An unofficial website featuring the West Somerset Railway

Latest news

An 'Open Morning' for prospective volunteers

WSR

The West Somerset Railway is holding an open day for prospective volunteers on 30 October 2021 at Bishops Lydeard Station.

Anyone who has ever considered becoming a volunteer heritage railway worker or maybe fulfilling childhood ambitions of getting actively involved in the romantic world of running steam trains will find a warm welcome awaits on the West Somerset Railway (WSR) at the end of this month when the 20-mile line holds an 'Open Morning' for prospective new workers.

As the WSR nears the end of what has been a very busy summer holiday period, and one in which volunteers have played a crucial role in the railway's slow recovery from Covid 19, the WSR is now seeking new people who might be interested in volunteering on the line to come along to the 'Open Morning' at Bishops Lydeard station, near Taunton, between 10am and 2pm on Saturday 30 October 2021.

The 'Open Morning' presents a great opportunity to find out about volunteering on the WSR in general and to speak to some existing railway volunteers in different departments and organisations about their many different roles along the line. Volunteers have kept the WSR going for the last 45 years since the line re-opened as a heritage railway in 1976, and there are almost 1,000 regular workers today but more are always needed.

More information and contact details

18 October 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The return of the Christmas Market to Minehead Station

WSR

The Friends of Minehead Station announce the return of the Christmas Market to the platforms of Minehead Station.

Minehead Station Christmas Market is set to be held on 27 November 2021. Hosted by the Friends of Minehead Station, this annual event is back after being absent due to covid last year. Watchet Town Band will be providing live music and Santa will be on hand from around midday. We have a variety of stallholders selling locally made produce. The Turntable Cafe, Readers Halt second hand bookstall, and the Station Gift Shop will be open.

Friends of Minehead Station

17 October 2021
Details kindly provided by Friends of Minehead Station

Summary of latest WSRA Trustee Meeting published

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association have published a summary of the Trustee Board's recent meeting held on 12 October 2021.

Items discussed include 4561; Quantock Belle; Covered accommodation; Rolling stock agreements; WSR Plc AGM; Trustee resignation; and PDG.

Please click the button below to read the summary on the Association website.

Summary

15 October 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

WSRA announce resignation of a Trustee

WSR

An announcement by West Somerset Railway Association:

The WSRA Trustees have, with regret, accepted the resignation of Robin White as Trustee with immediate effect. Robin has been volunteering on the West Somerset Railway for over 40 years. Her contributions are many and varied and include operational duties such as guarding, signalling and acting as RO as well as serving on the WSRA board. Robin's knowledge and skills will be very much missed and the Trustees wish her well with her commitments elsewhere.

13 October 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

Don't miss the last WSR 'Hymek' hauled train of 2021

WSR

The magnificent Class 35 'Hymek' no D7018 will head its last 'excursion' train of 2021 on this coming Saturday, 16 October. For this run, the Hymek will be hauling five coaches instead of the three of its previous excursions and will include an extended run to Norton Fitzwarren. Tickets are available via the link below, on the day from the booking office at Bishops Lydeard Station, or from the Travelling Ticket Inspector aboard the train. The diesel-hauled trains run in collaboration with the Williton-based Diesel & Electric Preservation Group.

Full details and booking Diesel & Electric Preservation Group

13 October 2021
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

News of a Photo Walk and Train Adventure

WSR

The Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme have arranged a Photo Walk and Train Adventure for 19 October 2021. Here's what they say:

We will head off on the heritage railway from Bishops Lydeard Station (nr Taunton) and cross the countryside by train to Stogumber, taking in the extraordinary views at the foothills of the Quantock Hills AONB. After a quick tour of the station from WSR staff, we will head off on a Photo Walk across countryside footpaths to Crowcombe Heathfield Station, where we have another tour and return train journey arranged to Bishops Lydeard.

Full details and booking

10 October 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

WSR Plc AGM Questions & Answers

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Plc fielded a number of questions at their recent Annual General Meeting and have made available the answers in the form of a Questions and Answers document.

Please note the original Plc spreadsheet has been converted to a word document using copy/paste, with a new layout, then checked, and finally saved as a PDF document for download here.

Download the Q&A PDF

8 October 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Seaward Way Level Crossing

WSR

The article in the WSR's latest 'The Platform' newsletter mentions the date of 21 October being the target for the handover of the all-new Seaward Way Level Crossing by contractors to the Railway, but this does not mean that the WSR is able to run passenger trains from this date. Final clearances have to be undertaken with both Somerset County Council and the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) along with completing the all-important staff training and competency testing for those railway staff using the new crossing, which is totally different to the one it replaced, plus completion of the nearby track relay works too.

