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WSR News from August 2007
• An interesting year so far says the GM...
Even the gardens are well cared for
 
An interesting year so far says the General Manager. Writing in the monthly newsletter, Paul Conibeare discusses the increase in traffic on and off the main line such as the Minehead-Bristol service the"Butlins Express" and regular freight traffic to and from the works at Norton Fitzwarren. Mention too of the popularity of the Railway's special events, the huge numbers of visitors not just good for the Railway but a welcome boost to the local economy. The good progress is due to the "tremendous work put in by so many and the great spirit maintained on the Railway". Elsewhere in the newsletter is good news about the passenger figures which stood at 113,130 at the end of July compared with 102,486 at the same time in the record year of 2006.

18 August 2007 
Details from WSR Plc

• East Wharf - a view from the WSR Plc...
Watchet
 
The WSR Plc have made a brief statement concerning the revised plans for the development of the East Wharf at Watchet. WSR Plc Chairman, Chris Austin comments "The company is monitoring the development proposals closely, and has already lodged an objection to the planning application. Whilst welcoming the opportunities the development may bring to the town, and to the Railway, we are concerned at the increased use of Goviers Lane Crossing that will result, as well as additional traffic on the road bridge at the Minehead end of the station. We believe that the changes will require funding from the developer to improve the crossing or provide a footbridge, and to provide protecting crash barriers on the bridge, which has already had a number of strikes from badly driven road vehicles. These points will be put to the planning inquiry in September."

16 August 2007 
Details from WSR Plc

• A visit by ATOC...
Geoff Evens © Jane Rowe
 
A group from Association of Train Operating Companies enjoyed a visit to the West Somerset Railway on Friday 10 August. Accompanied by WSR Plc Chairman, Chris Austin, managers from ATOC's Rail Planning Team and Press Office viewed the token release machine at Taunton Station, the new works at Norton Fitzwarren and a tour around the Tarmac Shed at Williton, ably guided by Works Administrator, Geoff Evens, all washed down by a trip along the line.

16 August 2007 
Details from WSR Plc

• Revised plans issued for East Wharf...
Watchet
 
New plans appear to have been released for the East Wharf development. A report on the Somerset County Gazette website, describes a number of changes to the original proposals which drew many complaints from Watchet townsfolk. It seems the removal of the Watchet Boat Museum, housed in the old railway goods shed next to Watchet Station, has been dropped. An intriguing new item is a "landscaped roof terrace will connect the marina with the platform of Watchet Station." No graphics or plans are available at present to help us visualise the new proposals. The West Somerset Railway is, of course, quite central to the whole environment, and in its earlier years played considerable part in the history of the East Wharf.

15 August 2007 
Details from local correspondent and Somerset County Gazette

• Buy your ticket at a TIC...
6412
 
Now you can buy your West Somerset Railway Rover Tickets from local Tourist Information Centres. This could help avoid the queues at the booking office when you arive at the railway station. The following Tourist Information Centres are selling WSR Day Rovers for Adults, Seniors, Children and Families, and three (marked *) are also selling WSR Gift Vouchers - Street* Taunton* Glastonbury* Bridgwater Burnham-on-Sea Lynton Porlock Tiverton and Weston-super-Mare.

15 August 2007 
Details from WSR Plc

• Get the bus to the show...
Heritage bus at Dunster
 
The West Somerset Railway will be running a vintage bus link on Friday 17 August from Dunster Station to offer visitors to the annual Dunster Show. An opportunity to avoid the Show traffic on the road and to visit the popular Exmoor event by means of steam train and a bus from the fleet of Quantock Heritage Services. "We have been running the bus for the Show for a number of years now", said WSR General Manager Paul Conibeare, "and it has become an established part of many visitor’s day out, giving them a chance to enjoy the views of the summer countryside as they travel to and from the event. We expect it to make another contribution to what has been a very good year for us to date".

