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WSR News from April 2005
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• Conditional Planning Approval for Norton Project...
Norton
 
The WSRA Board report that Conditional Planning Approval for a turning triangle at Norton Fitzwarren has been announced by Taunton Deane Borough Council. The statement continues "This will allow the construction of a turning triangle in line with the drawings and details previously published. In keeping with the sensitive nature of the land which is rural and a natural flood plain the approval contains a number of conditions which have to be met before, during and after the construction. In particular there will now need to be a period of detail design and submission of our proposals for the construction, drainage and landscaping of the scheme. The Board now intend to proceed with the designs as rapidly as possible in order to be able to complete the work and provide this much needed facility as soon as possible. It is however inevitable that there will appear to a further period of inactivity whilst this work is completed behind the scenes. The Board is grateful for the support of our members, the WSR Plc, the communities of Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton Deane and West Somerset and particular individuals for the support and encouragement we have received in bring this application to a successful conclusion."
Link to Taunton Deane Borough Council...

18 April 2005 
Details from WSRA

• Brunel 200...
Brunel
 
Links between the West Somerset Railway and Isambard Kingdom Brunel are to be highlighted to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Victorian engineer's birth in 1806. As part of nationwide celebrations, "Brunel Explorer" trains are planned to run on the WSR next summer, stopping at points of interest connected with Brunel's role as the engineer of the line between Watchet and Norton Fitzwarren junction. Passengers will see original buildings and other artefacts, and listen to an on-board commentary about Brunel's work. More about the building of the WSR...

17 April 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• A three-storey car park is proposed...
Minehead
 
Several local correspondents and the West Somerset Free Press report the appearance of a plan to build a three-storey car park next to Minehead Station. The plans were posted just two days before the end of an exhibition staged by the District Council designed to help local people understand the Council's proposals to develop the land, including the building of a new Civic Centre, to the south of the Railway from the Station to the Level Crossing. The latest idea, added at the last minute, is said to help allay fears about the possible loss of nearby car parking for visitors to the Railway. The proposed car park, providing 200 spaces, is designed to look like a "railway goods shed". Interesting...

23 April 2005 
Details from local correspondent and WSFP

• An old favourite is doing nicely...
4160
 
A regular and popular performer in the 1990s, GWR 2-6-2T no 4160 is currently undergoing a major overhaul at Buckfastleigh on the South Devon Railway. Although very dusty, and with the refurbished cab roof sitting on the front-end, it is clear good progress is being made. The loco is re-wheeled, the motion is almost all reassembled, just awaiting the pistons & crossheads - just delivered following machining at Williton Works. Whilst at Crewe, the boiler is almost complete, partially restayed and retubed. The hydraulic test is expected soon. Final assembly is anticipated during the summer

21 April 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• Paddington-Minehead CAMRA Merrymaker...
Camra
 
In connection with the Somerset CAMRA Real Ale Festival at Minehead Station on 17-18 September 2005, Hertfordshire Rail Tours are running a Merrymaker special train from London Paddington to Minehead on the Saturday of the two day event. There is a coach connection from Stevenage to/from the stop at Slough. The special also stops at Reading before running non-stop to Minehead. The standard fare for the train is just £34.50 - come and sample many fine traditional ales at this convivial event at Minehead in glorious West Somerset...

17 April 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• West Somerset Coast Express...
Compass
 
On Bank Holiday Monday 30 May 2005, the Compass Tours "West Somerset Coast Express" will arrive at Minehead after travelling from Acton Bridge, Hartford, Winsford, Crewe, Nantwich, Whitchurch, Wem, Shrewsbury, Church Stretton and Craven Arms. The train is expected to be formed of traditional MK2 intercity carriages and hauled by heritage British-built class 47 diesel traction throughout (supplied and operated by Fragonset and Merlin Rail). More...

15 April 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• Peak no 45112...
<Peak © Fragonset


 
The WSRA web site at www.wsra.org.uk reports the appearance of the celebrated Class 45 "Peak" no 45112 "Royal Army Ordnance Corps" at the Spring Diesel Gala providing another chance to see and travel behind one of the most popular types of diesel locomotive. Classmate no D120 visited the line in 1996-7 and again in 1999, whilst no 45112 previously graced the WSR rails in 2003 on a Cardiff to Minehead tour. More...

10 April 2005 
Details from WSRA

• Gala performance for HST...
HST © Alan Grieve
 
The First Group High Speed Train, stabled at Minehead over the winter, and recently reformed into a five-car unit with a power car each end, is now scheduled to work will work two diagrams on the Spring Diesel Gala Saturday and Sunday. The ex-Virgin Cross Country set will depart Minehead at 9.15am and the return working will leave Bishops Lydeard at 1.05pm. These workings are believed to be the first time that an HST has been used for normal service on a heritage railway during a diesel gala. All subject to confirmation and availability, of course. More...