The WSR is coming to the end of the current operating season and then will focus on getting everything ready for the 'Santa Express' and 'Winterlights' festive trains. As a result, Seaward Way Level Crossing will not see passenger trains running from Minehead this year other than occasional stock moves, testing and training. Regular normal operations should start early in Spring 2022. The Railway is looking towards restoring its usual services from Minehead for 2022 and understands and apologises for any disappointment some local people will feel about this, but the Railway has had no choice in following this approach.

7 October 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Tickets selling fast for 'Winterlights' and 'Santa Express'

WSR

Just over a month after launching the WSR's Christmas programme with the traditional 'Santa Express' from Bishops Lydeard to Williton trains and new 'Winterlights' services between Bishops Lydeard and Crowcombe, both seasonal products have been eagerly snapped up by people keen to travel this festive season with 5,734 tickets having been sold and bringing in over £114,312 in much needed income and well ahead of expectations.

The 'Santa Express' bookings so far are encouraging with 1,979 tickets sold with a value of £39,710, and 'Winterlights' has done spectacularly well with 3,755 tickets sold with a value of £74,682.

'Winterlights' - full details and booking 'Santa Express' - full details and booking

7 October 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The 2021 Autumn Steam Gala

WSR

Last weekend's Autumn Steam Gala from 2-4 October 2021 - the first such event in two years - featuring all four home-based WSR steam engines was popular despite the weather with 1,071 passengers travelling and revenue of over £20,000 too. Whilst numbers were down on previous events, the Gala was a big morale booster for WSR staff and a PR success in proving the WSR is alive and well, and going in the right direction again.

The locos used were WSR mogul no 9351, Large Prairie no 5199, Manors nos 7822 Foxcote Manor and 7828 Odney Manor plus some of the mainline diesels providing top and tail support for those trains serving Dunster.

Given the much reduced 'cast' with no visiting locos, the Railway admit the passenger figures were not expected to be huge, however, the event washed its face for sure and it was good to see so many trains running again along the line and people enjoying the show.

6 October 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Carhampton road works may affect WSR staff and visitors

WSR

WSR staff and visitors need to be aware of major road works on the A39 which might affect access between Minehead and Blue Anchor Stations. For three weeks from 11 October 2021, the road will be closed at Carhampton Cross. This is the busy junction with the B3191 Blue Anchor road which will may also be closed at this point during the works. Closure times vary as works progress. A very lengthy official diversion via the Brendon Hills and Dunster is in place. Folks are strongly advised to read the West Somerset Free Press article for the closure details. Trains are not affected.

The Free Press article

2 October 2021
Details kindly provided via local correspondents

WSR Heritage Trust appoint new Museums Curator

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust has announced that Ian Camp has been appointed as Museums Curator for both the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard and the Blue Anchor Museum. The Trust continue...

Ian has a strong background in Sales and Marketing and has already spent many days as a volunteer overseer and guide at the Gauge Museum in recent months. We are delighted that Ian has agreed to take on this role and wish him well as we look to extend the Gauge Museum and expand our museum collections even further in future. For any enquiries, Ian can be reached via the WSRHT's contact email address info@wsrht.co.uk

We would also like to express grateful thanks to Geoff Evens for his previous tenure as Gauge Museum curator which has seen many excellent new innovative features added to the museum, and to thank Alan Smithers for providing recent support and curatorship for the Blue Anchor Museum.

1 October 2021
Details kindly provided via West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust

Advance warning signs up at Seaward Way Crossing

WSR

Signs have been placed either side of Seaward Way Crossing advising pedestrians and drivers of imminent temporary closure. The signs read:

Advance Warning - Works Here - Traffic signals in place throughout with overnight full road closures on 4th, 11th & 19th October 2021.

This is good news for the Railway and for the town of Minehead.

29 September 2021
Details kindly provided by local correspondents

The WSR Autumn Steam Gala 1-3 October 2021

WSR

All of the four home-based steam fleet of former GWR locos are expected to be in action with GWR liveried Large Prairie no 5199, Mogul no 9351 and Manors no 7822 Foxcote Manor and no 7828 Odney Manor, plus one diesel - probably the Hymek - to give a reasonable gala service level and that will give a distinct British Railways Western Region branch line feel. All subject to availability, of course.

