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WSR News from January 2005
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• Moods of the West Somerset Railway...
Moods © Don Bishop
"Moods of the West Somerset Railway" is to be a new addition to the established range of “Moods” books published by Halsgrove and aims to show Britain’s longest preserved private steam railway at its scenic best. Don Bishop has captured the line working through all the seasons over some fifteen years with a particular emphasis on “steam in the landscape” photographs showing the railway going about its business with the wonderful varied landscape around it. The book - featuring around 150 examples of Don's work - is due for a spring release...

30 January 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• No HST show after all...
Nose to nose ©Steve Huddy
Class 47 no 47150, rostered to haul the two HST power cars from Bristol to Minehead on 28 January, failed during its previous task and so the special working was cancelled. The power cars, no 43198 in Midland Mainline livery and no 43094 in Virgin Trains colours, will eventually join the HST vehicles, including a full length ex-Virgin set, which were delivered for storage last autumn. A new date for delivery has yet to be fixed.

28 January 2005 
Details from local correspondents

• Beatles on the Minehead Branch...
Beatles on WSR
A small group of supporters will be looking at ways of making more of the links between the Beatles and the Railway. As well as playing local concerts, the Fab Four were in West Somerset during the filming of the "train sequence" for their first film "A Hard Days Night". Possible ideas include a memorial feature at one of the stations and a through train mimicking the London-Minehead run of the film itself. More help is always welcome - by joining the team or helping with anecdotes or photos of the visit in 1964, please contact us by email. More about the Beatles...

26 January 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• Pride of the Great Western...
The 2005 Spring Steam Gala is themed "The Pride of the Great Western" and the Railway is pulling out all the stops to create a locomotive line-up to match the title! With an aim of having up to twelve GWR locomotives in action during the long weekend of 17-20 March 2005, guest engines confirmed include Nos 3440, 6024, 4936, 7822, 9466, 1450 and 4612, along with a "Castle". Resident GWR locos nos 5542, 5553, 6412 and 9351 will complete the picture. An event that GWR enthusiasts across the world will not want to miss - and neither will those who enjoy the sight and sound of steam working hard over Britain's best heritage railway...

8 December 2004 
Details from WSR plc

• WSR is "Independent Railway of the Year 2004"...
Dinmore Manor
At the Railway Heritage Awards ceremony on Tuesday 7 December at the Merchant Taylors' Hall in London, the West Somerset Railway was presented with the "Independent Railway of the Year 2004" award by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO. The annual awards are sponsored by the well-known publishers Ian Allan. Mark Smith, Managing Director of the Railway, adds "The award will have been made as a result of private visits by assessors travelling incognito, and thus reflects the greatest possible credit on all those who work on the trains, keep the stations looking up together, answer the phones, and most importantly make our visitors feel welcomed and valued as a matter of daily routine. It is a great privilege to be part of the award winning team, and I can but offer my heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all who have played their part in this splendid achievement." More...

7 December 2004 
Details from the MD's desk

• Cutting back...
Following the continuing work at Turks Castle, the Cutting Back crew move to Castle Hill over the weekend of 12-13 February, but starting at Stogumber with a trip down to the site on a works train. The area to be cleared is above a very steep rocky cutting and logs will be lowered onto the waiting wagons, with he train returning to Stogumber at the end of the day. Later, the annual Log Train will run on 26 February starting at Bishops Lydeard with he Elk flat wagons added to the loaded Castle Hill vehicles. With a late lunch at Williton, the Log Train will wait for a path between service trains before heading for the unloading spot at Dunster and a hasty retreat back to Lydeard. As ever, a lot of hands-on help is required and welcomed. Call the WSRA office on 01823 433856 for more details...