10 April 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• Spring Diesel Gala line-up confirmed...
Gala
 
Two GB Railfreight electro-diesel Class 73s will be the headline attraction for visitors to the West Somerset Railway Spring Diesel Gala on 6-8 May 2005. This will be the first visit of the ex-Southern Region class to the Minehead line. Also fans of classic diesel traction will be pleased to note the other confirmed visitors - including a Freightliner Class 47 (or Class 57), Class 50 no 50007 “Sir Edward Elgar”, Class 37 no 37190, and Class 31 no 31271 "Stratford 1840 - 2001". These will be joined by residents from the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group’s Williton fleet - Hymek no D7017, Class 25 no D7523, Class 33 no D6566 and Class 08 and 03 shunters top and tailing the Bishops Lydeard and Norton Fitzwarren "shunter shuttle". Full details and timetables now available...

1 April 2005 
Details from DEPG and WSR Plc
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• Chance to sample old and new express traction...
6024
 
Fans of the old Great Western Railway will have another opportunity to ride behind one of the GWR’s best-known locomotives over the Bank Holiday Weekend, 30 April - 2 May. GWR 4-6-0 no 6024 "King Edward I" is visiting the West Somerset Railway and will head the 10.25am and 2.10pm departures from Bishops Lydeard and the 12.15pm and 3.55pm from Minehead on each day. Built in 1930 at Swindon the "King" is one of three surviving members of a class built to head the heaviest express trains on the GWR. More recent express train history will be represented on 7-8 May when the WSR will become the first "heritage" railway to run a High Speed Train set on its scheduled services. Introduced in the mid 1970s the HSTs have been a great success and are still the mainstays of express services in and out of Paddington, St Pancras and Kings Cross. They have visited the WSR many times before but this will be the first time passengers will have had the chance to travel on one in WSR service. It will run as the 9.10am from Minehead and the 1.05pm from Bishops Lydeard as part of the West Somerset’s SPRING DIESEL GALA. This Gala runs over the three days 6-8 May and is due to see no less than ten different types of historic diesel locomotives in action. WSR Managing Director Mark Smith commented, "We know that whenever the 'King' operates it attracts many visitors and locals to travel behind it and the HST should be a highlight of the Diesel Gala for many. The two weekends also coincide with the Sea Fayre at Watchet and we hope that many visitors to that event will travel by train”.

27 April 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• The Minehead Virgins...
Virgin
 
One friends at Taunton Trains have pointed out that, at one stage on Saturday 16 April, there were more current or ex-Virgin-branded vehicles at Minehead than WSR's own stock! For the record, four Class 43 power cars, eight Mk III and nine Mk II coaches, seen amongst the stored stock and the rake of thirteen coaches of the charter from Hootton. Plenty of Branson brand but no sign of the man himself. Pictures...

i>17 April 2005 
Details from local correspondents
• A Tale of Two Charters...
67014
 
Mixing with the normal two loco steam services on Saturday 16 April, were two charter trains that just could not have been different. The first to leave Bishops Lydeard for Minehead was the single coach Auto Coach with GWR 0-6-0PT no 6412, followed an hour or so later, by the thirteen-coach charter from Hootton and Wrexham to Minehead headed by EWS Class 67 no 67014. Busy times indeed. Pictures...

16 April 2005 
Details from local correspondents

• Cabling progress...
Cabling
 
The Cabling Project continues apace. The trencher, working from Crowcombe towards Bishops Lydeard, has reached Nethercott. On Friday 15 April, the Class 08 no D3462 was employed along with the cable laying apparatus on a non-train service day - occupation of the line becomes restricted as the busy summer season timetable approaches.
More pictures...

15 April 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• WSRA Taunton Group Meeting...
WSRA
 
In a change to the usual arrangements, the next Taunton Group meeting on the evening of Bank Holiday Monday 2 May will be a Liaison Meeting with the WSR PLC. Attending should be Chris Austin, Chairman of the PLC Board, and Mark Smith, MD, and the evening will be led by the WSRA Chairman, Humphrey Davies. After the meeting, at the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard, starting at 7.15pm those attending will be able to take a trip to Norton Fitzwarren, to hear about the plans for development there, and then to Williton, to view progress on Braunton and, hopefully, on the Auto Coach no 169 and also the 1897 Sleeping Car, now nearing completion. The train will be topped and tailed to Norton, then travelling to Williton with one locomotive. The on-train Buffet and Bar should be open. Return to Bishops Lydeard is anticipated by 10PM. The cost of the train ride for WSRA Members will be a mere £2.50 (or £5 for non-members).

15 April 2005 
Details from WSRA

• Relaying the loop line...
Stop sign
 
On 11 April, the Company PW Gang started relaying parts of the Main Platform run round loop, assisted by the road railer. The PW train, headed by the ex-RoF Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 DH shunter, tripped down from Dunster with 80 replacement sleepers. Also on show were the new stop boards which will replace red banners to mark the start of engineering possessions. More pictures...

