An unofficial website featuring the West Somerset Railway

Latest news

Changes for Doniford and for the 2018 Yellow Timetable

WSR

Following a review of passenger usage of Doniford Station, the West Somerset Railway's Head of Operations, Richard Jones, has announced from 25 July - and for the remainder of 2018 season - Doniford will revert to being a request stop, with the additional proviso that throughout the operation of the 2018 Yellow Timetable all Up trains departing from Minehead after 2pm are required to make a mandatory stop.

Richard has also announced changes to the 2018 Yellow Timetable as from 25 July mainly affecting the departure and arrival times of some services. Notable changes include the 10.15am from Bishops Lydeard will depart at 10.25am, making a more comfortable connection with the 10.16am arrival of the bus from Taunton; the 2.15pm from Bishops Lydeard and the 2.15pm from Minehead are retimed to depart at 2.25pm and 2.20pm respectively. It may take a day or two for the online timetables to be amended.

18 July 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Update from the Steam and Vintage Rally

WSR

The Rally Team say:

We are all looking forward to another fun weekend at the Rally on 4 & 5 August. Why not take advantage of our online ticket offer: Two days for the price of one. (Adults £12, seniors £10) This offer is only available in advance, and will close before the Rally. So why not follow the link in the button below now.

Or, perhaps, travel to the 2018 Steam and Vintage Rally on 4 and 5 August by train at a special price. The Rally Team explain:

We have arranged a special early train on both days. You can buy an inclusive ticket on the train for £25 Adults or Seniors, £7.50 for Children. The early train will give you lots of time to enjoy the Rally, as well as a ride through the countryside. The timings are shown below.

Departure timeSaturday 4 AugustSunday 5 August
Minehead9am9.20am
Blue Anchor9.14am9.34am
Watchet9.29am9.52am
Williton9.36am9.59am
Crowcombe Heathfield9.56am 10.32am
Bishops Lydeard10.06am10.42am
Arrive at the Rally10.20am10.53am
ReturnAny train up to 5pm from Rally Any train up to 4pm from Rally

Steam and Vintage Rally

18 July 2018
Details kindly provided by Steam and Vintage Rally

Stogumber Cattle Dock Project - the next working party

WSR

A reminder that the next working party will be this coming weekend - 21 and 21 July 2018. The object is to clean the vegetation off the top surface of the Dock following the successful last working party which achieved that for the access ramp. The working party will be on site from 10am to 4pm both days and all offers of help are welcome as long as you can wield a spade or a mattock.

Stogumber Station

18 July 2018
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

Stogumber Station hosts local Ladies and Girls Group

WSR

The Stogumber Ladies and Girls Group Summer Social was held on Tuesday 17 July 2018 at the local railway station. The evening started with a glass of prosecco at Stogumber Station and a talk by Station Master Bob Preston about the work of maintaining and manning the Station and the current project to restore the cattle dock.

The party then moved to the lawn of Station House where refreshments were served and two teams competed in a close and hilarious game of croquet under the direction of Station House resident Robin Moira White. The teams played as 'Great Britain' (red white and blue balls) and 'Jamaica' (black yellow and green balls). Great Britain triumphed with a winning shot played by team captain Sarah.

Stogumber Station

18 July 2018
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

Gateway project at West Somerset College features WSR

WSR

On his personal blog, the WSR Plc Chairman, Ian Coleby, describes an interesting project:

I had a very interesting day today. As part of their 'Gateway' project, Careers South West ran a two-day business development exercise at West Somerset College in Minehead. The premise was that the WSR requires to develop its station at Bishops Lydeard. The young people at the college were split into teams of about 6 or 7 people and given the project brief, they had to come up with a development plan which then had to be presented back to the tutors and railway representatives.

Click the button below to read the full account.

Steaming Along West Somerset College

16 July 2018
Details gleaned from the 'Steaming Along' blog

BBC Antiques Roadshow part two to be screened on 15 July

WSR

The BBC's popular 'Antiques Roadshow' to be screened on Sunday 15 July features the second part of the event held at Minehead Railway Station in May 2017.

14 July 2018
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

WSR Association 2018 AGM draft minutes published

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association have published the draft minutes of the recent Annual General Meeting held on 7 July 2018.

Draft minutes

13 July 2018
Details kindly provided by local correspondent

HLF grant for Gauge Museum approved

WSR

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust has heard on the morning of 12 July 2018 that its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a £40,000 grant to re-launch the Gauge Museum and develop its educational activities has been approved. The Trust will be putting £20,000 of its own resources into the project. Chris Austin, Trust Chairman, said:

We are naturally delighted that, after our initial application last year was turned down, the HLF has recognised the heritage benefits of our proposals. The work developing our ideas over the past year has clearly paid off. Now for the hard work of delivering the project!

