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WSR News from April 2007
• Classic motorcycles to visit the Railway in May..
Bishops Lydeard
Classic motorbikes to meet at Bishops Lydeard on 13 May. The Railway Station at Bishops Lydeard will host the start of the annual Westland Classic Motorcycle Club's "Spirit of the Sixties" run. The motorcycles will then head through the Quantocks, then up Porlock Hill to Exmoor and the Brendon Hills, then down to sea level to see the steam trains at Minehead. Bikes from the period (1958 to 1974 ish) very welcome to join in. Marshalled route, awards for various classes, commemorative plaque and steam train ride included in fee, all profits to charity. For more information, click here.

30 April 2007 
Details from WSRA
• Mixed Traffic Weekend information...
No D1010 © Paul Randall
Good news for folks wanting early sight of the loco running order. The information is expected to be available approximately four weeks before the Mixed Traffic Weekend which is being held on 15-17 June 2007. The large majority of services throughout the event will be hauled by heritage diesels. Nos D1010, D832, D7076, D1661, D9520 & D9526 are all expected to be rostered on all three days. No D1015 will work one Minehead-Bishops Lydeard-Minehead diagram during the afternoon on the Saturday, in between its arrival and departure on Past-Time Rail's "Western Ho!" charter from Paddington. On the Friday & Saturday, two of the Railway's diesel shunter fleet will top-and-tail a shuttle service between Minehead and Dunster. A souvenir programme - which will include the Working Timetables and Locomotive Diagrams - will also be available, in response to requests received.

30 April 2007 
Details from SEPT
• Taunton Group to visit Creech...
The Taunton Group of the West Somerset Railway Association are off to Creech St Michael. On Bank Holiday Monday 7 May, the Group will be joining the Great Western Society Taunton Group in a visit to the miniature railway of the Taunton Model Engineers (the planned visit to the Isle Abbots Railway had to be cancelled). This group operate at the Creech Recreation Ground, where they have kindly agreed to host us on a steam day. Gauges include 7.25 inch. Hopefully, operating starts at 2pm, finishing at about 7pm. Refreshments should be provided. The Recreation Ground can be found in Hyde Lane in Creech St Michael. A donation of £2 each towards expenses is suggested. Friends and families will be welcome, but as numbers need to be known in advance, please email the WSRA organiser...

29 April 2007 
Details from WSRA
• Standard Tank is retired early...
No 80136
BR Class 4MT 2-6-4T no 80136 – a regular on the line for six years – is to be withdrawn from service by the end of the month. With its ten-year boiler certificate expiring in any case at the end of June, the decision to withdraw the Standard tank early was taken after cracks in the left hand drive rod near the little end were discovered following a routine examination at Minehead. The last passenger train to be worked by no 80136 was the 4pm Minehead-Bishops Lydeard on Wednesday 18 April, following which it has been restricted to light duties only. The popular engine is expected to depart the WSR by road during the first week of May for the journey to LNWR Crewe, where it will undergo a full ten-year overhaul. However, the good news is that no 80136 is expected to return upon completion of the overhaul for a further spell of service on the line

28 April 2007 
Details from WSRA
• The West Somerset Coast Path...
Ammonite Waymark © Somerset County Council
The West Somerset Coast Path offers an excellent opportunity to enjoy a steam train ride and a super walk beside the Bristol Channel. The West Somerset Coast Path runs for some 25 miles from Steart to Minehead passing four WSR stations en route - Williton, Watchet, Blue Anchor and Dunster - and of course ending close to Minehead Station. The Path is suitable for walking short linear stretches and also several short circular routes are possible. The Council website provides a good map and a very good description. The West Somerset Coast Path is waymarked with small discs bearing the ammonite symbol. And of course you can plan a walk with a train trip and perhaps stopping for a Somerset Cream Tea along the way. More...

22 April 2007 
Details from Somerset County Council
• The first working party...
Heritage Carriages Project
Volunteers are required for the very first working party of the Heritage Carriages Project. The Project Vehicle Care Leader John Wood writes: "The impending movement of toplight 7740 from Minehead to storage at Washford requires the carriage to be prepared for travel. The main outstanding requirement is to sheet it down to both protect and secure it. We are planning to do this work on the morning of Saturday 28th April and would welcome the help of 4 or 5 people to assist the operation. If you are available to help make history on what is the very first working party of the HCP then please contact me at by email and I will let you know the full plans. The only requirement is that you are happy and capable of working at carriage roof height on a ladder." Full details are on the website of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust...

21 April 2007 
Details from WSSRT
• The Station Gardens in 2007...
Station Gardens
For the first time, the splendid West Somerset Railway Station Gardens will have their own special week in 2007. The week of 15 to 22 July 2007 has been put aside as a particularly good time to visit the Gardens, although the Station Gardens are open to visitors and passengers on each and every Summer day. Of course the best way to visit the Gardens is by train. Just park at Bishops Lydeard and use the trains to travel between the stations. Soon, we hope to provide on these pages some ideas of how to visit up to six Station Gardens in one leisurely day using the trains, bringing a picnic lunch or nipping to a nearby pub or seaside cafe.