  • Four steam locos and one diesel loco
  • Busy timetable
  • Fish and Chip Evening Special
  • Breakfast on the Quantock Belle
  • Heritage bus link between Dunster and Minehead

For full details and online booking click the button below to head over to the official WSR website.

Full details and online booking Timetable (updated 28 Sep at 18:55)

28 September 2021
Details kindly provided via West Somerset Railway Plc

Inch by IN:CH at Gauge Museum on BBC Somerset Radio

WSR

@Somerset Cool visited the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard Station on 26 September 2021 and later tweeted about the visit and a forthcoming radio feature on BBC Radio Somerset due to be broadcast from 6pm on Wednesday 28 September:

Great to visit @InchbyINCH10 yesterday for the finale of their travelling exhibition at @WSomRailway - @SAW_Somerset Open Studios venue 16. We recorded a chat for my arts #radioshow tomorrow from 6pm on @bbcsomerset, when you can hear how I got on at shadow drawing too!

The Gauge Museum - run by West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust - is hosting the Inch by IN:CH art exhibition which opened on Saturday 25 September 2021 and will be on until Sunday 3 October.

Inch by In:ch BBC Radio Somerset West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust

28 September 2021
Details kindly provided via West Somerset Railway Plc

Second-hand model railway sale at Watchet Station

WSR

Steve Sutherland writes:

Watchet Station is having a sale of second-hand model railway equipment on Saturday 2 October from 10am to 3pm in the Pagoda waiting room. This is on the Steam Gala weekend. We have a selection of Engines, Coaches, Wagons, Track, Model Cars, and accessories in OO-N-HO- and O gauge tinplate, plus lots of Railway Books and Magazines. This is our last fundraising sale this year. Don't miss it.

All sales items donated to our Station to help us raise funds for repairs and maintenance of our Station. Free entrance - more info from Steve 01984 633425

27 September 2021
Details kindly provided by the Friends of Watchet Station

Art exhibition at the Gauge Museum

WSR

The Gauge Museum is hosting the Inch by IN:CH art exhibition which opened on Saturday 25 September 2021 and will be on until Sunday 3 October.

This afternoon - Sunday 26 September - is the first workshop which is free. Participants will be able to make sculptures and shadow drawings using wire, clay, newspaper and recycled materials. The artists will guide the use these materials as inspiration to draw sculpted shadows, enhanced by dramatic lighting, using inks and graphite. Suitable for adults and children (accompanied) and part of Somerset Open Studios and Big Draw events.

Inch by In:ch

26 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust

The September 2021 edition of The Platform now available

WSR

Lots of really useful topical information about the West Somerset Railway can be found in the September 2021 edition of the new electronic newsletter. Topics include:

  • Message from the WSR Plc Chairman
  • Message from the Assistant General Manager
  • Board and Staff changes
  • Minehead Seaward Way Level Crossing
  • News from Minehead Station
  • News from the WSRA
  • News from the West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust
  • News in brief
  • News fron the DEPG
  • West Somerset Railway 2021 Funding Appeal

Click or tap the button below to view a PDF version of the full 'The Platform' newsletter...

View 'The Platform' September 2021

24 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Free workshop!

WSR

This Sunday's 'Sculpture and Shadow' drawing workshop from 2pm to 4pm at the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard is free! It's a chance to experiment and have fun with the exhibition organisers, Inch by In:ch, from Bath who are curating the exhibition in the Gauge Museum that runs from Saturday 25 September to Sunday 3 October (11am to 5pm each day, except Monday 27 September).

Book via Eventbrite (see button below) - the £5 booking/materials cost will be re-imbursed when you come to the workshop!

Book via Eventbrite Inch by In:ch

24 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust

Railcam's 'Drivers Eye' Series filmed on the WSR

WSR

Railcam.uk - the folks who provide and host the station webcams on the West Somerset Railway - have announced a series of videos of the Railway filmed from the front lamp brackets:

Coming this Friday 24 September, we begin rolling out the first videos from our West Somerset Railway 'Drivers Eye' camera. A total of twenty videos will be premiered over ten days and will cover the entire railway in both directions, including the Norton Fitzwarren run-around.

British Railways Western Region 'Manor' Class 4-6-0 no 7828 Odney Manor takes us from Bishops Lydeard to Dunster. The first eight videos of the series, capture station to station coverage along the line, with two videos premiered each day.