The Trustees will be discussing next steps at the Board meeting on Monday. Further details will be posted on the Trust website once the final Project Plan has been agreed.

12 Jul 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

West Somerset Railway supports Cancer Research UK

WSR

On 20 July 2018, Cancer Research UK will offer a ticket to ride behind a steam locomotive between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead station on the West Somerset Railway. The return journey will also include a delicious, locally sourced Cream Tea. The event will be hosted by Bridgwater Friends of Cancer Research UK. All proceeds of ticket sales will be going directly to Cancer Research UK, to help support their life-saving research. Cancer Research UK's local fundraising manager Becky Trout, says:

We can't thank Paul and the West Somerset Railway team enough for their commitment to helping Cancer Research UK beat cancer sooner. It's going to be a fantastic trip. Thank you also to our brilliant Bridgwater Friends volunteers who are hosting the event!

The West Somerset Railway's General Manager Paul Conibeare adds:

We are delighted to welcome Cancer Research UK to our railway. We have offered the use of our train services to help support the fight against cancer which affects so many people.

Information and Booking

10 Jul 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The Steam Trust at local WW1 Commemorative Event

WSR

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust was invited to the Dunkirk Memorial House WW1 Commemorative Event on Saturday 7 July 2018. The Trust's Geoff Evens explains:

Our message was linked to the use of ambulance trains during the conflict and the WSSRT Churchward Toplight TK no 3639 that was built in 1908 and converted to an ambulance coach in 1916 and deployed to France. The WSSRT featured a volunteer appropriately dressed for the occasion.

The Steam Trust

10 Jul 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

WSR 1940s Weekend: an update

WSR

Andy Norman, WSR's lead on the local community driven 1940s weekend on 15 and 16 September 2018 has provided a useful and comprehensive update on the preparations and planned attractions. Please use the link below to read the update. There's also a link to the trader and participant form.

1940s Weekend Update Trader and Participant Form

9 Jul 2018
Details kindly provided by the organisers of the WSR 1940s Weekend

Dinmore Manor returns for the high summer

WSR

The ever-popular Dinmore Manor will soon, subject to the usual caveats, return to the West Somerset metals. No 7820 is due to arrive on 20 July and the aim is for the loco to be in service on 23 July. The Manor is due to stay until the Autumn Steam Gala at the end of September.

5 Jul 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Help need with leaflet drops in local villages and towns

WSR

Rodney Greenway, WSR Plc Director for Volunteers, writes:

I'm looking for people willing to spend a couple of hours delivering 'Volunteering on the WSR' leaflets to properties in villages and towns along the route of the WSR. You can do a specific street or area or you can do a whole town - the choice is yours. We need to have the leaflets out ASAP as we are short of volunteers on the Railway and this could be your chance to help. Please contact rodney.greenway@wsrail.net and we can arrange for the leaflets to be delivered to you. We are hoping that targeted drops will help to bolster the volunteers at stations and departments along the line.

The WSR is pleased to announce that with immediate affect that to show the appreciation to our dedicated volunteers any volunteer who holds a full staff ID will be able to take a 'plus 1' on any scheduled train for £5. Volunteers give a lot to the Railway and we believe that volunteers will welcome this move by the Railway.

Volunteering on the Railway

4 Jul 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

WSR Infrastructure Engineering Department Open Day

WSR

Join the West Somerset Railway Infrastructure Engineering Department for coffee and cake at their open day on either Sunday 22 July or Monday 23 July at 3pm. The afternoon will consist of a brief presentation regarding the Infrastruture and Engineering department, offering an insight into the work that they do and giving any interested parties the opportunity to meet the team and ask any questions. The event will take place at Blackmore House, Station Farm, Bishops Lydeard, and will form part of the official opening of the venue. For more information, please contact ieadmin@wsrail.net

2 Jul 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Cattle dock works at Stogumber on 30 June and 1 July 2018

WSR

The first working party of the project to refurbish the Stogumber cattle dock was held over the weekend of 30 June and 1 July. The work tackled was the clearing of the slope up to the dock and the access to that. This involved digging out some tenacious shrubs; extracting the concrete posts installed to fence off the access ramp when the dock was closed; clearing the vegetation off the slope; regrading it to a proper profile, removing the 'hump' where the slope 'lands' on the station yard; and grass seeding the cleaned ramp. The next working party will be 21-22 July from 10am to 4pm, when it is hoped more normal weather will be experienced. More hands welcome. Please use the button link below to read the full report.

