The West Somerset held a Cross Country Weekend on 10 & 11 May 2003, the centrepiece was the naming of Virgin Cross Country's Voyager 220 001 Somerset Voyager at Minehead on the Saturday.
The Voyager arrived on the WSR by working a special from Bristol Temple Meads, in aid of the RNLI, my first sight of it was as it arrived at Williton.
The soon to be Somerset Voyager crossed 7820 Dinmore Manor which was working a Minehead - Bishops Lydeard train.
A better view of the rear coach of the Voyager while it moved off from Williton.
A last view of this first working of a Voyager (or indeed a Virgin train) onto the WSR.
The actual naming is on Voyager naming, a collection of photos by my WSR colleagues Jon Tooke and Rodney Greenway and from Ian Cudworth.
In keeping with the Cross Country theme a Class 46 "Peak" 46035 (D172) was working "The Devonian", Class 45 & 46 "Peaks" were associated with services such as the Paignton - Leeds "Devonian" for many years. Seeing one again, even as here at Crowcombe Heathfield, brought back many memories for me.
The train carried roof boards for the Devonian as seen in this shot.
Class 33, D6566, and Class 47, 47732 (D1762) Restormel stand in the bay at Bishops Lydeard. 47's and 33's were also associated with Cross Country services, in the latter case on the Southern from Reading.
This is the full line up in the bay, they arrived in a convoy of light engines with a support coach (for the 46) and some TPO vans for added brake force when they return with 5051 added to the incoming consist of 46035, 67010 and 47732. There are photos of this movement on Loco Convoy.
With the influx of visiting locos resident small prairie 5542 was not in service but was on display in the loco compound at Bishops Lydeard.
The chairman of 5542 Ltd, John Wood is seen here with his "baby", which took 23 years to restore so magnificently.
D7523 outside the depot at Williton while 7820 waits to cross with a down train.
The Voyager finally appeared and is seen approaching Williton station.
It arrives framed by the Manor and the WSRA's workshops.
A last shot of the Voyager for now as it pulls away from Williton.
The view at Minehead with (left to right) 5224, 4160, 46035 and 7820 on shed.
Another view of 46035 on Minehead loco.
Another view of the loco with (left to right) 7820, 46035, a Class 115 DMU MBS and D2133 visible.
A very wet scene as 47732 arrives at Minehead in a downpour with the first service train (as opposed to mainline excursion) worked by a 47 on the WSR
A second view with 46035 also in shot.
5051 Earl Bathurst and D1010 Western Campaigner await their turns to head up trains to Bishops Lydeard at Minehead Station.
The Castle left first, on the left is an ex GWR Siphon G van to add to the western flavour.
3 shots of Earl Bathurst leaving and collecting the token.
Next Western Campaigner pulled out before setting back into the bay platform.
Resident 4-6-0, 7820 Dinmore Manor, then arrived with the last train of the day from Bishops Lydeard.
As 7820 retired to shed the line's other Manor, 7828 Odney Manor, out of service due to boiler problems, and 2-8-0T 5224 bask in the evening sun.
On Sunday the timetable was basically 2 steam turns working between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard with the Voyager shuttling between Williton and Minehead and 46035 and 47732 "Top and Tailing" between Williton and Norton Fitzwarren.
67010 remained on display at Bishops Lydeard attached to the support coaches.
EWS's 47732 was on the Norton Fitzwarren end of of the top and tail operation, seen here waiting with their first train of the day.
At the other end was preserved 46035, it had been a long time since I'd seen or heard a "Peak" - brought back some memories!
The train was called The Cornishman, for long the name carried by a Leeds - Penzance service.
For the Sunday 5051 Earl Bathurst's train carried the Devonian nameboards, seen here at Williton.
Also at Williton is 47732 whilst reversing the "top and tail" shuttle.
Somerset Voyager approaches Williton through the Somerset countryside.
It then arrived alongside 46035 for an exchange of passengers.
Shortly after 47732 was leading past Combe Florey near Bishops Lydeard.
Further down the line, at the very end of the line at Norton Fitzwarren 47732 and 46035 stand at each end of their train prior to returning to Bishops Lydeard and Williton.
Towards the end of the afternoon 67010 began to reform the convoy of locos, it is seen here in Up Sidings at Bishops Lydeard.
Soon after 7820 Dinmore Manor came almost alongside the 67 while running round its train.
Everything has to come to an end, the end of the Cross Country weekend came as 220001 Somerset Voyager pulled out of Bishops Lydeard en route for the mainline at Norton Fitzwarren and thence back to Bristol.
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This site was last updated 15-07-2012
Photos not otherwise credited are ©2003 S G J Huddy. Other photos are included with permission of the copyright holders.