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This years West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala is being held on Thursday 17 March to Sunday 20 March with the theme "Pride of the Great Western". This page has photos of the event, being added to as it happens, you can use the links on the left to see photos of the previous three years, visit www.wsr.org.uk for timetables, details of associated events and everything else you need to know about this great event!
For the Thursday I've got some photos from fellow volunteer Rodney Greenway starting with this one of panniers 4612 and 9466 waiting to leave Bishops Lydeard for Minehead. Photo by Rodney Greenway
Another shot of the pair, this time climbing through the hills. Photo by Rodney Greenway
Having given chase Rodders caught the pair again at Donniford. Photo by Rodney Greenway
A going away shot shows that their train included the Quantock Belle dining train which serves a very good all day breakfast during the Spring Steam Galas. Photo by Rodney Greenway
Again for the Friday I've had to rely on Rodney Greenway, along with John Newberry, for these photos, starting with 0-4-2T 1450 with auto trailer 178 at Bishops Lydeard. Photo by Rodney Greenway
Another view of 1450 and the auto, this time among the trees approaching Bishop Lydeard. Photo by John Newberry
Further down the line 8750 Class 0-6-0PT 4612 is seen working a down goods through the edge of the Quantock Hills. Photo by Rodney Greenway
A different angle of 4612 and her goods train passing under the bridge the above photo was taken from. Photo by John Newberry
Still in the hills, resident small mogul 9351 double heads visiting 4936 Kinlet Hall on an up train. Photo by Rodney Greenway
Another view of the pair further up the line, a view that will soon change as the trees come into leaf - the scenery is constantly changing! Photo by John Newberry
Moving on down to Williton and Castle 5051 Earl Bathurst brings in an up train as 0-6-0PT 9466 waits with a down train. Photo by Rodney Greenway
Down by the sea veteran 4-4-0 no. 3440 City of Truro, the first loco to reach 100 mph eases an up train into the 15 mph restriction through Doniford Halt. Photo by Rodney Greenway
Another view of City of Truro at Doniford. Photo by John Newberry
Hall Class 4-6-0 4936 Kinlet Hall then came through the Halt with a Minehead bound train. Photo by Rodney Greenway
It was day for piloting for 9351, seen again, this time double headed with 5051 Earl Bathurst. Photo by Rodney Greenway
The Saturday started very misty as this view of 7822 and 5542 being prepared at Bishops Lydeard shows.
A closer view of the crew preparing small prairie 5542 at the platform nick named Cotford St. Luke Parkway after the housing development that can be seen from here - weather permitting! Photo by Jon Tooke
Shortly after 6024 King Edward I came in from the sidings with the stock for the 9.15 to Minehead, it was a bit of a struggle for grip on the wet rails, a warning of events to come.
The King got to Williton without problems, however City of Truro was having serious problems getting up Washford bank due to the wet rails and there was quite a wait here.
The King's crew looked pretty laid back about the delay!
Eventually 3440 City of Truro appeared out of the mist, this shot gives a better idea of just how bad visibility was there.
Closer to her superb external condition could be seen, a venerable old lady she was built in 1903! Due to the rail conditions it was decided to give her assistance in the form of the Class 25 diesel for the climb up to Crowcombe Heathfield.
When they reached Crowcombe Heathfield it was a beautiful spring day as this photo of the pair arriving there by David Chappell shows, at least the diesel was inside City of Truro.
At the other end of the line it was clear enough for shadows to be seen as this view from 5051's train shows. Photo by Jon Tooke
Another of Jon's rather different photos, a crew travelling "on the cushions" found the brake van a handy spot for lunch. Photo by Jon Tooke
Back at Bishops Lydeard the fog had also cleared and it was beautiful spring weather as small prairie 5553 ran through the station ready to come on the back of the next train to return to Minehead.
Once 5553 was in position 6412 ran in with the auto trailer ready for the next shuttle to Norton Fitzwarren.
Class 25 diesel D7523 was required to perform pilot duty again, pannier 9466 had run low on water due to being delayed behind City of Truro. The pair are seen running in to Bishops Lydeard.
After 5553 had taken her train out 9466, suitably replenished with water, ran through ready to come on the back of the next train.
After 9466 had come on the back of the next train 4612, which had brought it in, ran round and is seen here on her way out under the bridge before coming back in.
As always during the Gala Quantock Heritage buses were running a connecting service, this example is an ex Ribble "White Lady", a double deck coach on a Leyland Titan chassis.
I was doing a guards turn, despite having my camera with me I didn't manage any photos of my own as I was simply to busy, however other photographers have let me have these of the trains I was working, mostly involving pannier tanks:-
The first pair were resident 6412 and visiting 9466 which are seen here at Water Bridge with the 10.50 from Minehead. Photo by Trevor Page
Another view of 6412 and 9466, this time near Yarde Farm. Photo by Peter Darke
The second pairing of panniers was 4612 and 9466, seen here near Alcombe Crossing outside Minehead with the 12.20 from Bishops Lydeard. Photo by Steve Edge
The highlight of the turn was the 15.05 from Minehead which was triple headed by all three of the 0-6-0PT's at the Gala, from the front 6412, 4612 and 9466. Photo by Steve Edge
Another view of them earlier in their journey at Bicknoller Bridge, it was fascinating looking out from the train and watching their rods going up and down! Photo by Peter Darke
You too can be part of the action - new volunteers are always welcome, you can find out more on Volunteers, there's a big perk in exchange for your efforts - free travel!
Click here to go to the West Somerset Railway's site
Click here to go to the West Somerset Railway Association's site
Click here to go to the unofficial West Somerset Railway site
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This site was last updated 13-08-2012
Photos not otherwise credited are ©2001-2005 S G J Huddy. Other photos are included with permission of the copyright holders.