Spring Steam Gala 19, 20 and 24 to 27 March 2011
Celebrating 35 years of the West Somerset Railway...
The West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala has established itself as one of the heritage railway events of the year, visited by several thousand people each year. The 2011 event promises to live up to the very high quality successful Steam Galas held over recent years, and this year will be staged over two long weekends – six days in total. If you have never sampled a WSR Spring Steam Gala you just don’t know what you’re missing!
The Spring Steam Gala 2011 celebrates 35 years of the West Somerset Railway operating over the former Taunton to Minehead Branch of British Rail.
The ever popular Spring Gala this year will see the return of some of the locomotive types associated with the Minehead branch over the last thirty five years as well as new types not seen before on the line.
The Spring Steam Gala will run over two weekends – Saturday, Sunday 19-20 March and Thursday to Sunday 24-27 March 2011.
Please note that further details may be added to this page from time to time.
Please note other trains - empty coaching stock, goods trains, light engines, charter trains - may run. Details will be found in the Working Timetables published with the Souvenir Programme.
The WSRA has funded the hire of Autocoach no 167 from the Llangollen Railway. One of the last autocoach workings in Somerset was behind 64xx Pannier Tanks on the Yeovil Town-Yeovil Junction services.
Plans for the workings of No 6430 and the Auto Trailer during the Gala have been announced. On the weekends, the Auto Train will work between Bishops Lydeard and Norton Fitzwarren as far as the 165¼ milepost. The Auto Trains will stop to set down and pick up at Norton Fitzwarren Platform although passengers will not be able to leave the Platform. On Wednesday 23 March, in addition to the published Red Timetable, the Auto will leave Bishops Lydeard at 11am and run to Minehead. In the afternoon it will make two round trips to Watchet, leaving Minehead at 1.10pm and 3.10pm. On Thursday 24 March and Friday 25 March the Auto will shuttle between Minehead and Dunster, leaving Minehead on the arrival of down trains from Bishops Lydeard. On Friday 25 March it will leave Minehead at 6pm as an extra passenger working for Bishops Lydeard.
Bar and buffet facilities will be available throughout the Gala on most trains serving a very good range of high quality hot and cold food, tea, coffee and a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
At Bishops Lydeard, light refreshments will be on offer in the Wheel Tappers Buffet in the Shop. The Turntable Cafe at Minehead will be selling a range of hot and cold drinks and snacks. There will also be food vans at Bishops Lydeard, Williton, Watchet and Minehead.
Light refreshments will also be available at Blue Anchor, Stogumber and Crowcombe Heathfield.
Museums and Model Railways...
The Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard, Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust museum at Washford, and Blue Anchor Railway Museum will all be open. Trackwork display at Crowcombe Heathfield. The Taunton Model Railway Group’s base at Bishops Lydeard will also be open (small separate admission charge payable).
The sheds at both Minehead and Williton will be open during the Gala - a unique opportunity, as access is normally very restricted to the public on safety grounds.
Minehead shed will be open between 10am and 5pm on both Saturdays and both Sundays. (admission charge of £1 per person). Come and see engines resting on shed in between their duties and visit the workshop and view work on the overhaul of BR(W) Manor Class 4-6-0 no 7828 Odney Manor.
Williton DEPG Diesel Depot Visior Centre and Yard will be open every day of the Gala from 10am to 5pm (admission by donation). Several heritage diesel locomotives will be berthed on the depot plus the standby steam locomotive.
The West Somerset Restoration at the Swindon Shed, Williton will be open from 10am to 5pm on both Saturdays and Sundays (admission by donation). You will have the chance to see the engineering base of the WSRA where progress can be viewed on various projects.
Following successful trials last year, you will be able to see steam locomotives turned on our fully restored former GWR locomotive turntable. A feature that was common in the days of mainline steam 40 years ago, yet rarely found on today’s heritage steam railways. The bonus at Minehead is that you can stand on the platform or viewing area, or have a cuppa at the Station Kiosk, and watch or photograph the locomotives turn from almost every possible angle.
The turning times for each day:
|· ||GWR 4-6-0 no 7812 Erlestoke Manor [** see note below]
|· ||BR 4-6-2 no 70000 Britannia
|· ||SR 4-6-0 no 777 Sir Lamiel
|· ||GWR 2-8-0 no 2807
|· ||GWR 0-6-0PT no 6430
|· ||GWR 4-6-0 no 6024 King Edward I [* see note below]
|· ||WSR 2-6-0 no 9351
|· ||GWR 2-6-2T no 5553
|· ||SDJR 2-8-0 no 88
|· ||BR(W) 2-6-2T no 4160
** We understand No 7812 has failed (flue tube problem) and will take no further part in the Gala
* We understand No 6024 will take part in the second weekend 26 and 27 March.