28 January 2005 
Details from WSRA

• Two more HST power cars...
Nose to nose @copy;Steve Huddy

We understand two HST power cars will be hauled to Minehead on 28 January by a Freightliner Class 47 on behalf of First Group. The power cars, no 43198 in Midland Mainline livery and no 43094 in Virgin Trains colours, will join the HST vehicles, including a full length ex-Virgin set, which were delivered for storage last autumn. A usually well informed and reliable source has advised that the Company has asked First to shunt the stored stock in order to make for ease of operation, and that this will include the forming up of a two plus seven set with two working power cars. Our source could not confirm whether this was in anticipation of the set being put to use - for the diesel gala, or a day out to York perhaps...

25 January 2005 
Details from local correspondents

• Goviers and Tokens...
Williton-Blue Anchor token machine @copy; Peter Darke
The PW Gang have finished replacing Goviers Lane Foot Crossing with new non-slip panels and the approaches have been re tarmaced. New fencing has been erected and when the site is cleared up it will look very smart. The S&T Gang need to return to complete the rewiring of the lights and track circuits and it should last another 25 years. Meanwhile GW Token Machines have been installed in Blue Anchor Signal Box together with a second block bell and most of the wiring underneath has been completed. The Blue Anchor and Crowcombe Token Machines have been installed in Williton Signal Box together with the Reed Equipment (from Minehead) which is now talking to the Reed equipment in Blue Anchor Signal Box. A certain amount of internal wiring still needs to be completed.

25 January 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• Pannier gets a lift...
Lift @copy; Keith Speller
The WSRA-owned ex-GWR 0-6-0PT no 6412 - undergoing routine maintenance - went up in the air on 25 January. This was the first lift carried out at Williton by the four Matteson jacks rescued from Bristol Bath Road. The driving wheelset has been removed for attention to the axle boxes and valve eccentrics.

25 January 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• Isabel...
Isabel © John Wood
To the casual observer, the events at the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust base at Washford on 22 January would suggest rebuilding locomotives can be done in a day as a kit of parts slowly became recognisable as Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0ST no 3437 "Isabel". The Stothert & Pitt steam crane no 312 was used to lift the various parts into place. However, the swift work on this stage of reconstruction belies the numerous tasks of a very professional restoration over many years.

22 January 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• News from Williton ..
D7523 © Jon Tooke
The Diesel & Electric Preservation Group have provided an useful update of the locos in their care. Class 25 no D7523 returned to traffic on 17 January following overhaul. Meantime, into the Works at Williton comes Class 14 D9526 for attention to the transmission. Next in the queue is Hymek D7017 for work on the defective cylinder head on the Maybach MD870 engine. Bad news for "Western" fans is that D1010 is not expected to be fit until well after the Diesel Gala in May. Now that D7523 is back in traffic, the Class 33 no D6566 will receive routine winter maintenance. Meantime, Class 03 no 03119 assists with yard movements. More...

20 January 2005 
Details from DEPG

• Lineside Pass fees frozen...
Good news for those photographers who want access to the non-public areas of the the Railway. The cost of a twelve month lineside photography pass is pegged at £19.00 - the same as last year. For members of the West Somerset Railway Association, the fee is just £13.00. Just the job for the thousands of photo opportunities that the West Somerset Railway offers in the coming season. More...

20 January 2005 
Pricing details from WSR Plc

• Toad...
Toad © Stuart Nelhams
Work has commenced on the overhaul of ex-GWR "Toad" Brake Van no 68765 in the Goods Shed at Dunster. Owned by the 813 Preservation Fund, it was last overhauled 10 years ago. Since then it has seen constant use on Permanent Way duties but is now destined to join the Heritage Freight fleet. Much of the body renovation involves replacing corroded metalwork along with much of the woodwork. Externally the Van will enjoy a repaint in the current grey livery with large GW initials. This is an excellent project for anyone with metalwork or carpentry skills - interested volunteers are encouraged make contact Stuart Nelhams through the Minehead office on 01643 7048996.

