Special events have their own pages, this page has photos of the "everyday" scene on the West Somerset. The Autumn Steam Gala has its own page as does the Spring Steam Gala 2006 and the Grand Trains Extravaganza
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The first "event" of the year was the arrival of GWR 2-8-0 3850 fresh from completion of her restoration at Tyseley. She is seen here preparing to make her first run on the line from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead. Photo by Jon Tooke
Another shot of her getting ready to go this time in the platform at Lydeard alongside an engineers train. Photo by Jon Tooke
A road rail vehicle and trailer was in use in connection with raising the down platform at Bishops Lydeard. Photo by Jon Tooke
The next day a pair of Cotswold Rail HST power cars arrived to collect the last of the First Group HST trailers to take them to Laira. In this photo the pair are seen coupled back to back after arrival. Photo by Steve Thornley
After they had separated the Cotswold Rail liveried one set back on to the stock in the other platform while the "Hornby" one waited, offering a rare view of one from this end. Photo by Steve Thornley
The coaches were pulled out then set back on to the other power car to form a near normal set for the run back to the mainline and thence to Plymouth Laira depot. Photo by Steve Thornley
On 4 March the line took on an S&D flavour in advance of the Steam Gala, first LMS 4F 0-6-0 44422 worked the 10.25 from Bishops Lydeard which is seen here nearly at the end of the climb up to Crowcombe Heathfield.
Another view of her nearly at the summit of the line and with steam to spare.
Next down train to come up the bank was a Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust special using their loco, SDJR 2-8-0 No. 88, to mark the 40th. anniversary of the closure of the S&D. Nine coaches on and steam to spare she was going well.
Another view of No. 88 waiting to cross at Crowcombe Heathfield.
The headboard carried by No. 88, who would have thought 40 years ago that one of these locos would have been working trains in Somerset?
A detailed view of the lettering and lining on 88's cab and tender, a marvellous sight.
The 10.15 from Minehead then arrived at Crowcombe behind resident pannier tank 6412.
No. 88 then left for Minehead in a cloud of steam from the drain cocks.
The following weekend 88 was working a service train and is seen here arriving at Williton with the 10.15 from Minehead.
While she was stood waiting to cross one of the crew gave her a quick "once over".
The 10.25 from Bishops Lydeard was hauled by 53809 (S&D 89), this was the first time a pair of S&D 2-8-0s had crossed for many years.
Another shot of them crossing, BR Std 4 tank 80136 was coupled inside 53809 having arrived back on the WSR the previous evening.
The pair of S&D locos weren't the only vintage transport at Williton that morning, one of the WSR's drivers had come to see the 7Fs on his 1960 BSA motor bike.
A close up of one of the lubricators and builders plates on No.88.
Another view of 88 later in the day, this time at Bishops Lydeard with the last train of the day to Minehead.
While there I spotted this Lottery funded Local Heritage initiative board setting out some of Bishops Lydeard's heritage.
The following weekend was the first of the Spring Steam Gala
Since the Spring Steam Gala Ian Riley's BR Std 4 mogul 76079 and LMS Black Five 45407 stayed on the WSR between railtours, the pair are seen at Minehead on 9 April.
The Std 4 is often referred to as the Pocket Rocket on account of her performance, this morning she was basking in the sun prior to taking the SRPS set out for another railtour on the Tuesday.
The pair plus their support coach framed by the water tower.
9 April 2006 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was amongst many more famous positions engineer to the original West Somerset Railway's line from Taunton to Watchet and mogul 9351 was carrying an appropriate headboard.
A closer view of the headboard, a long name to fit on one!
A week later and S&D 2-8-0 No. 88 was seen crossing Ker Moor between Dunster and Blue Anchor with the Conygar Tower visible on the hill behind.
A closer view of 88 and her train drifting across the moor.
A candidate for restoration, GWR "toplight" Composite 7740 built in 1911. After use by BR's Engineers Dept. it has been used as a mess coach/training room by the WSR but could be restored along with some of the other "toplights" on the line.
Another Toplight coach on the line is TK 3668 of 1909, at present used as accommodation at Bishops Lydeard it could also one day possibly be restored for use as part of a "heritage rake".
Pannier tank 6412 draws admiring looks at she brings the stock for an evening charter into platform 1 at Bishops Lydeard.
Once she was in the platform the guard started his "prep" and the fireman jumped down to check the loco.
As 6412 waited 9351 ran in with the 15.55 from Minehead.
