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Special events have their own pages with the Spring Steam Gala 2005, Spring Diesel Gala 05 and Autumn Steam Gala 2005. There are brief technical details of these locos on WSR Locos. The latest issue of West Somerset Express on-line newsletter is available here .
The first of the Spring Gala visitors to arrive was 5051 Earl Bathurst, seen here on Bishops Lydeard loco in company with resident mogul 9351 being prepared for service on 6 March, the day after her arrival.
Another view of Earl Bathurst part hidden amongst the piles of lighting wood and bags of coal in the loco compound.
Later in a rather hectic day I finally had a chance to take another photo of the "Castle", this time in the afternoon sun at Crowcombe Heathfield waiting to cross an Up train.
After a short delay the Up train appeared under Crowcombe Bridge headed by resident small prairie 5542.
5542 passes 5051, two Great Western locos at a delightful Great Western country station.
The weekend after the Gala I found this tender at the far end of Up Sidings, it belongs to our own Odney Manor but, to save transport costs, had been used over the Gala behind 7822 Foxcote Manor.
Meanwhile 5051 Earl Bathurst was being readied for her departure to work a mainline rail tour from Taunton the next morning, behind her 6024 King Edward I was being prepped ready to work a Steam Engineman's Course and behind again small prairie 5542 was nearly ready to come off shed for the 10.25.
Back to Up Sidings, the first vehicle on this set was a 6 wheel milk tank, once an everyday sight on the nearby main line, now like so much they are just a memory apart from on heritage railways.
Resident pannier 6412 and another Gala visitor that was staying on, 3440 City of Truro paired up a Minehead ready for working the next day - and yes, it is the same milk tank, I'd brought it with me, or at least my train had! Another bit of tidying up after the Gala!
6024 coming off shed after coaling ready to return the SEC to Bishops Lydeard, a nice easy turn for me as a guard and, with only 7 coaches, an easy one for the King.
Back at Bishops Lydeard 6024 took water while running round, the head board is "6024 Preservation Society"
Up the bank to Crowcombe Heathfield and 6024 basks in the spring sunshine while waiting for the road to Williton.
The next day 6024 was working service trains complete with a Bristolian headboard, this was the busy scene just before she left Bishops Lydeard on the 2.10 to Minehead.
A few minutes later everyone was on board and the King got going in regal style.
The other guest working over Easter was 3440 City of Truro seen here arriving at Williton double heading with resident pannier 6412 - added as insurance against a repeat of the previous weeks adhesion problems.
A closer view of the pair running into Williton, I had a rather more mundane train - the DMU!
Moving on to 10 April, 5029 Nunney Castle which is visiting between mainline railtours is seen at Minehead along with resident pannier tank 6412.
Another view of 5029 gleaming in the spring sunshine. The fitting just in front of the outside steam pipe is an air brake pump, on a King the brakes under the loco are arranged differently and the pump can be hidden between the frames.
Also basking in the sun were Std 4 tank 80136 which was spare and 7820 Dinmore Manor which is awaiting overhaul.
At the other end of the station some of the HST stock being stored for First Group was stood in the spur while 6412 went out over the crossing en route from one side of the station to the other. A wisp of steam shows that 5542 was held at the home signal with the 14.10 from Bishops Lydeard. This 5 car HST will be working on the WSR during the Diesel Gala!
Later 6412 was ready to go with the Quantock Belle dining train back to Bishops Lydeard, the crew were making sure the tanks were full before leaving, hence the hosepipe.
The next weekend 6412 was working with auto trailer 178 on a birthday special seen here at Crowcombe Heathfield.
After a pause which provided a chance for photography mogul 9351 ran in with the 10.15 from Minehead.
After the auto arrived at Minehead it was stabled in the loco sidings for a time.
During the shunting needed to free up space the second HST stored at Minehead was visible from the platform.
The air braked train that needed D6566's attentions was a through special from Hooton headed by EWS's 67014 with 13 Mk2's in various liveries - Virgin, Riviera Trains, fGW and Inter City. For a time there were more Virgin liveried coaches than WSR ones in the station area!
D6566 then came on the back to release the 67, the loop can only take 12 coaches so a second loco is needed to push the stock back after the train engine has come off and moved over to the loop.