14 August 2007 
Details from WSR Plc

• Foundation work at Stogumber...
Stogumber © Aaron Manley
 
Waiting no more - work is under way at Stogumber. The wooden waiting room has been completely dismantled and work has now begun on improving the foundations. An awkward site to work, built as it is on the side of a very steep embankment which drops all the way to the lane in the valley bottom. Not much of the original woodwork will be salvaged but we understand the rebuilding will result in a building styled very much in keeping with the old structure.

13 August 2007 
Details from local correspondent

• The Friends of Minehead Station...
Portacabins
 
As ever, the Friends of Minehead Station are engaged in a wide range of activities. At the formal end of things, a new constitution and rules have been agreed. Meantime, changes are afoot with the various facilities used by FoMS due to the imminent works connected with the turntable installation. The existing carpenters shop will need to demolished and the facilities will be removed to one of the two new portacabins now in position alongside the bay sidings. The Bookstall seems to be doing a roaring trade and on line for a record-breaking year for takings. A well-attended, successful summer fayre was held at the Methodist Church Hall. The turntable works have already affected progress of the Minehead gardeners so work has moved up the line to help Donald Askew, lengthsman for the Seaward Way to Alcombe Crossing section, with removal of invasive shrubbery and also creating visibility splays around the footpath crossing. More about FoMS...

10 August 2007 
Details from FoMS

• No 4561 heads its birthplace...
No 4561
 
No 4561 heads for its birthplace. At Williton, on the evening of 6 August, the West Somerset Railway Association's ex-GWR 2-6-2T no 4561 was winched onto a road low loader before heading off next day to Swindon. No 4561 will be appear at the STEAM Musuem based in the former Great Western Railway locomotive works where the "Small Prairie" was built in 1924. In line with WSRA loco policy, priority is given to completion of Braunton and its tender, and the 10 year overhaul of GWR 0-6-0PT no 6412. A year long stay at STEAM will provide an ideal undercover showcase, whilst waiting its own turn for overhaul...

Updated 7 August 2007 
Details from WSRA

• Proposed Museum and Carriage Shed..
Proposed Museum and Carriage Shed
 
The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust has revealed proposed plans for a new Museum and Carriage Shed at Bishops Lydeard. In a message on the Trust website, Heritage Carriages Project Director, Robin White explains "The scheme provides the opportunity for a number of facilities which will directly assist the railway in its tourist activities aimed at preserving a classic Great Western Branch Line. The present museum is bursting at the seems and cannot be brought up to full modern museum standards in its current building. The Heritage Carriage Project cannot make progress without a weather tight building big enough to take two seven-coach trains and the Trust's other vehicles such as the unique and beautiful 1897 Sleeping Car. The Railway Company needs the operational space to handle more through trains and needs the extra heritage carriages to cope with increasing demand. The other enhanced tourist facilities - café, cycle hire etc, along with the museum will make Bishops Lydeard more of a destination for visitors from the Minehead end of the line and will provide more for visitors to do between train departures from Bishops Lydeard. " Full details including plans and drawings at www.wssrt.co.uk.

Updated 4 August 2007 
Details from WSSRT

• Download the West Somerset Railway!
Just Trains
 
The West Somerset Railway is joining the Just Trains download fleet. Now you can get these fantastic expansions for Microsoft Train Simulator delivered straight to your desktop for just £14.99. Hop aboard the picturesque West Somerset Railway and travel along all 23 miles of this beautiful line from Norton Fitzwarren to Minehead. Three diesel and two steam locomotives in the correct liveries are included, along with authentic scenery, stations, rolling stock, sounds and 20 different activities that accurately reflect the railway in operation. Virtual drivers can even choose to work to the actual operating timetable, pulling a rake of coaches up the notorious Washford Bank incline or coasting down to the coast at Watchet. The Severn Valley Railway expansion is also now downloadable. Full details at: www.justtrains.net...

Updated 1 August 2007 
Details from Just Trains

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