Shortly after 6412 started away for Minehead, she'd started the day shunting at 9.30 and would need to do some more when she returned the charter at around 10 at night - a long day's work for an old lady.
A last one for the day, 6412 gets away from Bishops Lydeard through avenue of trees.
Over the last weekend of the month the WSR celebrated the 30th. anniversary of its re-opening, as part of this there were various displays including some locos in the bay platform at Minehead. Hymek D7017 has been on the railway for many years and headed the line up.
The engine room doors were open giving a good view of the Maybach MD855 power plant rated at 1,740 bhp.
Next in the line up was Park Royal driving trailer W56169, this was on the WSR for the re-opening but is no longer required so will shortly be off to Helston.
Then came recently restored GWR 2-8-0 3850, she needs a final boiler inspection before commencing running in but will soon be working services on the line.
Another 2-8-0 on display was SDJR No. 88 which was spare for the day and looked great in Prussian blue livery.
Moving on into May and BR Std 4 tank 80136 was stood at Minehead waiting to go to shed.
80136 had to wait for pannier tank 6412 to come off shed to work the Quantock Belle back to Bishops Lydeard.
GWR 2-8-0 3850 was waiting for a boiler inspection before beginning running in after completion of restoration, behind her was 9351 which wasn't in traffic that day.
Further down the yard ex GWR sleeper, which has recently been superbly restored, was stabled between a crane and the class 03 shunter.
6412 then moved past 9038 on her way across to her train.
She then came back on to the stock of the Quantock Belle for the return run to Bishops Lydeard.
While attention on the carriage front was centred on the newly restored sleeper this Mk1 BSO which has been bought from the SRPS arrived on the line for major overhaul and future use on the Wizzer.
On the first weekend of June GWR small prairie 5553 arrived at Minehead with the 12.25 from Bishops Lydeard in beautiful sunshine.
Work was underway on stripping the frames of 7828 Odney Manor as part of her overhaul, not much left on them now!
Work was also underway on the frames for Odney's tender, strangely most of the new metal had been removed when I saw it again later in the day.
Three views of the opposite side of toplight CK 7740 to that seen above in April, some restoration work has been done on this side but this seems to have ceased at present.
GWR 2-8-0 3850 running round at Bishops Lydeard while pannier tank 6412 waits to come off shed to work the Quantock Belle.
A little later in the day (Sunday 18 June) 6412 was again waiting for 3850, this time at Blue Anchor.
3850 was the centre of attention when she ran in with her 8 coach train.
However it was 6412 that was carrying a headboard and Class A lamps!
Newly acquired BSO 9227 has entered works for overhaul, its BR1 bogies (left) have been removed and a pair of Commonwealths are ready to replace them.
This shows the difference in wheel sizes between those for Commonwealth bogies (left) and those for B4s (right).
The extended overhaul of one of the WSR's Class 115 DMBSs (Driving Motor Brake Second) is progressing, its smart paintwork was glimpsed through the workshop doors at Minehead.
Two Swindon products nose to nose in Minehead shed yard, small prairie 5553 and Class 03 diesel shunter D2133.
Some more of the floral features on the platform at Minehead.
Two shots of 2-8-0 3850 arriving at Blue Anchor with a down train in the late afternoon sun.
The following weekend another pair of bogies was on view, these are for Hymek D7018 which is undergoing a major overhaul at the DEPG depot at Williton. The loco is due to be put back on its bogies during the week beginning 26 June after which the Brush Bagnall diesel electric Master/Slave industrial shunters 501 & 512 which are in the building behind will be moved out to return to service with Corus Steel at Port Talbot.
Also at the DEPG depot were two 0-6-0 diesel hydraulics, ex BR Class 14 D9526 and ex Manchester Ship Canal Rolls Royce Sentinel DH16. The Sentinel does pilot duties around Williton's yards, the Class 14 works light service trains on the WSR.
To start the month, two views of pannier tank 6412 taking water at Bishops Lydeard before doing a Steam Engineman's Course in the section to Norton Fitzwarren complete with a SR goods brake van.
A closer view of the Southern Railway brake, an often ignored type of vehicle there was actually quite a variety of them back in the days of unfitted freights.
On Saturday 1 July small prairie 5553 and mogul 9351 were both receiving attention in the yard at Minehead loco.
Prussian blue 2-8-0 88 was also on shed spare along with another blue engine, Thomas ready for Days Out With Thomas the next weekend.
Thomas the Tank Engine is enduringly popular with children, here he is along with his friend Ben - actually 686 The Lady Armaghdale and Alfred from the Port of Par where there was a very low bridge.
