A BR era photo, large prairie 4110 passes Leigh Bridge loop with the 4.45 Taunton to Minehead on 9-9-1962. The box was switched out as this was a Sunday, the loop hasn't yet been reinstated in the preservation era, the one at Kentsford is more likely to happen - but even that not for some time yet. Photo John Carter
92220 Evening Star was the last steam engine built by British Railways, entering service in 1960 is seen here at Minehead when visiting the WSR. It was built at Swindon and so although a freight loco it was painted in full GW style passenger livery and adorned with a copper capped chimney. This type was used on express trains, including the Cardiff to London 'Red Dragon' until such speeds with small wheels frightened the powers that be.
6412 was on the WSR for re-opening day in March '76 when she is seen in this view which also includes one of the Bagnalls and a Hymek. Photo from John Woods collection.
Another view of 6412 way back in December 1976 not long after she had arrived on the newly revived line, it's rare but it does sometimes snow at Minehead! Photo by Nick Jones
Next we have two views of 4160, an ex GWR desigh 2-6-2T at Minehead on the WSR. Though a GW design it was built shortly after nationalisation in 1948 hence its preservation with the early style British Railways lettering.
Locos of this type handled many types of duty, heavy local and branch passenger trains, suburban services around Birmingham, banking and piloting through the Severn Tunnel and over the steep banks of South Devon and other places, and local freight workings.
A visitor to the West Somerset in 1998 was 34027 Taw Valley, an ex Southern Railway West Country class light pacific. This particular example is a rebuilt loco, the originals had air smoothed casings as can be seen on Bulleid Pacifics The first view of 34027 shows the crew on the footplate after arriving at Minehead.
The third shows her setting off from Minehead. An easy start on the level with a light train without slipping, these locos when in mainline service were notorious for being prone to slipping, but they are superb machines with a boiler that can produce all the steam the driver could ask for.
This one is a Cravens built unit, seen here at Watchet where the line first comes close to the coast. This type of unit covered many types of service from suburbans out of Kings Cross to branch lines in East Anglia.
A Class 03 and a class 04 diesel mechanical shunters at Minehead, the 03 furthest from the camera is D2133 which came to the WSR via British Cellophane at Bridgwater when their chemicals switched to coming in by road - one of the less than beneficial consequences of Thatcherite policies.
A more general view of Minehead station, from left to right a saddle tank, the class 04 shunter, an industrial tank engine and a pair of Class 14 0-6-0 diesels, in the background is North Hill, the start of Exmoor.
Another view of the Class 14s, this time about to work the Quantock Belle dining car train. These locos were built at Swindon in 1964/5 by which time much of the trip freights they were designed for had disappeared, they started out on the Western Region before going to the North East, they then went to the NCB where they had a longer life working in collieries than they had on BR.
Another diesel, this time of former BR Class 40 which visited the WSR in 1999. These locos were among the first mainline diesels starting their lives hauling expresses on the East and West Coast lines, before being demoted to freight duties.
33 048 (now with its older number D6566) at Minehead on an engineers train at Minehead, 25.10.01. Photo by Jon Tooke
"Quality Assured" plate affixed to 33 048 in 2001. Photo by Jon Tooke
7828 Odney Manor stands at Bishop's Lydeard station ready to work to Minehead. This was taken on a very wet March Sunday morning during a volunteers recruiting day. It was lovely to hear her characteristically sharp Swindon exhaust on the climbs on this fairly undulating line, though with it being so cold and wet all the windows were firmly shut her bark was clearly audible.
Another view of 7828 plus a BR Standard Class 4 tank, 80136, at Minehead later the same day, the rain hadn't abated, if anything it was colder and wetter on the coast than inland. The loco yard isn't open to the public, I was there with permission!
A view from the ground of 92212, a BR Standard 9F 2-10-0 of the same type as Evening Star. You can see here that the centre driving wheels are flangeless, a feature required to enable them to take reasonably tight curves without damaging the track due to their long rigid wheelbase. I won't go into details here, but flanges are in fact a "last resort", most of the steering effect and simply staying on the rails is due to the shape of the wheel tread.
This site was last updated 19-06-2012
Photos not otherwise credited are ©2001/2002 S G J Huddy. Other photos are included with permission of the copyright holders.