Full report The Stogumber Station website

2 July 2018
Details kindly provided by local correspondents

The WSR Plc Chairman's address to shareholders

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Plc's Annual General Meeting was held on 23 June 2018 at the Hobby Horse in Minehead. The formal business covered approval of the accounts, election of directors, appointment of auditors, and was followed by an informal question and answer session. Some very perceptive questions were asked and some very good points raised. The minutes of the AGM are now being finalised and will be put on the official website when ready, along with details of the Q&A sessions. Meantime, the Plc Chairman, Ian Coleby, has kindly provided a link to his personal blog and a link to his AGM address.

The 'Steaming Along' blog The Plc Chairman's address

30 June 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Development plans for Watchet's East Quay approved

WSR

West Somerset Council have approved the local company Onion Collective's plans to develop part of East Quay at Watchet. East Quay is adjacent to the West Somerset Railway. The quay - once rail-connected - was built by the original WSR company and later developed by the GWR into a busy working harbour, before eventual closure in the 1980s. The theme of the proposals do not, sadly, seem to reflect either the maritime or railway heritage of the East Quay.

The West Somerset Railway was formally consulted and in a letter, the Railway expressed its support for the venture but raised concerns for a possible increase in footfall across nearby Goviers Lane Crossing. The Council's report suggests there will be no significant increase. At least one media report mentions the concerns being solved by the introduction of 'safety gates to restrict access' but this is not menioned in the Council's report.

West Somerset Council BBC news item

30 June 2018
Details kindly provided by local correspondents

The 2019 West Somerset Railway Calendar now available

WSR

The Buffer Stop Shop at Minehead Station have announced the 2019 West Somerset Railway Calendar is now available.

Hot off the press...West Somerset Railway Calendar 2019. A month per page featuring an original painting by artist Sue Podbery £8.00 Printed and produced in the U.K. Available from the Buffer Stop Shop, Minehead Station 01643 700387

30 June 2018
Details gleaned from Buffer Stop Shop Facebook page

Three old Westward TV news clips featuring the WSR

WSR
British Film Institute

Nick Jones, the first Operating Superintendent of the West Somerset Railway, has unearthed three TV clips made by the much missed Westward TV in the mid 1970s. Each clip features Westward TV's John Doyle along with interviews and scenes from the Railway. The TV clips are now available online thanks to the British Film Institute. The first clip shows Westward TV reporter John Doyle at a dilapidated Blue Anchor station on the West Somerset Railway ahead of the reopening of the line as the longest heritage railway in England; in the second clip, John Doyle returns to announce a reshuffle at the West Somerset Railway...the Company has failed in its attempt to run a commuter railway service on the Bishops Lydeard to Minehead line; and in the third clip, John Doyle visits Taunton Railway station to interview two representatives of the West Somerset Railway Company on averting closure.

Westward TV - clip one Westward TV - clip two Westward TV - clip three

27 June 2018
Details kindly provided by local correspondent and from British Film Institute

More good news about the WSR's Annual Pass

WSR

The West Somerset Railway have announced more good news about the Annual Pass:

Great news - we've listened to your feedback and have added the option to purchase an additional child pass when you purchase one of our family annual passes!

If you have travelled with us within the last seven days, you can exchange your train ticket for the equivalent discount against your annual pass.

If you have bought a local residents pass within the last three months, you can upgrade this to the annual pass.

Full details of the Annual Pass

26 June 2018
Details gleaned from the West Somerset Railway Facebook page

Success for new timbers funding appeal for brake van

WSR

The WSR Wagon Restoration Group's Ken Davidge reports:

We have bettered our funding appeal target for the brake van woodwork and will be closing the donation page. Many, many thanks for all your help. We were well over and having discovered seven floor planks were rotten and replacements have been ordered. What great things we can achieve when we work together. We will be on site again on Wednesday with the new tools for rubbing down and five litres of undercoat. By 3pm, the brake should be mostly white...

All seems on target for completion later this summer, well before the '1940s Weekend' on 15 and 16 September.

26 June 2018
Details from the WSR Wagon Restoration Group

Alan Bines

WSR

Bob Preston has some sad news about Alan Bines:

Following a recent illness Alan sadly passed away on Wednesday 20 June.

He was the Station Master at Stogumber Station for the last three years where he was highly thought of by all of its volunteers. Both the railway and the station were a huge part of Alan's life and he will be sadly missed by all. Our thoughts at this moment go to Maggie, his wife, who is also a volunteer at the station.