Another view of the pair showing just how low Alfred is - the step ladder is nearly as tall as the cab!
BR Std tank 80136 was supporting England in the World Cup with flags on the lamp irons - to no avail as England lost on penalties later in the day.
Also often overlooked are DMUs, this is the WSR's Class 117 Pressed Steel suburban unit waiting in Minehead's bay platform between trips. Quite an easy turn for me as a guard, no waving a flag just pressing the buzzer to start away!
This Commonwealth bogie had been removed from a vehicle by the scrap man by the simple expedient of cutting away the underframe each side of the pivot and sending the whole assembly to us.
Recently restored GWR 2-8-0 3850 arriving at a verdant Blue Anchor with a down train in glorious sunshine, West Somerset at its best!
Two photos of Class 33 D6566 forming up a Signal & Telegraph train before heading from Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren to start work on installing the ground frame at Allerford Junction giving access to the new developments there.
The track to the new sidings and, eventually, triangle, at Norton Fitzwarren has started being laid. Photo by Jon Tooke
The connection to the running line is known as Allerford Junction to avoid confusion with Norton Fitzwarren Junction which is the junction between the West Somerset Railway and Network Rail. Photo by Jon Tooke
FM Rail's Brush Type 2 31128 brought their Green Train charter set in for stabling and cleaning over the weekend, the visitors are seen here in the bay sidings at Minehead. Photo by Alan Grieve
While on the West Somerset Railway 31128 was assisted by resident Class 33 D6566, these two views from Minehead signal box show the pair leaving Minehead on 15 August. Photos by Alan Grieve
The 33 came off at Bishops Lydeard, 31128 then headed back out onto the national network through the resignalled junction at Norton Fitzwarren. Photos by Malcolm Anderson
On 16 August EWS's 66138 brought newly overhauled SR 4-6-0 850 Lord Nelson from Eastleigh to the WSR for running in etc. The train included a support coach and several wagons for brake force and is seen passing onto the WSR at Norton Fitzwarren.
Photos by Malcolm Anderson
After much shunting 850 (which was in light steam for lubrication) and her support coach were taken on from Bishops Lydeard by resident Class 33 D6566, these two photos show Lord Nelson during the shunting. Photos by Malcolm Anderson
Final "fettling" is still being done on 850 Lord Nelson at Minehead where she is seen with the August sun showing off her gleaming paintwork. Photo by Peter Darke.
On Sat. 9 September 850 Lord Nelson had double headed a train from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard and back as part of her test running, the next day she was having attention to the minor problems this had revealed and is seen here in Minehead shed yard.
Her Southern Railway malachite green livery was a bit of a shock being used to the resident GWR/BR(W) locos liveries but she certainly looked impressive.
There are various plates on 850's smoke deflectors, at the top is the usual mainline electrification warning then comes "On loan from the National Railway Museum York" and bottom is "Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund". I'm not sure what the "A" stands for though.
Close ups of Lord Nelson's nameplate, cab side and number plate. The E in front of the number is for Eastleigh which referred to the responsible works prior to Brighton locos having "2000" added and Ashford (SECR) locos "1000" added.
Up the line a bit and SDJR 2-8-0 88 running in to Blue Anchor with a down train.
Back to Minehead and small prairie 5553 in the bay platform with the Quantock Belle dining train ready to return to Bishops Lydeard.
A recent addition to the exhibits in the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard station is this GWR hand drawn fire pump - it was the fire extinguisher of its day.
The following weekend was the Somerset CAMRA Real Ale Festival at Minehead, Class 14 diesel D9526 was in action on some extra trains on the Saturday and is seen here laying over at Minehead. Photos by Jon Tooke
A couple of scenes of the beer festival with people sat on the platform enjoying their beers and a view of part of the range of real ales on offer. Photos by Jon Tooke
An often overlooked piece of equipment at Minehead is the Carriage & Wagon dept's crane seen here outside the carriage works there.
Lord Nelson's malachite green livery looks very different in poor light, this photo was taken from my brake van door due to the rain!
October sees two events on the West Somerset Railway, the first of which was the Autumn Steam Gala which has its own page.
The second was the Grand Trains Extravaganza which featured a mix of the line's steam and diesel locos in action.
Visit our Travel Centre for train and ferry times and tickets.
This site was last updated 01-09-2012
Photos not otherwise credited are ©2001-2006 S G J Huddy. Other photos are included with permission of the copyright holders.