An unofficial website featuring the West Somerset Railway

Latest news

Results of Association members views on restructuring


The West Somerset Railway Association recently invited members to respond to a few high level questions about possible future restructuring of the WSR organisations as proposed by in the Bailey Report. Click or tap the button below to load the survey report from the Association's website.

Survey results

24 January 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

WSR Heritage Trust issue Newsletter no 16


The Trust has announced the publication of Newletter no 16 now available from the Trust website This is a milestone for the Trust as it is the first Newsletter published under the name of West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust. A link to Newsletter no 16 can be found below.

WSRHT Newsletter no 16

22 January 2021
Details kindly provided by the West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust

An electric train service from Bishops Lydeard, perhaps


Go-op - a co-operative society - is planning to run an electric train service between Bishops Lydeard, Taunton and Swindon, according to a post on Facebook.

A project funded by Innovation UK is seeking to bring 21st century rail technology to the 19th century station at Bishops Lydeard - a renewable energy generation and storage system for a battery powered train. The project would see a modern multiple unit train set based at the station, with an ultra-rapid electric charger alongside. If successful, it could be the basis for future train services in Somerset, and possibly even a regular connection to the national rail network for Bishops Lydeard.

In the source, WSR Plc are quoted:

The WSR has always encouraged train operators to run trains to connect with the very popular heritage steam trains that run from Bishops Lydeard to MInehead. We have been discussing with Go-op, a Taunton based cooperative about a potential train service that they want to run from Bishops Lydeard and Taunton to Swindon. This has included safety and operational requirements on the WSR, as well as how the trains would connect. We are at an early stage and will continue discussions as Go-op resolves the many issues involved in running on the national network.

Go-op add:

The local substation has some scope for supplying electric vehicle charging points, but that won't always be coming from green sources and may not be sufficient (the battery on the train might be as large as a megawatt-hour, and charged several times a day). So it would be ideal to have some additional generation - perhaps a mix of solar and small-scale wind power - and these could be sited in currently unused land owned by the WSR just to the south of the station. While there are long term plans to establish additional sidings there, the energy infrastructure could be designed so as to be compatible with such future uses.

The above was gleaned from a Facebook post on the Bishops Lydeard page. At the time of writing, there is nothing on the Go-op website but Go-op have confirmed the report, and WSR Plc have confirmed their statement.

21 January 2021
Details gleaned from Facebook page of Bishops Lydeard

Culture Heritage Recovery Fund Award - latest updates


The Culture Heritage Recovery Fund (CHRF) is part of the £1.57 billion rescue package announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across the UK from the economic impact of COVID-19.

The WSR has been awarded £865,000 to help secure the railway’s longer-term viability as a popular tourist attraction, educational offering, and preserver of heritage locomotives. The money must be invested by the end of March 2021 to receive the full benefit of the award.

The WSR's CHRF programme implementation board has been brought together to manage the oversight of spending these funds and are providing helpful regular updates to volunteers and staff about how and where the money is being spent in order to achieve the stated aims of the fund. The board have kindly given their permission for the updates to appear on and enable a wider readership.

CHRF Update 3 List of CHRF updates

A link to the list of CHRF updates also appears under 'News' on the top menu bar of each web page.

19 January 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Latest WSR Association Board Meeting documents published


The West Somerset Railway Association have published the agreed Minutes of the Board Meeting of 10 December 2020 and a synopsis of the more recent Board Meeting held on 12 January 2021. Click or tap the buttons below to load the documents from the Association's website.

Minutes Synopsis

15 January 2021
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Association

News from Bishops Lydeard Station Shop


Kate Beard writes:

With the whole of the UK effectively locked down once again, customers may be pleased to know that Bishops Lydeard Shop is happy to accept customer requests for models, books and other items, and railway modellers may like to be reminded that Hornby have recently announced their programme of 2021 new releases. We would ask that customers let us know their Hornby requirements asap please in order not to miss out on the limited number of pre-orders often allocated to us.    

Customers may e-mail us or send a letter to the contact addresses below, setting out their requests and providing a telephone contact so we can get back to them to discuss delivery and arrange payment.

Email: (monitored daily)   

Address for letters (monitored weekly): Station Shop, Railway Station, Bishops Lydeard, Taunton TA4 3BX 

13 January 2021
Details kindly provided by the West Somerset Railway Plc

WSR Heritage Trust seek a website manager


The West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust are looking for a website manager:

The WSRHT (formerly WSSRT) charity would like to invite applications from any volunteers who can act as a content manager and help with the development and running of their web site. Any interested parties should be familiar with the processes for designing and implementing functionalities on a web site, including the appointment of a new web hosting provider to manage the site itself. Note, this is a task that can easily be run remotely from home or office. Please would any interested parties contact the WSRHT via e-mail at or Geoff Evens directly at A working specification is available on request. Thank you.

11 January 2021
Details kindly provided by the West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust

The canopy around the turntable to be removed


The Friends of Minehead Station report that the local authority have decided to take down the structures just outside the Turntable Cafe at Minehead on which there were a few 'sails' left, and add that it will be interesting to see what it looks like with all the structure gone. The modern-style canopy was constructed by the Council in 2008 to complement the newly installed turntable.

11 January 2021
Details kindly provided by the Friends of Minehead Station

Keep warm with WSR winter clothing


Keep warm this winter with WSR clothing:

The temperature is set to be pretty cold over the next few days - even in sunny Minehead! We have a great range of WSR winter clothing online in various sizes. Hoodies, Hats, Scarves and Gillets, plus our softshell jackets. Click or tap the button below to check out the range.

