The passing of the Duke of Edinburgh of 9 April 2021 has prompted a look back at the two visits made by the Duke to Minehead, by train, in 1952 and in 2002.
The Duke of Edinburgh arrived by train at Minehead on 29 October 1952. After meeting local worthies, he travelled by car to Lynmouth where, on the night of 15-16 August 1952, many homes had been destroyed by flooding following very heavy rainfall up on the hills of Exmoor. Tragically 34 souls were lost that night. The visit of the Duke was much appreciated by the survivors.
Recently, a set of seven black and white images taken that day at Minehead were sent here by our good friend Eric Rowlands. The pictures were taken by Minehead photographer R. Kingsley Tayler; the original prints were scanned by Eric. Click or tap the button below to load the '1952' pictures.
Fifty years later, on 1 November 2002, the Duke made a repeat visit to Lynmouth, again by train and by car, and again via Minehead Station. Here is the news item from 2002 in full:
The Duke of Edinburgh travelled down to Somerset overnight aboard the Royal Train, which left London Euston the night before at 11.17pm, making for a 4.45am arrival at Bishops Lydeard. After a 'recess stop', the Royal Train, headed by Class 47 no 47798, departed Bishops Lydeard at 8.10am bound for Minehead.
At each of the ten stations a small crowd of onlookers gathered and the Duke responded with an appearance and a wave at the window.
Arrival at Minehead was right on schedule at 9.20am and the Duke met Railway officials and volunteers. The line-up included civil dignatories; Roger Lizars and Mark Smith representing the Railway Board; a trio of Friends of Minehead Station, Alan Grieve, Frances Bristow and Gordon Harris; Hein Burger, the Railway's Commercial Manager; Trackers Gary Filer, Jonathan Mitchell and Shane Tarr, and Ian Salt, Apprentice Fitter. After being introduced to Robin George, representing the Dinmore Manor Fund, the Duke accepted the chance of a short footplate ride aboard no 7820, before bidding farewell to the Railway, setting off across Exmoor by road for an engagement at Lynmouth.
The Royal Train departed Minehead at 10.05am and returned to the national rail network right time about an hour or so later.
As stated in the Railway's November OnLine, '...another aspect to consider is our progress after the last 15 years and that as 2002 comes to its end we are viewed by the rest of the Railway industry as part of the national network and able to handle all traffic offered to us in a thoroughly professional manner. Thanks to everyone along the line who did so much to make the visit a success and to present the Railway at its best.'
Click or tap the button below to load the '2002' pictures.