The following twelve videos will feature coverage captured from the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group's (DEPG) Class 33 'Crompton' locomotives, D6566 and D6575. D6575 will take us from Dunster to Bishops Lydeard, where we hand over to D6566 for the Bishops Lydeard to Bishops Lydeard section via Norton Fitzwarren, featuring the rarely seen by passengers, Norton Fitzwarren run-around.

The videos will premiere twice daily from this coming Friday (24 September), kicking off with part one at 5pm, followed by part two at 7pm. This pattern will continue through ten days as we cover the entire line from the locomotive lamp brackets!

News from Railcam Railcam's YouTube Channel

22 September 2021
Details kindly provided by Railcam.uk

Breakfast available on some Gala trains in October

WSR
Illustrative only.

Breakfast is available - for advance bookings only - aboard the Quantock Belle dining cars, which will be attached to some trains during the WSR Autumn Steam Gala 1-3 October 2021. A full English Breakfast will be available on each of the three Gala days as follows:

Friday 1 October 2021
9.35am Bishops Lydeard - Blue Anchor
11.15am Blue Anchor - Bishops Lydeard
Saturday 2 October 2021
9.35am Bishops Lydeard - Blue Anchor
11.15am Blue Anchor - Norton Fitzwarren
Sunday 3 October 2021
9.35am Bishops Lydeard - Blue Anchor
11.15am Blue Anchor - Norton Fitzwarren

The breakfast menu for this event is Orange Juice, Fried Egg, Lean Back Bacon, Pork Sausage, Black Pudding, Hash Browns, Baked Beans and Tomato Toast and Marmalade,Tea or Coffee with free refill.

Please note that a valid Gala travel ticket and a valid Gala breakfast ticket is required. Both tickets must share the same date.

To book a Gala breakfast ticket, go to the official page and click the Buy Online button next to the Gala travel ticket options, even if a valid Gala ticket has already been purchased.

Autumn Steam Gala - Details and Booking Autumn Steam Gala - Train Times

22 September 2021
Details kindly provided via West Somerset Railway Plc

Appointments of Infrastructure Advisers to WSR Plc Board

WSR

The West Somerset Railway is pleased to announce the new appointment of two engineering specialists. Paul Dawkins and Shaun Hodges are to be appointed as Board Advisers, with a view to becoming Board Directors in the near future. Paul and Shaun bring very considerable experience in the field of civil and infrastructure engineering. Both are professional railwaymen and continue to work on the main line railway. Their skills and expertise are complementary and their presence on the railway will provide substantial additional authority and expertise to the critical field of infrastructure engineering. These appointments are consequent on the withdrawal of John Gibbins through ill health, and to whom their Board extend their thanks and warm good wishes.

Paul Dawkins is a Chartered civil engineer by profession and over several years has developed multi-disciplinary technical skills and has extensive operational and asset management expertise. Paul commenced his career with the Southern Region of the then British Railways, before moving to supervise construction elements of the Thames Barrier. He has then spent forty years managing heavy and light railway-based projects in the UK, Ireland and overseas. Internationally he has worked on railway developments in various countries in Africa, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. More recently in the UK he has been working, for example, on Crossrail and the Welsh Valley Lines upgrade project.

Shaun Hodges is currently Operations Manager for a major rail infrastructure company with a responsibility for safe delivery of rail systems across Wales, the Western and Wessex areas. His responsibility includes track, civils, control systems, power and electric traction systems. Shaun is a chartered engineer and has several years’ experience across the mainline network, working both as a contracting engineer and for successive periods at a senior level for various mainline railway contractors. Shaun is well known around the West Somerset Railway having previous been Chief Civil Engineer (a staff post) from 2009 - 2011 and then a volunteer Director from 2011 to 2013, during which periods he made a considerable contribution.

Paul and Shaun will divide infrastructure responsibilities between them on a clearly delineated basis according to their respective expertise, but will both become substantive PLC Board Directors, following a successful period as Board Advisers.

22 September 2021
Details kindly provided via West Somerset Railway Plc

Art Exhibition at the Gauge Museum

WSR

The Gauge Museum at BL will be hosting an exhibition of drawings and sculptures in suitcases, with some hands on opportunities for aspiring artists, from Saturday 25 September to Sunday 3 October. See the Trust website for details of workshops and drawing classes and links to book places. Entry is free but classes involve a small charge and need to be pre-booked.

The museum is the last calling point of a travelling exhibition and is part of Somerset Open Studios and curated by Inch by In:ch.

The Trust website Inch by In:ch

21 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust

New appointments at the Mechanical Engineering Dept

WSR

Following a review of the WSR Plc's Mechanical Engineering Department, a new management structure has been put in place which is effective from Monday 20 September 2021.