20 April 2007 
Details from WSR Plc
• A Rake of Collett Coaches...
Historic coach
Progress in the pursuit of suitable historic coaches for the proposed Collett rake are detailed in a news update issued by the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust. The Trust explain "Discussions with other vehicle owners are now sufficiently advanced that it is possible to set out which vehicles are intended to make up the 1930s rake of GWR coaches which the Trust intends to create. Vehicles of this era are usually referred to as 'Collett' coaches after the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the GWR at the time." To take its place in normal WSR service, such a rake would need around 300 seats - that's seven coaches to restore to full working order. So far, the Trust have announced plans to acquire for the project BCK no 6705, BTK nos 5102 and 5131, Restaurant Car no 9605, TK nos 5929, 5848 and 4546. That leaves one to find. No-one is underestimating the cost of restoration and the Trust welcome continued and additional financial help from supporters. Full details are on the website of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust...

18 April 2007 
Details from WSSRT
• Hymek swop...
Hymek © Chris Phillips
The Williton-based Hymek no D7017 will not be ready in time for the Mixed Traffic Weekend in June. Despite the best efforts of the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group engineers, it has been decided concentrate resources to the finishing touches to Class 52 "Western" no D1010 Western Campaigner (see below). However, the Special Events Planning Team have secured East Lancashire Railway-based sister Hymek no D7076 for the Mixed Traffic Weekend on 15-17 June, which will restore the Western diesel-hydraulic balance to the event.

18 April 2007 
Details from SEPT and local correspondent
• All go on the Western front...
D1010 © Bob Tiller
All go on the Western front. To the delight of many, the mighty Class 52 "Western" no D1010 Western Campaigner ventured out onto the West Somerset main line in the fine evening sunshine of 17 April. D1010 has been subject to extensive overhaul and with a star appearance booked for the Mixed Traffic Weekend over the weekend of 15-17 June, the engineers from the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group have been carrying out an exhaustive fault diagnosis of the complicated wiring arrangements. Progress has been very good.

18 April 2007 
Details from DEPG
• An excellent Easter...
Blue Anchor passengers © Alan Meade
Easter crowds steam to the seaside. The West Somerset Railway had an excellent Easter holiday period with passenger figures showing a day- on day rise compared with 2006 with 9939 passengers compared to last years figure of 6986, an increase of 42%. The total for Saturday 14 March was further boosted by the latest Charter train of the year to arrive at Minehead when 468 passengers made the journey from Preston to the Somerset Coast.

17 April 2007 
Details from WSR Plc
• Humphrey Davies to stand down...
Humphrey Davies © Ron Williams
After more than ten years at the helm, the Chairman of the West Somerset Railway Association, is stepping down. Humphrey Davies has recently advised his colleagues on the Board that he intends to step down from the post with effect from the Association’s Annual General Meeting in July – a decision that was accepted with regret, but also understanding, by his colleagues. Humphrey has held the post of Chairman since 1996. The AGM starts at 2pm on Saturday 14 July at Bishops Lydeard Village Hall.

16 April 2007 
Details from WSRA
• A Pompey Trip in July...
HMS Victory ©
A unique opportunity to travel from coast to coast across the West. On 1 July 2007, the train starts, diesel hauled, from Minehead 7:15am, with further stops to pick-up at Blue Anchor, Watchet, Williton, Bishops Lydeard, Taunton 8.40am, Weston-super-Mare, Bristol Temple Meads 9.45am, Bath Spa and Salisbury 11.35am. At Bristol, the diesel loco is replaced by the Pocket Rocket – BR Standard Class 4 2-6-0 no 76079 – for the run through beautiful countryside to Portsmouth & Southsea Low Level, the first steam hauled train into the station since the 1960s. Upon arrival at Portsmouth, passengers are free to spend time at their leisure, including perhaps a visit to see Nelson’s flagship Victory and/or the remains of The Mary Rose. The return journey is steam hauled as far as Salisbury, returning from there to Minehead diesel hauled. The Standard Class fare is £65 per adult and £32.50 child. More. Update: Reported as cancelled.

Updated: 17 April 2007 
Details from WSRA
• The Boat Train heads for Minehead...
Minehead Harbour
This diesel hauled excursion recreates the boat trains from the golden days of railway travel, when passengers were taken direct to the docks. On 7 August 2007, starting from Ealing Broadway 7:20am, and stopping to pick-up at Slough, Maidenhead, Reading 7:55am, Newbury and Hungerford, the train will be hauled by one of the few remaining EWS heritage Class 37 diesels, running to Taunton and then joining the West Somerset Railway for the journey right through to the terminus at Minehead. It is just a short stroll to the Quay, where the preserved MV Balmoral will be waiting to take passengers on an afternoon cruise along the stunning Exmoor coast. A day out with a difference, which is sure to be popular... More...