All the above is believed correct as at 21 March 2011 and listed in good faith. Not all engines will be working each day. All engines are, of course, subject to availability.
Details to follow...
A reminder that access to the lineside and other areas away from the public areas is restricted to those with a valid Lineside Photography Permit. More information...
Souvenir Programme and Working Timetable...
The colour souvenir programme which will include the complete working timetable and locomotive rosters for all six days will be available from 14 March from Minehead and at all stations during the event and priced at £3.00 per copy. Also available for purchase online.
Free bus services - Bishops Lydeard and Taunton
A special free bus service operated on behalf of the Railway linking Taunton Railway Station, the Park and Ride car park at Silk Mill and Bishops Lydeard Station will run every 20 mins on Gala Saturdays, every 30 mins other Gala days, starting at 9am from Taunton Railway Station. The last bus will leave Bishops Lydeard Station at 7.30pm.
Location of bus stop at Taunton Railway Station:
The free bus service will stop for WSR passengers under the Taunton Station Bridge each day. Those coming off Taunton Railway Station, simply leave the station and follow the pavement round to the overbridge - there is no need to cross the road.
Location of Silk Mill Park and Ride:
The Silk Mill Park and Ride is on the west side of Taunton.
Other bus services
The First Bus service collects from the down side of Taunton Station at 16 and 46 minutes past the hour except Sunday when it runs at 35 minutes past only. The details about the First Bus are provided here for information only. Please note you will need to pay to travel on the First Bus services.
The Railway's principal shops at Minehead and Bishops Lydeard will both be open throughout the Gala – offering a wide range of gifts, souvenirs, books, videos etc – and shops at several of the intermediate stations will also be open. The excellent Reader’s Halt bookstall, situated on the platform at Minehead, will also be open. A small number of sales and information stands will also be present.
Rover Tickets allow you the complete freedom of the line and purchasing them is the best way of enjoying the Gala.
Rover Tickets for this event are now online:
Please note that no privilege ticket, free pass and voucher facilities are valid at the Spring Steam Gala. Special event fares apply to all passengers. Discounts are available on Rover Tickets purchased in advance.
Rover Tickets allow you the complete freedom of the line and purchasing them is the best way of enjoying the Gala. One, Two, Four and Six Day Rover Tickets will be available. Rover Tickets for the Spring Steam Gala are now online (see above).
"Get you Home Service" - the Railway' official website says "Included in the cost of your Spring Steam Gala Ticket is the 'Get you Home Service'. On Monday 21st and Monday 28th March a bus will run from Minehead to Taunton station (in replacement of the DMU)." The pick up locations and departure times are Minehead Station 9.30am, Dunster A39 Bus Stop 9.35am, Blue Anchor Station 9.41am, Washford Station 9.47am, Watchet Bus Stop 9.55am, Williton Spar Bus Stop 10.02am and then arrival at Taunton Station at 10.20am
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|21 Mar 2011|
No 7812 has failed and will take no further part in the Gala
|15 Mar 2011|
No 6024 King Edward I now booked for latter stages of the Gala
|15 Mar 2011|
No 34036 Braunton is now unavailable for the entire Gala
|12 Mar 2011|
Souvenir Programme and Working Timetable available for purchase online
|12 Mar 2011|
Bus replaces DMU on the "Get you home service"
|10 Mar 2011|
No Braunton for first weekend
|10 Mar 2011|
Norton Shuttle will not travel on the Triangle
|10 Mar 2011|
Dunster shunt on 19, 20 and 26 March only
|9 Mar 2011|
Kilmersdon will not be shunting at Washford during the Gala
|2 Mar 2011|
Online ordering for Rover Tickets
|1 Mar 2011|
GWR 2-6-2T no 5521 withdrawn from the event
|28 Feb 2011|
GWR 2-8-0 no 2807 booked for the event
|22 Feb 2011|
Auto Train workings announced
|31 Jan 2011|
Engineering works on the main line west of Taunton will affect main line services to and from Taunton. Check National Rail website.
|27 Jan 2011|
Railway hopes to run Norton Steam Shuttles
|27 Jan 2011|
Changes to timetables - no Stogumber stop for certain Up trains at Gala weekends.
|21 Jan 2011|
Nos 4160 and 5521 added to the line up.
|21 Jan 2011|
Autocoach no 167 booked
|20 Jan 2011|
No 777 announced as replacement for No 6201
|18 Jan 2011|
No 6201 will not be attending the Gala
|13 Jan 2011|
Souvenir Programme and Working Timetable available from 14 March
|4 Jan 2011|
Timetables now available.
|4 Jan 2010|
Initial details announced
|4 Jan 2011|
Lineside Photo Permits
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