Online Shop

5 January 2021
Details kindly provided by the West Somerset Railway Plc

A Message from the Steam and Vintage Rally Team


Writing on their Facebook page the Steam and Vintage Rally Team say:

Happy new year all. Hope that this Covid all clears up and we can have our wonderful Steam Rally this year. We are in the very early stages of starting to plan for this year's event. As everything this year it all depends how the Covid situation goes. So all keep safe hopefully look forward to seeing you all in August.

The Steam and Vintage Rally Facebook page

4 January 2021
Details kindly provided by the Steam and Vintage Rally Team

It was fifty years ago

Train in October 1970 approaching Blue Anchor © John Wood

Fifty years ago the last BR passenger trains ran on the Minehead Branch. Saturday 2 January 1971 saw the last timetabled passenger train although other BR trains appeared for various reasons up to March 1975. Sadly the West Somerset Railway are not able to recognise and celebrate this milestone anniversary due to current pandemic restrictions. And so those who recall that time are left with their memories, especially people now involved with the West Somerset Railway who travelled on the old line, particularly the last day. Let us hope some kind of celebration can be arranged when things return to normal.

30 December 2020
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Update on Bishops Lydeard Station Shop Opening Times


Kate Beard writes:

Following the change of Government Covid regulations and the cancellation of the WSR's Winter Steam Journey trains, we are sorry to announce that the shop will close after the final train on Christmas Eve. We plan to re-open in January as usual, subject to Government regulations, but will confirm this in due course.

In the meantime we shall continue to accept customer orders for models and other items, and would ask our customers to contact us on the e-mail address below, which will be monitored on a daily basis.

Railway modellers may like to be reminded that Hornby will be making their annual announcement about new releases in early January and that we shall be very happy to accept pre-orders for any of the new items scheduled.

For enquiries or to place an order, please contact the shop via providing a phone number on which you can be contacted.

24 December 2020
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The Railway cancels its planned post-Christmas trains


The Railway has announced:

West Somerset Railway is currently in a Tier 2 area until 00:01 Saturday 26th December 2020 when Somerset will enter Tier 3. Santa Express services up to and including 24th December 2020 remain unaffected and will go ahead as planned. It is with great regret that we will no longer be able to operate services for our planned Winter Steam Journeys after Christmas. We look forward to welcoming you back to the railway in 2021, but in the meantime please stay safe. Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year.

23 December 2020
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The 2020 Christmas Message from the Plc Chairman


The Railway is now into the last week of running Santa trains between Bishops Lydeard and Williton with the services having done really well and with some very happy customers. Staff are even happier and just so pleased to be back running the railway again! The WSR Plc Chairman's Christmas message - usually for those working on or for the Railway - is being given wider distribution and may help give folks more details on what is happening and what is planned. Click ot tap the button below to download the full Christmas message

The Railway is hopeful of running the remaining public winter services on 29 and 30 December subject to Government restrictions, and is looking forward to the New Year with growing confidence if the virus is kept at bay.

Go to the 2020 Christmas Message page

23 December 2020
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Update on the WSR Emergency Appeals


Here are the details of the Railway's various fundraising appeals as at 22 December 2020.

West Somerset Railway Plc:
Website Donations£64,790.00
Cheque Donations £18,429.26
Share Purchases£53,110.00
Station Donations£41,950.00
Other sources£1,640.00
Council Grant£25,000.00
Culture Recovery Fund£865,000.00
WSR Plc Total£1,069,919.26
West Somerset Railway Association:
Rail Renewal 2020£39.086.97
DMU refurbishment £5,000.39
Loco Renewal Fund£23,286.00
Preserve & Protect Fund£30,938.61
Trusts & Foundations Grants£61,500.00
Other grants£4,020.00
WSRA Total£163,831.97
West Somerset Steam Railway Trust:
NLHF 'Emergency Fund'£28,700.00
Council Grant£7,500.00
WSSRT Total£95,100.71

Please note the WSRA and WSSRT categories/groupings differ from previous presentations of the same data on these webpages.

Links to the main online donation pages can be found under the 'Appeals' tab at the top of all pages on this website or go click or tap the button below.

Fundraising Group webpage

23 December 2020
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

The upgrade of Seaward Way Level Crossing


As reported in the recent 'The Platform' newsletter:

Following informal discussions with the ORR (Office for Rail and Road) it has been decided to include CCTV in the scheme. This will enable the signalman to see the crossing and road approaches in detail before initiatingthe barrier sequence. The new crossing will now be an MCB-CCTV classified crossing (Manually Controlled Barriers with Close Circuit TeleVision). The first work on the ground which will take place as soon as formal approval to the detailed plans are given by the ORR will be the installation of the concrete base for a new switch room on the Dunster side of the crossing. The room itself (a small cabin) has already been constructed off site. Regular (and frequent) planning meetings are now taking place betweenall the partners in the project, including Somerset County Council, who are financing the project, and the various consultants and contractors. All involved are well aware of the urgency of getting the project completed but this is a complex technical project which must be correctly planned and delivered. Inevitably, in a project like this, most of the time takes place in the preparation and the physical build time is relatively short.

In his Christmas message to staff and volunteers, WSR Plc Chairman, Jon Jones-Pratt, confirms work is underway and for completion in early 2021 although the message suggests this work may result in a likely restricted service during the first part of the season. No doubt as boxes are ticked we will get more updates on this project.

19 December 2020
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Railway Plc

Change of name for the Steam Trust


The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust say:

A reminder that the Trust is planning to formally adopt the new name of 'West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust' with effect from 1st January 2021. Hopefully that will give us time to do all the logistical work involved with the change. Alongside this the Trust will be updating the Articles following the approval at the AGM. The Trust will also be undertaking a review of its policies and will be looking to align these with those of the PLC where they apply to the Trust.

18 December 2020
Details kindly provided by West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

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