Alan's funeral will be held on Thursday 12 July at Taunton Crematorium at 1pm.

25 June 2018
Details from the Friends of Stogumber Station

The West Somerset Railway Journal no 161 published

WSR

The West Somerset Railway Association have published the WSR Journal no 161. This edition's special features include articles about the 2018 Steam & Vintage Rally; a view from the footplate; the WSR 1940s weekend; the proposed West Somerset Light Railway; and the Collett no 6705. All the regular features about stations, locomotives, news, special events are included along with the Letter from the WSR Chairman and news from the Groups.

Online tickets for the Steam Rally

25 June 2018
Details from the official West Somerset Railway Association

Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust awarded £15K

WSR

From the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust's Facebook page:

Today, we have received the news that our application for £15,000 of resilience funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been successful. This is fantastic news as this will enable us to employ consultants to improve on the retail and marketing aspects of our operations at Washford, as well as our induction process for new volunteers. More detailed information will follow in due course

21 June 2018
Details gleaned from the Facebook page of the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust

The West Somerset Railway introduces the Annual Pass

WSR

The West Somerset Railway's Annual Pass is a brilliant way to visit the West Somerset Railway as many times as you like throughout the season, valid for a period of 12 months from the date of issue. The Annual Pass for a Family - two adults and up to two young persons (or dogs) - is £129.00 per year; and £62.00 per year for an Individual Adult. For full details use the button below.

Full details of the Annual Pass

18 June 2018
Details gleaned from the official West Somerset Railway website

Update for Steam Rally exhibitors, traders and volunteers

WSR

Geoff Garfield, the Steam & Vintage Rally Chairman, writes:

We are very much looking forward to seeing our volunteers again for this year's event. Most positions are now filled, but we are keen to have a few more. Specifically, we are keen to hear from anyone who would like to join our team of car park marshals and programme sellers. No experience is necessary; we will give you training, a hi-vis vest, lunch and plenty of drinks. There is also a very special opportunity coming up soon for our volunteers: details will be out shortly. So, if you are interested, please download the volunteer application form (see link below), or ring 01823 433856. We look forward to hearing from you.

Also, we have had a great response to our invitation for exhibitors, and most sections are now full, and cannot accept any further entries. And, traders, we are full. Sorry, we cannot accept any further entries for the craft tent or trade section.

Steam & Vintage Rally website Rally Volunteer Application Form

18 June 2018
Details kindly provided by the Steam & Vintage Rally

The Steam Trust is looking for a Treasurer

WSR

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust is seeking a volunteer as Treasurer who will also become a trustee. The principal tasks are cash handling and banking, donations and legacies, keeping financial records, production of management accounts, annual accounts and managing membership and subscriptions. Ideally, applicants would be qualified accountants, or have experience as a Treasurer or Finance Director. Further details are on the Trust website, together with contact details.

Steam Trust website

16 June 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Latest Steam Trust Newsletter

WSR

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust has issued the June 2018 edition of their Newsletter. This edition carries a very comprehensive round-up of Trust Board discussions, along with updates about the Gauge Museum and the Model Railway, the Collett coach no 6705, new acquisitions, policies, membership, and more. All Trust newsletters can be found on the Trust website.

Newsletters page

16 June 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Steam & Vintage Rally - online tickets now available

WSR

Advance tickets for the 2018 Rally can now be purchased online. Ticket prices are pegged at last year's prices - £12 for an Adult Day Ticket and £10 for a Senior Citizen Day Ticket. There is no charge for a child accompanied by a valid ticket holder. And once again, two for the price of one! Day tickets purchased online are valid on both days of the Rally.

The Rally Ticket Page

16 June 2018
Details kindly provided by The Steam & Vintage Rally

WSRA Annual General Meeting papers available for download

WSR

The papers for the 23rd Annual General Meeting of the West Somerset Railway Association are now available for download from the Documents page of the WSRA website. The meeting will be held on Saturday 7 July at 2pm in Bishops Lydeard Village Hall.

Documents page on WSRA website

15 June 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

The 'Three Chefs Express'

WSR

A new black-tie dining experience on the West Somerset Railway. For one night only this year, diners aboard the Quantock Belle dining train, departing at 7pm on 29 October, will enjoy a six-course gourmet meal prepared by three superbly talented Somerset based chefs, featuring seasonal cuisine with ingredients sourced locally where possible. The local chefs will be Claire Lynch from Claire's Kitchen, Justin Reeves from Reeves Restaurant Dunster, and John Bradley from award winning Dunkery Beacon Hotel.

More details, menu, booking

15 June 2018
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

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