At the other end of the train 67014 was on the loop as 80136 sat spare on the shed, 7820 Dinmore Manor which is awaiting overhaul can be glimpsed between them.
Once the 14.00 to Bishops Lydeard had departed 6412 brought the auto back across to the bay platform. The special was run for the birthday of a railway photographer known as Linesider hence "Linesiders Birthday Bash". The other headboard "SWRG on Tour" is for the Yahoo group South West Rail Gen to which many of the passengers (and myself, the guard for the trip) belong.
Two views from the auto trailer of 6412 and the lineside as we headed for Blue Anchor.
Once at Blue Anchor many of the passengers took the opportunity to take some more photos of the auto train.
Back at Bishops Lydeard a visit to the loco compound saw 6024 King Edward I and 5029 Nunney Castle lined up having been receiving attention prior to working a rail tour onwards from Taunton the following weekend.
5029 carries an 81A Old Oak Common shedplate on the smokebox door but also has its current homebase of Bristol Barton Hill, BK, by the bufferbeam.
67014 stood in platform 2 at Bishops Lydeard waiting to return to the mainline.
67014 departing past 5029 and 5553 in the loco compound.
To end the month, two photos of 6024 King Edward I arriving at Blue Anchor with an up train on 30 April
May started with the Spring Diesel Gala which has it own page.
During the Diesel Gala I spotted visiting "Castle" 4-6-0 5029 Nunney Castle which was at Williton receiving attention to the air brake system, in the background the frames of 34046 Braunton can be seen now complete with smokebox saddle.
The first Saturday in June saw the two small prairies, 5542 and 5553, on shed at Minehead. 5542 was laying over before working a special train back up to Lydeard while 5553 was receiving the attentions of the cleaning gang in between acting as station pilot.
After a swap around the quality of the polishing of 5553 can be appreciated, you can see the reflection of the ladder on the tank.
In less pristine condition is 7820 Dinmore Manor which is awaiting overhaul. Not sure where her chimney has gone though! One of the cleaning gang did give her a quick going over so she looked better later.
The WSR's own Manor, 7828 Odney Manor is in a more advanced stage of dismantling for her overhaul, minus boiler and many other parts her "chassis" was parked outside Minehead works.
At the other end of the works Mk1 TSO W4599 has just emerged from a major overhaul and was gleaming despite the dull conditions.
Small mogul 9351 arriving at Minehead with a train from Bishops Lydeard.
In early July there was a swap around of the First Group HST stock, all the trailers going off to Laira with 4 or 5 others now being stored with 2 power cars at Bishops Lydeard. There are still 3 power cars at Minehead including 43198 and 43155 seen here coupled nose to nose with their emergency coupling bar.
43198 Rio Victorious is in Midland Mainline colours unlike the others which are in unbranded Virgin livery.
A close up of the coupling between 43198 and 43155, the cobweb is an extra that contributes little to the strength of the connection!
A view of two more power cars, five trailers and, in the distance, the 5th. power car of the small fleet.
A last one that includes all the HST stock currently at Minehead, 5 power cars and 5 trailers - 4 of which are consecutively numbered.
A more normal train for the West Somerset, small prairie 5542 comes under the bridge towards Crowcombe Heathfield station with an Up train.
Another view of 5542 as she was running into the station, framed by the unusual down starting signal.
Down the line to Williton and the next Up train was headed by another small prairie, 5553.
The line's Class 117 DMU waiting to cross 5553 at Williton.
On 5 August Class 14 D9526 was working the diesel diagram, D7017 was attached for a test run - unfortunately it had problems later but the pair are seen here waiting to leave Minehead for Bishops Lydeard.
A second view of the pair of Maybach engined hydraulics before departure.
The following day passengers waiting for their trains were being entertained by a brass band, sounded very nice under the recently restored canopy.
Standard 4MT tank 80136 waiting at Minehead with the 14.55 to Bishops Lydeard. This loco is well suited to the West Somerset taking 9 coach trains comfortably and economically.
Small boilered mogul 9351 arriving at Williton with a down train. Photo by Ian Monkton
Class 33 "Crompton" 33057 (formerly D6575) has been acquired as a source of spares for D6566, however eventual restoration isn't totally ruled out. It is seen here at Bishops Lydeard on the low loader it arrived on on Sat. 17 Sept.