Ryan Pope is confirmed as the new Head of Mechanical Engineering for the WSR Plc. Ryan has worked on the West Somerset Railway since 2012, working his way up to his most recent post of Engineering Foreman at the Williton engineering works.

Richard Hiscox is now the new Deputy Head of Mechanical Engineering for the WSR Plc. Richard first started work on the railway as a tracker in 2005, and he too has worked his way up the ranks to his most recent post of Mechanical Foreman at the Minehead workshop.

Both Ryan and Richard will be supported by Andy Palk in his new role as Running Foreman, along with Andrew Hurley as Carriage and Wagon Engineer and Merv Hebditch as Locomotive Running Superintendent.

Commenting on these appointments, WSR Plc Mechanical Engineering Director Bob Meanley said:

Rather than resorting to external recruitment, which sometimes can have less than satisfactory results, this promotion of a relatively young team is the result of their hard work over a number of years, and will hopefully stand the railway in good stead for many more years to come.

21 September 2021
Details kindly provided via West Somerset Railway Plc

Construction of new tender no T2061 progressing well

WSR

On Saturday 18 September 2021, the volunteers building the new tender - no T2061 - for GWR 4-6-0 no 7828 Odney Manor started the lengthy task of rivetting components and frames at Minehead. Steve Ryall's picture above shows a row of half-inch rivets holding the new tender tank to the bottom rail after a long hot day for volunteers, Andey Forster, Paul Orrells and Dave Hurd. More pictures are currently towatds the top of on Topical Pictures page.

The Topical Pictures page

19 September 2021
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

Autotrailer no 169 section three floor framework

WSR

The folks rebuilding - almost from scratch - GWR Autotrailer no 169 have again updated their 'news and restoration' blog:

Following on from yesterday's successful operation to remove the tempory cover from the carriage we followed up with a very productive day first fitting the framework of section 3 of the carriage. We were confident the section in isolation was 'good to go' but until today we had not had the opportunity to see how well it fitted the existing bodywork. Well, by about midday just about all our fears were a distant memory and we were very happy with the outcome. The photographs show most of the woodwork in question with one or 2 small pieces omitted that still require final finishing. Because we can only mark the final fixing holes from underneath we will need to address that before final fixing can take place. We will then be able to erect the bodywork sides before tackling further roof hoop manufacture.

To see the pictures and more reports, please visit the blog:

Autotrailer 169 News and Restoration Blog 5542 Ltd

17 September 2021
Details kindly provided by 5542 Ltd

WSR SOS appeal and Christmas trains bookings

WSR

Some very positive news to report from the West Somerset Railway this week with the line's £1 million 'SOS' appeal having now passed the £50,000 marker (actual £50,464.11), so 10% of the initial £500K target this Winter and so 5% of the full figure.

The WSR is looking to increase this figure rapidly now with the help of a new fundraising drive to push donations in different ways, plus some specific infrastructure projects that the line's two support charities can support too towards the appeal.

And just a fortnight after launching the WSR's Christmas programme on Bank Holiday Monday 30 August with the traditional Santa Express and new Winterlights trains, both seasonal products have been eagerly snapped up by people keen to travel this festive season with 2,650 tickets having been sold and bringing in over £55,500 in much needed income.

The Santa Express bookings so far are encouraging with 650 tickets sold with a value of £13,000, and Winterlights has done spectacularly well with 2,000 tickets sold with a value of £42,500, and some trains have already sold out.

Some further good financial news was shared with the WSR's volunteer and paid workforce too this week in a letter circulated to staff from WSR plc Chairman Jon Jones-Pratt which shows that the company's trading figures for July were well ahead of where they were expected to be after some very good summer trading, and August is promising too - the results for July show a profit of £49,503 compared to a budgeted loss of £29,036 for example!

The WSR held a successful 1940s event last weekend 11-12 September with wartime scenes and vehicles of the era recreated all along the line at many stations, along with people dressed in period costumes and uniforms, and the highlight was the big band dance at Minehead on Saturday evening featuring the Liberty Sisters and Deane Big band, attended by some 200 people.

This weekend see the WSR's Mixed Traction event with diesel and steam on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 September (see button link below) and then there will be the all-steam Autumn Steam Gala to follow on Friday 1 to Sunday 3 October (see button link below).

The WSR is still hopeful that the delayed opening of the new Seaward Way Level Crossing will take place in October, but news of that will follow in a further update soon.