14 April 2007 
Details from WSRA
• Inkpots and Movement Sheets...
Gauge Museum © Adam Ashford
More railway memorabilia is donated to the Gauge Museum. The Curator of the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard has received a donation of several items including GWR ink pots, paste jar and pen stands, once a common sight in signal boxes. In amongst the donated paperwork are the working notices for the movement of GWR 0-6-0PT no 6412 on 24 March 1976 from Paignton to Taunton, then to Norton Fitzwarren, also the movement of LMS 4-6-2 no 46229 from Taunton to Swindon Works on 16 March 1975 and four coaches from York to Taunton via Severn Tunnel Junction for the fledging West Somerset Railway.

12 April 2007 
Details from WSRA
• Daffodil with Fish and Chips ...
Help charity as you enjoy fish and chips on a steam-hauled train. The West Somerset Railway is beginning its 2007 season of special catering trains when on the evening of 5 May it is running “Daffodil Special” trains with the profits going to cancer charities. One train will leave Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton, at 6.30pm and will run to Minehead with passengers being served fish and chips (or a vegetarian alternative) on the way. There will be an hour at Minehead before the train starts on its return journey.  From Minehead the second train will run to Williton and back with food once again being served on the journey and a break in Watchet on the return journey. Seats on both trains must be booked by Monday 30 April and the cost from Bishops Lydeard is £20.00 for adults and £18.00 for children whilst the Minehead train will cost £16.00 for adults and £14.00 for children. West Somerset Railway General Manager Paul Conibeare commented "Many individuals and families have had their lives touched by cancer which remains one of the world’s greatest remaining challenges to health. The staff and volunteers of the WSR have lost colleagues during the three decades that we have been operating and profits from the Daffodil Trains will go towards its eradication.  With this in mind we hope to welcome lots of passengers to the trains."

11 April 2007 
Details from WSR Plc
• Discounted Steam Engineman places on 18 April
Have you done a Stage One, two and three on the West Somerset Railway's Steam Engineman Courses? If you have why not book a Stage Four for 18 April now for the reduced price of £250.00! If you would like to take part on this day please ring Justin on 01643 700398 or the Railway's main office on 01643 704996. For more information on the Stage Four course please click here. There are currently two places available

11 April 2007 
Details from WSR Plc
• New Volunteers Day...
The next New Volunteers Day is on 15 April 2007. If you have considered volunteering on the award-winning West Somerset Railway, then make your way to the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard Station to discover the vast range of tasks on offer. Around 11am prospective volunteers will be welcomed, followed by a keynote address by the Chairman of the WSR Plc, Chris Austin. Next, Mark Smith explains how the Railway is organised, and discusses age issues, health and fitness issues, insurance, induction training, departmental and railway grade training. Later, the attendees will travel by train to Minehead to learn and see more of the Railway.

11 April 2007 
Details from WSR Plc
• WSR features on Rail TV...
Rail TV © Rail TV
Good news coverage for the West Somerset Railway on the web thanks to Rail TV. Rail TV has footage and slide show of both the West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala and the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust's Collett BCK coach, no 6705, arriving at Newport Dock. This content is available free of charge on Rail TV's new News & Events page.

10 April 2007 
Details from Rail TV
• Refurbished DMU back in service...
DMU © Anthony Yardley
A WSR-owned DMU is back in service after a lengthy overhaul. The WSR has returned its own DMU to active service following the departure of the similar unit owned by the Territorial Army which left the line in early 2007. The Railway has always made use of diesel multiple units (DMU) for off peak services. With large picture windows giving good views of the splendid Somerset scenery, DMUs are popular with passengers. The DMU - superbly finished in green - entered service on 4 April 2007.

7 April 2007 
Details from local correspondents
• But they sent me off to Crewe...
No 6705 © Andy Forster
I wanted to go to Swindon, but they took me on to Crewe. On Monday 2 April, the carriage restorer at Swindon informed the Project Manager of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust Heritage Railway Project that he was closing his business and so there was little point taking Collett BCK coach no 6705 there. Not a great moment as it was due to be collected from Newport Docks the next morning by road transport. Some hard work by Andrew Forster and some patience by the transport contractor has allowed no 6705 to find a temporary home at "The Railway Age" Crewe, operated by Crewe Heritage Trust, where it will be assessed for restoration as had been the intention at Swindon. So alls well that ends well. Meantime, the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust at Washford have kindly agreed to accomodate storage of one of the Project vehicles. This is likely to be Toplight CK no 7740 which is presently standing at Minehead and would have to move soon to clear the turntable site in any event.

Updated: 10 April 2007 
Details from WSSRT
• Now Slim Jim stands in for the Rat...
© Jon Tooke
The recently arrived Class 33 no 33202 has been pressed into service on the West Somerset Railway. Following the failure of the Class 25 diesel electric no D7523 on Sunday 1 April, No 33202 - of a class nicknamed "Slim Jim" due to the narrower width specially designed for limited clearance lines in the South East of England - had been called in to provide locomotive haulage of the diesel diagram in the Green Timetable due to the unavailability of the DMU which is now, we hear, ready and in service. So the "Slim Jim" returns to support work...

Updated: 4 April 2007 
Details from WSR Plc and local correspondents

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