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WSR News from November 2005
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• No 88 returns...
No 88
 
SDJR 2-8-0 no 88 has made a very welcome return to steam on the West Somerset Railway. On Saturday 26 November, the loco attended a mutual improvement class event at Washford with around forty footplatemen enjoying trips between Bilbrook and Bye Farm. No 9351 also attended as Thunderbird but was not needed. Later the two locos went up to Bishops Lydeard. Next day, and with seasonal snow still lying around, the 2-8-0 headed the first of the 2005 Santa Specials to Crowcombe Heathfield to the delight of passengers, staff and Somerset & Dorset Railway enthusiasts everywhere...

27 November 2005 
Details from local correspondents and WSR Plc

• Allerford Junction...
Allerford Junction
 
The Railway Permanent Way gang have started constructing Allerford Junction. A new lead, costing £25000 has been purchased, delivered and will be installed during the next few days near milepost 165¾, continuing as a spur parallel to the running line, under Norton Bridge and terminating at a point where, eventually, the spur will strike southwards into the new land and form the western chord of the Norton Triangle. The WSRA Board and the David Holmes, Cutting Back Leader, express their thanks for a massive turnout of 32 volunteers including members of the WSRA Permanent Way gang, for the cutting back operation the previous weekend which made the current engineering work possible.

20 November 2005 
Details from WSRA and WSR Plc

• Shoppers Specials...
DMU
 
The West Somerset Railway will be running special diesel railcar trains between Williton and Minehead on 25 November and 9 December as part of the late-night shopping evenings in Minehead. The trains will leave Williton at 5.30pm and will call at Watchet at 5.37, Washford at 5.44, Blue Anchor at 5.51, Dunster at 5.58 and arrive in Minehead at 6.05pm. The return train will leave Minehead at 9.15pm. The flat fare to travel on the train will be £2.00 for adults and senior citizens and £1.00 for children from all stations. WSR Managing Director Mark Smith commented "Running special diesel trains for late night shopping in Minehead is becoming almost as much a regular part of late autumn on the WSR as the Dunster By Candlelight trains coming in and the Santa trains brightening up the dark weekends."

20 November 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• Steam visitors for 2006...
34057 © Paul Sharpe
 
Streamlined Battle of Britain Pacific no 34067 "Tangmere" is due to arrive in Minehead on Saturday 18 March 2006 at the head of an excursion train organised by Past-Time Rail from London as the West Somerset Railway’s Spring Steam Gala 2006 gets underway. After working the train in the air-smoothed Pacific will be guesting for the rest of that weekend and between 23-26 March as the WSR marks the 40th anniversary of the closure of the Somerset and Dorset Railway. Meanwhile, LMS 4F 0-6-0 no 44422, which spent part of its British Railways career based at Templecombe and working trains on the Somerset and Dorset proper, has been confirmed as a guest engine for the 2006 Spring Steam Gala.

18 November 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• Railways round Exmoor...
Railways round Exmoor
 
In a new initiative to increase the attractions of Exmoor three heritage railways are joining forces in a joint marketing and ticketing venture for 2006. The three railways concerned are the twenty mile long West Somerset, the water powered Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway which links the twin towns, and the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway which has begun to rebuild the narrow gauge line which closed in 1935 and is presently running trains from Woody Bay station towards Parracombe. The tickets are priced at £16 for adults and senior citizens and £8 for children aged 5 to 15 and can be bought from the railway’s booking offices or in advance from the West Somerset Railway, The Railway Station, Minehead, TA24 5BG.

17 November 2005 
Details from WSR Plc

• Logs and more logs...
NLOgs © Malcolm Anderson
 
Hundreds of logs were loaded and unloaded by a magnificent turnout of forty Log Train volunteers on 12 November. The logs - the results of several weeks activity by the Railway's Cutting Back Gang - were taken to Dunster for collection by a timber merchant. Not content with one hard day's work, around 32 volunteers turned up the following day for a working party at Norton Bridge, clearing away undergrowth in readiness for the installation of the lead for the new Norton spur during the winter months.

13 November 2005 
Details from WSRA

• Large Prairie takes shape...
No 4160 © SDR
 
GWR-designed Large Prairie 2-6-2 no 4160 is starting to look like an engine again in the South Devon Railway workshops at Buckfastleigh. The overhaul is being carried out for the owners 4160 Ltd, whose locomotive is normally based on the West Somerset Railway. The boiler returned from the LNWR Workshops at Crewe recently and is now back in the frames complete with a new hopper ashpan. The boiler cladding has been fitted, including new front shoulders for the firebox to replace the non-standard ones that were fitted at its last overhaul. This will very much improve the visual appearance of the engine. The left hand side tank has been refitted and the right hand one will follow soon, after the vacuum pump has been refitted - a job done much more easily with the tank off. The cab roof will complete the nearing completion look. Late spring/early summer would seem to be a likely target date for completion.

12 November 2005 
Details from SDR

• News about the other eight-coupled...
No 3850 © DMLL
 
With the smokebox door now fitted, GWR 2-8-0 no 3850 is looking almost complete. There are a few parts still to be fitted, but the locomotive should steam within the week. Then there is a lot of painting to be finished before the classic GWR heavy goods loco returns to the WSR. Visit the Dinmore Manor Locomotive Limited website for a running commentary on the restoration of this powerful engine...

11 November 2005 
Details from DMLL and local correspondent

• A tamper this way comes...
Tamper
 
A tamper has, again, been hired to attend to various locations along the line. The machine made its way down Minehead, when on 9 November, the main platform road was dealt with, along with the bay siding no 1. The next day, the tamper was due to visit Ker Moor and the lower part of Washford Bank. Other spots were also due for a visit as the machine worked up the line towards Bishops Lydeard. It will leave the Railway on 11 November.

9 November 2005 
Details from WSR plc

• The WSRA Grand Draw...
WSRA Draw © Malc Stacey
 
The West Somerset Railway Association Grand Draw raised in excess of £25,000 towards the Norton Triangle. The new lead is on order and a substantial part of the money raised will go on acquisition and installation. The draw was made by the WSRA Chairman, Humphrey Davies, at 4.00pm on Sunday 30 October 2005 at Bishops Lydeard Station, the first prize of £1000 going to a lady from Twickenham. A WSRA spokesman commented "We had a great team of on-train raffle sellers and they have done us proud, we also had great support from the WSRA membership and without the efforts of all involved the triangle would be that much further away.".

9 November 2005 
Details from WSRA

• The Drinking Fountain...
Fountain
 
The drinking fountain on Minehead platform has sprung a leak last week and is now in the Friends of Minehead Station workshop. The fountain has the words "Macfarlanes Patent" on the left hand side and "Saracen Foundry, Glasgow" on the right. FOMS research reveals Walter Macfarlane and Company's Saracen Foundry was a famous foundry specialising in ornate cast iron work which was exported all over the world from 1849-1965. Macfarlane's products included drinking fountains, bandstands, lamp standards, pre-fabricated buildings and architectural features. Other local examples include the ornamental gates at Taunton's Vivary Park (1895) and the Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain in Vivary Park (1907). They were also one of three foundries casting the famous red K6 telephone boxes. But strangely no mention of their work for the GWR...

8 November 2005 
Details from FOMS

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