Mixed Traction Weekend Autumn Steam Gala

14 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Railcam.uk will be at the Mixed Traction Weekend

WSR

Railcam.uk will be at the Mixed Traction Weekend on 17-18 September 2021. They say:

Railcam are delighted to be joining the West Somerset Railway and The Diesel and Electric Preservation Group for the upcoming Mixed Traction Weekend where we hope to bring you some behind the scenes footage throughout the two days, and beyond…

You can keep up with all the action across our extensive camera coverage from the railway, with cameras at Bishops Lydeard, the beautiful Blue Anchor, Crowcombe Heathfield, Minehead (No services currently serving Minehead) and Williton.

We are also throwing open all our West Somerset Railway cameras on our YouTube Channel for the event [click the News from Railcam button below for details].

News from Railcam Full details and online booking

14 September 2021
Details kindly provided by Railcam.uk

Model Railway Sales at Watchet Station

WSR

The folks at Watchet Railway Station write:

Watchet Station is having a sale of second-hand Model Railway equipment on Saturday 18 September from 10am to 3pm in the Pagoda Waiting Room. This is on the Mixed Traction Weekend. We have a selection of Engines, Coaches, Wagons, Track, and accessories in OO-N-HO and O gauge tinplate, plus lots of Railway Books and Magazines.

All sales items donated to our Station to help us raise funds for repairs and maintenance of our Station. Free entrance. More info from Steve on 01984 633425

13 September 2021
Details kindly provided by the Friends of Watchet Station

Change of date for 'Hymek' Diesel Running Day

WSR

The Diesel & Electric Preservation Group have alerted folks to a change of date for the 'Extended Diesel Running Day' featuring Class 35 'Hymek' no D7018:

The return to the mainline on the 25 September of the Diesel Traction Group's Class 52 no D1015 Western Champion from Gloucester to Kingswear and return, has naturally drawn the attention of many hydraulic fans and supporters, with the result that bookings on the WSR's 'Extended Diesel Running Day' featuring diesel hydraulic 'Hymek' no D7018, scheduled for that same day, are too low to make the run viable.

An alternative day has been offered to the DEPG for the 'Hymek' run, so we are now planning to run 'Hymek' no D7018 on the same itinerary but on Saturday 16 October 2021 instead. If you have already made a booking for the 25 September run, we apologise for the inconvenience and we ask for your understanding. The WSR will be in touch with you soon to change your booking, so we hope to see you on 16 October instead.

Book now

13 September 2021
Details kindly provided by Diesel & Electric Preservation Group

Buses to Bishops Lydeard Station on Sunday 12 September

WSR

News of a vintage bus service from Taunton Castle Way to the Railway's Bishops Lydeard Station. This bus service forms part of the 2021 Taunton Bus Running Day on 12 September 2021 and seems a late addition to the already announced vintage bus services between Taunton and Sheppy's Cider and Wellington. It coincides with the second day of the WSR 1940s Weekend. To support the 1940s theme it seems all buses operating are half-cab types.

Taunton Bus Running Day 2021 Bus Services

10 September 2021
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

The West Somerset Railway 1940s Weekend

WSR

The WSR's 1940s Weekend is on Saturday 11 September and Sunday 12 September 2021. The big event is the Saturday Dance at Minehead Station featuring Liberty Sisters, Johnny Victory, 'Laurel & Hardy' and 'George Formby'. Also to enjoy are the Vintage Fair at Watchet and re-enactor displays at Bishops Lydeard. Tickets for the Dance are available now - see below. The WSR say:

Dance tickets are limited and there will be a cut-off to sales on Friday. Can't wait to see you all there!

Full details and online booking

7 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Just two weeks to the Mixed Traction Weekend event

WSR

The WSR's Gala Planning Team say:

We are now just two weeks away from our first gala event since late 2019 - the 'Mixed Traction Weekend' on Friday 17 September and Saturday 18 September, when we will be running an intensive timetable of trains with many hauled by some of our home fleet of diesels, owned and maintained by the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group (DEPG), harking back to the late 1960s with Hymek hauled trains, just as they often were on the Minehead branch at that time, and our two Green Class 33s giving a Southern Region feel. Alongside them will be steam locos nos 7828 Odney Manor and 5199, with the latter working two coach locals between Bishops Lydeard and Williton on the Saturday. There is also an evening 'sunset' train hauled by the Hymek D7018 on the Saturday from Bishops Lydeard to Blue Anchor and return.

