Group Organiser robin215white@btinternet.com

4 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

A summary of the latest WSRA Trustee Board meeting

The West Somerset Railway Association's Trustee Board have issued a synopsis of the main points discussed at the recent Board meeting held on 3 May 2016.

The full synopsis can be read on the WSRA website.

4 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association External link

The 2016 Crowcombe Heathfield Station mug

The website of the Friends of Crowcombe Heathfield Station is having a gentle refresh for the new season. Have a look! One of the latest news items features the 2016 Station Mug:

Remember your visit to Crowcombe Heathfield station for years to come with a limited edition mug. Available in the station shop for just £4. Buy yours now. Once they've gone, theyve gone!

3 May 2016
Details kindly provided by Friends of Crowcombe Heathfield Station External link

Dine in style on the Quantock Belle on 5 June...

Here is the menu for the Quantock Belle Dining Train on 5 June 2016.

Starter:
Soup of the Day with Bread Roll and Butter; Prawn Salad with Brown Bread and Butter; Sliced Honeydew Melon served with seasonal Fruit and Fresh Mint

Main:
Roast Beef & Yorkshire pudding werved with Horseradish Sauce, roast potatoes and fresh vegetables

Dessert:
Apple Pie served with Custard; White Chocolate amp; Blackurrant Florette; Fresh Fruit Salad served with Cream or Ice Cream; Cheese and Biscuits

Call 01823 433856 during office hours on Tuesday to Saturday to book a table...

2 May 2016
Details gleaned from Quantock Belle's Facebook page

Good progress with the new pathway at Doniford

Volunteers have made speedy progress with laying a firm base layer for the new path between Doniford Halt and the nearby village. A strip of land was made available with kind co-operation of the landowner for the purpose and the path follows a level route at the edge of the field from the Halt to the existing roadside pavement in the village. When completed, it means passengers making their way to the nearby Doniford Farm tourist attraction and the Doniford Bay Holiday Park will no longer need to risk walking along the busy Watchet to Doniford road.

2 May 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

By bus from Dunster Station to Dunster Castle this weekend

On Sunday 1 May and Bank Holiday Monday 2 May, a free vintage bus service will link Dunster Station, the village and the Castle. There will be no through ticketing packages available on these dates but WSR passengers who show their tickets at the Castle entrance gate will get a 25% discount on admission. The bus, a heritage vehicle from the Crosville fleet, will leave Dunster Station at 10.35am, 11.45am, 12.40pm, 1.50pm, 2.35pm, 3.50pm and 4.40pm. Departure times from Dunster village will be 10am, 10.50am, 12 noon, 12.55pm, 2.05pm, 3.15pm, 4.05pm and 5pm, and people staying in the village are welcome to travel down to the Station.

27 April 2016
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc External link

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