On the same day EWS 67012 worked an excursion from London coinciding with the Somerset CAMRA real ale festival at Minehead station, the return run is seen here approaching Bishops Lydeard.
67012 runs in watched by a couple who might have been wondering at the contrast with the pannier tank which had just shunted the stock in the other platform.
That stock later formed a Jazz Special to Minehead, stopping on the way for the band to play on the platform at Crowcombe Heathfield, a pleasant interlude indeed.
After another pause to play at Williton the band's final stint for the evening was at Minehead where they entertained us for 20 minutes as the temperature dropped.
Meanwhile at the CAMRA beer festival there was a wide range of real ales on offer - though a few were sold out by this time. Being on duty I could only look at 'em though.
Small prairie 5542 arriving at Bishops Lydeard the following Saturday.
After arrival 5542 then shunted her stock to the other platform to make way for a following train.
After moving her stock 5542 stopped for water en route for the shed.
The first of the visitors for the Autumn Steam Gala the following weekend, Beattie 2-4-0 well tank 30587, stopped outside Bishops Lydeard box soon after arrival.
The well tank then returned to the loco compound complete with a goods brake while awaiting a path to Minehead.
While waiting the crew and the locos support crew gathered around her.
Cotswold Rail's 47813 at Bishops Lydeard with a returning charter to Wolverhampton.
Three more shots of 47813 heading for the big railway with its train of ex Virgin Mk3s.
47316 was dead on the back, it had failed earlier in the day and so didn't do much of the day's work.
September finished and October began with the Autumn Steam Gala
Two of the five HST power cars left in early October, the remaining 3 are seen on the 9th. ready to move to Reading the next morning. I think the coaches are staying for a while longer.
The 22nd and 23rd was the Grand Trains Extravaganza, D9526 was working a short train and is seen in the sidings at Bishops Lydeard from the DMU which was en route to Norton Fitzwarren.
Also seen from the DMU, D9526 and Class 08 shunter D3462 side by side in Up Sidings.
As you might realise I was on the DMU all day on the Saturday hence this shot of the Beattie well tank 30587 arriving at Bishops Lydeard with a short goods train was also taken from the unit - through a haze of exhaust!
Another view of the Beattie in the QB bay at Lydeard, the only visiting loco she made a lovely sight.
The following Sunday small prairie 5542 was at Minehead ready to work up to Bishops Lydeard for movement by road to the South Devon Railway at the start of a two year absence from the West Somerset which will include visiting the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway and fitting new driving wheel tyres.
Ray Lee was spotted by Jon Tooke making sure that his "baby", 5542, was as clean as can be by pressure washing underneath her.
The same day saw 6412 on the 25th. anniversary working of the Quantock Belle dining train, seen here at Blue Anchor - my camera battery died before I could get a shot of the special headboard :o(
Follow guard Jon Tooke was however having at layover at Minehead and got this shot of 6412 arriving there complete with commemorative headboard.
Jon also spotted this scene, no the WSR isn't going to work auto trains with either the class 03, D2133, (left) or the Class 04, D2271, (right)!
Another of Jon's unusual photos is this view in between the frames of 7828 "Odney Manor" which is being stripped down in the early stages of an overhaul.
Jon was also on hand when 5542 came off Minehead shed for her last WSR working for some time - hope we'll see her with North Hill in the background again before too long.
He also recorded her departure from Minehead with the returning "Quantock Belle"
Often overlooked is the railway's Class 117 Pressed Steel built DMU, originally built for Paddington suburban services it now provides a useful addition to the steam services - the view from it is such that I think it should be marketed as a "Panoramic Diesel Railcar".
There were no trains for most of November but the last Sunday saw the first of the Santa Specials which was also the first working after a lengthy overhaul of SDJR 2-8-0 no. 88 (BR 53808) which is seen here at Crowcombe Heathfield.
Two more views of 88 resting at the end of the first trip of the day.
Three weeks later 88 was working a Minehead - Bishops Lydeard and back "Murder, Mystery, Suspense" train, she is seen here leaving Williton for Lydeard.
Later that day Ian Monkton took this shot of small mogul 9351 heading through Crowcombe Heathfield bound for Bishops Lydeard with a "Santa Express" which was returning from Williton.
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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.