Normal Rover tickets are available with the ability to 'hop on/off' trains as you please along the line to enjoy haulage by the various locos as you wish.

There will be a second hand model railway sale at Williton and model railways in both the gauge museum and the Taunton Model Railway Group's clubroom, with the excellent Bath Green Park layout, at Bishops Lydeard.

Although trains won't be able to run through to Minehead, due to works to replace the level crossing, a heritage bus link will operate from Dunster.

So come along and support the WSR and its return to galas and enjoy a relaxing day riding on our heritage trains through some wonderful scenery.

Full details and online booking

7 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The latest WSR SOS Appeal total

WSR

The official update for the West Somerset Railway Plc's £1M 'SOS' appeal shows the current total at £46,832.77 - almost 10% of the £500K needed this Winter and nearly 5% of the total target figure of £1 million. Thanks to all who have helped so far. Please help if you can.

Donation page

6 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

News from the folks at WSR Wagons

WSR

The folks at WSR Wagons report on their Facebook page:

A few more jobs ticked off the list this week on GWR Toad no 68765. The left hand side has received a complete final coat. This meant the signwriting could be started. We've gone for the smaller GW lettering this time, making a nice change and a preservation first for this van to carry this livery.

Seb and Jake set their sights on our next project: GWR Z3 'cone' gunpowder van 105493, also owned by the GWR 813 Preservation Fund. This wagon was restored about 10 years ago but, similar with the Toad, the sun and sea air are beginning to get to it.

Seb and Jake completed a full axlebox pad exam whilst cleaning up the underkeeps and topping all 4 axleboxes up with fresh oil. Jake also helped me with the tracing of the signwriting, ready to aid in the reapplication when the time comes.

This weekend is the West Somerset Railway 1940s weekend. Unfortunately this year the goods will not be running due to the Seaward Way level crossing being unusable and all of the wagons being on the wrong side. However we plan to put a small goods train together and position it in the platform at Minehead. We also hope to have the Toad out of the shed on display.

WSR Wagons Facebook Page GWR 813 Fund website

6 September 2021
Details kindly provided by WSR Wagons

News of Autotrailer no 169

WSR

The folks working on GWR Autotrailer no 169 report:

On 4 September 2021 the completion of the first of four doors for the luggage compartment of GWR Autotrailer no 169. Built virtually from scratch, this door has been constructed by copying the best of the remaining original and although it will require fettling and detail added the major construction is complete. Next, we will construct the second of this pair which will include a 'closing' stile. This will be the one that closes first and the first door closes against it. Also, door handles expertly created by our resident engineer from a range of spare parts. Hopefully, we will be able to show our recent progress to all those visiting the WSR gala on 1 to 3 October. Come and find us at Williton Yard.

Autotrailer no 169 blog

6 September 2021
Details kindly provided by Locomotive 5542 Ltd

WSR Plc 2021 Annual General Meeting papers issued

WSR

Shareholders have started to receive the formal papers for the West Somerset Railway Plc's forty ninth Annual General Meeting to be held on Saturday 25 September 2021 at Oake Manor Golf Club beginning at 11am.

3 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

A handy preview of the forthcoming SOS appeal update

WSR

Ahead of the official update, early next week, for the West Somerset Railway Plc's £1M 'SOS' appeal, we understand the current running total has passed the £43,000 mark.

2 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Mixed Traction Weekend timetables now available

WSR

The WSR's Gala Planning Team say:

We are pleased to be able to release our 2021 Mixed Traction Weekend timetables for Friday 17 September and Saturday 18th September. We hope you are able to pay us a visit! Tickets are available to book at a discount [see link button below]. Highlights include:

  • Four locomotives in action on Friday. Five on Saturday
  • A short local service hauled by GWR 2-6-2T 5199 making three return trips Bishops Lydeard - Williton on the Saturday
  • Top and Tailed Class 33s on a full length set on the Friday. Over 110 miles available.
  • Two runs to Norton Fitzwarren on the Friday. Five runs on Saturday (dependent on occupancy of the Bishops Lydeard - Norton Fitzwarren section by the mainline ballast train operation)
  • 64 miles of 'Hymek Haulage' available on Friday with Saturday allowing 85 miles
  • Two Saturday afternoon/evening trips, one hauled by D6575 and the other by D7018
  • Bus connections to Minehead from Dunster

Full details and online booking Timetable for Friday Timetable for Saturday

1 September 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust's upcoming events

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust is pleased and excited to announce that, this Autumn, they will be hosting the Inch by IN:CH exhibition: a highly successful artist-led travelling project that is currently touring Somerset. Encouraging collaboration, imagination and playfulness, the exhibition aims to bring contemporary art out of the gallery and into the community through a series of small-scale visual stories and carefully planned community and family events throughout the week.