11 April 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• Pannier for Swanage ...
6412
 
The ex-GWR 0-6-0PT no 6412 owned by the West Somerset Railway Association is to spend the peak season at the Swanage Railway in Dorset. The loco is rather underpowered for the heavy high summer trains on the West Somerset. An excellent ambassador for the West Somerset, no 6412 has previously spent time away at other heritage railways in Norfolk, Kent and Gloucestershire, proving to be a very popular crowd-puller.

3 April 2005 
Details from WSRA

• More Diesel Gala details...
Gala
 
Further to the earlier announcements, and subject to the usual "subject to confirmation" caveats, we now have provisional news that the First Group HST five car set - currently stored at Minehead and recently fitted with new batteries - will work a forty mile diagram on both the Saturday and Sunday of the Spring Steam Gala 6-9 May. Meantime, more humble duties await the Class 14 no D9526 - working the "Heritage Freight Train" and the "Dunster Goods".

Full details and timetables now available...

2 April 2005 
Details from DEPG and WSR Plc

• Autotrailer 169 News...
No 169
 
Work commenced today on accessing the basic construction details of the framework of Autotrailer no 169. The inside wooden panelling was dismantled from the centre section right hand side and then one of the galvanised exterior panels was also removed to fully expose a section revealing some of the hidden secrets of wooden carriage construction. A very interesting day's work with much useful detail uncovered. Picture...

10 April 2005 
Details from 5542 Ltd

• Sorting out the weeds...
Weed © Pat Langan
 
On 7-8 April, the annual weedkilling train toured the rails of the WSR. The multi-siding Minehead was dealt during the first day, with the stretch from Dunster to Norton Fitzwarren, including all the sidings on the way, completed on the second day - in April snow showers during the Bishops Lydeard session! The Class 08 no D3462 was in charge of the weedkilling train, which was returned to Dunster Yard by Class 25 no D7523.
More pictures...

8 April 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• A Grand Draw with Grand Prizes...
D1010 © Paul Randall
 
A Grand Draw is being held to help raise funds for the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group. Entry is by donation and completion of the entry slip. Just visit the DEPG shed and visitors centre over the Spring Diesel Gala to submit your entry slipyand donation. You can enter as many times as you wish, but each entry must have a donation. The draw will take place at the end of May 2005. Many of the prizes have been donated by major TOCs, and other railway related businesses. Prizes range from two return First Class return tickets to London Paddington, a day out with the DEPG in the cab of one of their loco's, a DVD featuring diesels on the main line in the 1970's , special limited edition items from Freightliner and many more...

4 April 2005 
Details from DEPG

• Gold for John ...
John Walker © Jon Tooke
 
On Thursday 31 March, long-time WSR supporter, John Walker, received a Gold Pass from the Managing Director of the WSR, Mr Mark Smith, to John Walker. John has been an active member of the WSR since the early days carrying out many tasks including working with the two early steam engines “Vulcan” and “Victor”, to building the steps at the signal box at Crowcombe Heathfield station. John has been an active member of the DEPG for more than ten years. John, aged 79, was almost completely lost for words but managed say that the whole event was a complete surprise and he never thought such an honour would be bestowed on him! In making the award, Mark Smith described John as one of the West Somerset Railway's most stern critics for the lack of train services to Taunton. Mark expressed his admiration for his persistence, and said that whilst he and John might not be able to agree over the Taunton issue, constructive criticism was always important for the health of the Company, and Mark urged John to continue to fight for what he believed in.

3 April 2005 
Details from local correspondent and WSR Plc

• HST news...
HST
 
First Group visited Minehead on 1 April. Engineers put a new set of batteries into the Minehead-end power car of the five car High Speed Train set which is stabled in the headshunt. Afterwards the set was driven a short distance along the main loop to enable the Taunton-end power car to be watered, before returning to the land of nod in the spur. More pictures...

1 April 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• Autotrailer 169 News...
No 169
 
The Spring Gala weekend allowed the visiting public to view Autotrailer no 169 for the first time since arrival, and many people took the opportunity to view inside the carriage to see first hand the starting point of the project. Some very useful contacts were made along with details of various suppliers that should be able to help at different stages of the project. Visitors included representatives from the NRM, GWS railmotor project and the other groups with locos at the Gala. A good sum was also raised to boost funds by way of donations, sales and subscriptions. 5542 Ltd are organising some ten mile Auto trains running on the evening of Saturday 16 April, see www.loco5542.co.uk for details. Now starts the actual task of restoration - the need for further Autotrailer capacity was again highlighted during the Gala.

1 April 2005 
Details from 5542 Ltd

• New station for WSR...
Halt
 
Recent clearance work by the local GGwR Lengthmen, a sub-group of the main Cutting Back Gang, has revealed the site of the old Churchlands Halt, alongside Churchlands Bridge. The track level halt is to be resurrected for use by the auto train allowing alighting passengers view the trackside beautification and enjoy refreshments at the nearby pub which is just three minutes walk away. The auto train can be scheduled as a fifteen minute round trip from Bishops Lydeard, within the existing timetable. More...

1 April 2005 
Details from local correspondents

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