19 January 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• Association Matters...
The next Volunteers Day will be on Sunday 13 March 2005 at 10.45am starting at the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard before departing for Minehead at 12.25pm. Long before then, the next meeting of the Taunton Group of the West Somerset Railway Association is on 7 February when Callum MacLeod, who, as an enthusiast, was BR's Business Manager in the Highlands for some years. Callum's presentation - with plenty of illustrations - is appropriately titled "Railways of the Highlands".

17 January 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• A record year...
No 9351
The WSRA report "A record number of passengers were again carried on the Railway in 2004. The final total stood at 192,634 – an increase of 2.8% on 2003, which was itself a record year. Total revenue was also considerably up on budget. This provides further evidence – if, indeed, any was necessary – of the crucial role the WSR plays to tourism and the local economy, and rounds off a great year for the line, which recently received the Independent Railway of the Year Award".

2 January 2005 
Details from WSRA

• Tamper visits the Railway...
Tamper at Washford © Peter Darke
Amey Tamper no DB73905 "Eddie King" visited and worked on the line recently. It tamped the re-lay which was carried out in November on the Taunton side of Bishops Lydeard between Signal no 102 (Down Home Signal) and the Down Distant on Monday 10 January. Next day, it tamped part of Washford Bank. On Wednesday 12 January, the tamper worked a stretch of track between Watchet Bridge to just beyond the Mineral Line Bridge.

14 January 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• The Gangs...
Dunster headshunt & copy; Peter Darke
The PW Gang have started to extend the sidings at Dunster back towards Sea Lane Crossing. At some time in the future they will instal a point in place of the trap point in the yard and a short siding towards Dunster West Crossing. In the next few days, Goviers Lane Crossing at Watchet is lined up for renewal. Meanwhile, the S&T Gang have been hard at work with replacing cranks and compensators on the rodding run at Williton and various other small jobs such as replacing wind damaged signal arms. Token working between Blue Anchor and Williton is scheduled to come into use over the weekend of 5-6 February with much rewiring presently underway at each end. On the Operating side, ballast has been moved for the Dunster works and also to other various locations; and also two coaches have been taken from Minehead to Lydeard for disposal. Trains of one sort or another have been running every day.

14 January 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• Job vacancy...
The West Somerset Railway Plc have a job vacancy for a person to join the civil engineering team maintaining the Railway's track and buildings. For details of this job please call in at Minehead Railway Station or telephone on 01643 704996.

11 January 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• The Pride of the Great Western...
City of Truro
The West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala has established itself as one of the heritage railway events of the year. The 2005 event promises to live up to the high quality successful Spring Galas over recent years. A four day feast of West Country steam! The theme of the Railway’s 2005 Spring Steam Gala will be “The Pride of the Great Western” and up to twelve engines of Swindon Pedigree will be in steam. Full details of the Gala including timetables are now available. More...

7 January 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• Cable laying...
Cable laying © JA
The Railway has begun to lay cables along the Crowcombe Heathfield to Bishops Lydeard section - a distance of around four miles. Around 1500 metres of sixteen core signal cable and a telephone cable was laid on the first day. This work continues the improvements to the signalling and communications along the twenty mile branch line. Volunteers are required for the remaining work so if you fancy a day out in the Somerset countryside, contact the Railway on 01643 704996.

<6 January 2005 
Details from local correspondent

• Sleeping giant stirs...
No 9038 © JA
The Journal of the WSRA reports good progress with the ex-GWR Sleeping Car no 9038 which is nearing the end of a lengthy restoration. In fact the coach has not run for seventy five years. Plans to start painting, lining and lettering are good indictators of progress. Also, replica washbasins are being acquired and installed thanks to a grant from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council's PRISM fund.

6 January 2005 
Details from WSRA

• Membership growing...
Good news from the West Somerset Railway Association who tell us that membership has topped the 4000 mark for the first time ever. The current figure is 4034. Interest in the Railway has been boosted by the Norton Fitzwarren developments and the conversion of Prairie no 5193 into Mogul no 9351. Full details of membership to the Association can be found on the WSRA website.

1 January 2005 
Details from WSRA


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