The exhibition culminates in an exciting family weekend of activities on 2nd – 3rd October, which coincides with the national Big Draw and invites visitors of all ages to come and try their hand at creating their own art. Taking place in our newly refurbished Gauge Museum, Bishops Lydeard, between 11 – 5 pm from the 25th September – 3rd October, the exhibition is free to enter, but bookings will be required for some of the events, and there is a small fee for materials. For further information, or to enquire, please email us at info@wsrht.co.uk

Full details on the Heritage Trust website Inch by IN:CH

31 August 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust

Seaward Way Crossing - a brief update

WSR

WSR Plc Director Frank Courtney has kindly provided a brief update to a question posted on the unofficial WSR Forum concerning progress on the Seaward Way Level Crossing upgrade project. It is this project that has prevented trains from reaching Minehead this summer. Here is Frank's reply to the Forum:

Work is continuing. Phase 1 (which is mainly WSR delivered and concerns wiring and signalling) is nearly complete. Main contractors for Phase 2 (Amey) are on site. The work is extremely complex and there have been some equipment sourcing delays due to a combination of Covid and Brexit. Most up to date information and pictures is on wsr.org.uk and there will be a longer update in the next issue of 'The Platform' due shortly.

30 August 2021
Details kindly provided via the Unofficial WSR Forum

WSR announces news of trains for Christmas 2021

WSR

As the West Somerset Railway (WSR) nears the end of what has been a very busy, and much needed summer holiday period, planning for the WSR's Christmas plans is now well underway, including a brand new event for this year called Winterlights which runs on evenings.

In addition to the WSR's traditional Santa Express daytime services from Bishops Lydeard to Williton which will run on ten dates from early December, a new series of 14 Winterlights evening trains will be running too with the steam loco and carriages lit up, plus there will be some festive visual displays along the line to see during the journey from Bishops Lydeard to Crowcombe.

Winterlights services will run from mid-November, twice a night, and tickets go on sale today priced the same as the Santa Express trains at £20.00 a head with full details of both on the WSR website at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk (see links below)

The Winterlights programme starts on Friday 19 November and Saturday 20 November, and next on 26 and 27 November, then Friday 3 and Saturday 4 December, and weekends on 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, plus 21, 22 and 23 December.

Santa Express trains will start on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December, and then run on weekends of 11, 12, 18, 19 and then in Christmas week on 21, 22, 23 and 24 December.

Commenting on the WSR's 2021 Christmas trains programme, WSR Assistant General Manager Kerry Noble said:

We expect our Winterlights trains to be popular with visitors and our workers alike as something new and a different, illuminating experience on the line. Our Christmas trains are vital to us because they provide a good income boost which assists us greatly in getting through the fallow winter period.

Running successful events on the WSR always takes a lot of planning and effort, but none of this is achievable without the continuing help of our amazing team of volunteers and staff, many of whom have been working so hard to get us through the busy summer period.

Santa Express - full details and online booking Winterlights - full details and online booking

23 August 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Exmoor Coast Railway Modellers holding mini-exhibition

WSR

The Exmoor Coast Railway Modellers are holding a mini-exhibition/open day on Saturday 30 October at their Minehead club room from 10.30am to 3.00pm. There will be around seven layouts, plus sales stands, demonstrations and displays. Light refreshments will be available and free parking is available right outside the door. Admission is just £1 per adult, and a child under 16 is free. The venue is The Sainsbury Community Hall, Sainsbury Road, Minehead TA24 8JZ

22 August 2021
Details kindly provided by Exmoor Coast Railway Modellers

Latest Journal and WSRA Annual General Meeting

WSR

Members of the West Somerset Railway Association are right now receiving the latest WSR Journal (no 174) along with the papers for the 26th Association Annual General Meeting (AGM).

This year the AGM is being held at Crowcombe Village Hall at 10am on Saturday 4 September 2021. Members unable to attend will have the opportunity to view proceedings online via the Zoom virtual meeting app.

Registration - required for attendance in person and for access to the online viewing function - can be done by completing the proxy voting form. This form can be completed by hand and returned by post, or preferably, completed online via the WSRA members area of the Association's website, an extremely quick and efficient method.

The WSR Association website Crowcombe Village Hall on Google Maps

21 August 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

Recent news

Recent tweets