West Somerset Railway

West Somerset Railway
West Somerset Railway
Helwell Bay 4160.jpg
Locale Minehead, Somerset, England
Terminus Bishops Lydeard
Commercial operations
Built by West Somerset Railway
Minehead Railway
Original gauge 7 ft 0 14 in (2,140 mm) to 1882
4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) since
Preserved operations
Operated by West Somerset Railway
Stations 11
Length 19.75 miles (31.78 km)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
1862 Opened to Watchet
1874 Line completed
1882 Converted to standard gauge
1971 Closed
Preservation history
1976 Reopened

The West Somerset Railway (WSR) is a railway line that originally linked Taunton and Watchet in Somerset, England.

It opened in 1862 and was extended from Watchet to Minehead by the Minehead Railway in 1874. Although just a single track, improvements were needed in the first half of the twentieth century to accommodate the significant number of tourists that wished to travel to the Somerset coast. Despite this traffic, it was closed in 1971 but was then reopened (just five years later) in 1976 as a heritage railway.

At 22.75 miles (36.6 km), it is the longest privately owned passenger rail branch line in the country UK, however services normally only operate on the 19.5 miles (31.4 km) between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. During special events, some trains continue to Norton Fitzwarren and a connection to Network Rail allows through trains to operate onto the national network. It operates services using both heritage steam and diesel trains.



In 1845, when the Bristol and Exeter Railway (B&ER) had recently completed its main line, there were proposals for a number of different and competitive railway schemes in west Somerset. A Bristol and English Channels Direct Junction Railway was proposed as a link from Watchet through Stogumber and Bishops Lydeard to Bridport on the south coast, which would be an alternative to ships taking a long and dangerous passage around Land’s End. This prompted the promotion of a connecting line from Williton to Minehead and Porlock, a line designed to attract tourists to Exmoor. Shortly afterwards, a Bristol and English Channels Connection Railway was suggested from Stolford to Bridport which would have passed through the Quantock Hills near Crowcombe. Alternatively, the Bridgwater and Minehead Junction Railway would link with the B&ER at Bridgwater and run through Williton to Minehead with a branch to Watchet and a connecting Minehead and Central Devon Junction Railway would provide a line to Exeter. An alternative link to South Devon was proposed by the Exeter, Tiverton and Minehead Direct Railway through Dunster and offered an extension to Ilfracombe.[1]

West Somerset Railway Company

None of these schemes were pursued and it was to be more than ten years before schemes for railways in the area were to be again proposed. On 9 July 1856, a meeting was held at Williton to discuss a West Somerset Railway (WSR) from Watchet to join the B&ER at either Taunton or Bridgwater. An alternative route may have been possible north through Wiveliscombe to Washford where it could connect with the West Somerset Mineral Railway (WSMR) which was then under construction. The line would enable the cheap import of coal from south Wales into Somerset. The promoters had approached Isambard Kingdom Brunel for his views as the former engineer of the B&ER and he was then engaged to make a preliminary survey the alternative routes towards the B&ER. This first meeting had been dominated by people from Minehead, Wiveliscombe and Bridgwater but, on 1 August 1856, a second meeting was held in Taunton. Brunel explained to those present the advantages of the different routes and gave some weight to the argument for a route to Bridgwater with a long tunnel under the Quantocks. He also suggested that the line should be continued to Minehead or Porlock but the meeting resolved to construct a railway only from Taunton to Watchet.[1]

Brunel was engaged to undertake a more detailed survey and the B&ER agreed to operate the line for ten years in return for 45% of the receipts. Plans were produced as required by British law in November 1856 and the West Somerset Railway Company was incorporated on 17 August 1857 by an Act of Parliament to build a railway from Taunton to Watchet. A prospectus was issued to raise the required £120,000 and these were all subscribed by the end of the year.[1]

The railway’s engineer, George Furness of London, started construction on 7 April 1859 at Crowcombe and construction lasted for nearly three years. The railway opened for passengers from Watchet Junction (2 miles / 3.2 kilometres east of Taunton) to Watchet on 31 March 1862; goods traffic commenced in August. Trains were operated through to Taunton railway station as no station was provided at the junction. On 8 June 1871, a second junction was brought into use where the WSR joined the B&ER main line for the Devon and Somerset Railway and a station was finally opened here, known as Norton Fitzwarren, on 8 June 1871 but branch line trains continued to operate through to Taunton.[2]

Minehead Railway

The West Somerset Mineral Railway (WSMR) was intended to link the iron-ore mines of the Brendon Hills with the harbour at Watchet. In 1856, before it was even opened, it was suggested that the WSMR should be extended to Minehead instead of the WSR and an Act of Parliament for this work was passed on 27 July 1857 but it was never constructed. Instead, an Act for a new Minehead Railway was passed on 5 July 1865 to build a line from the WSR at Watchet to Minehead. This again failed to be built but a renewed Minehead Railway Act of 29 June 1871 finally saw the construction begin the following year.[1]

The new railway was opened on 16 July 1874. In 1871, the WSR had agreed a new perpetual lease to the B&ER for a fixed sum each year which rose annually to a maximum of £6,600. The new Minehead Railway too was leased to the B&ER which then operated the two railways as a single branch from Taunton. To break up the 22.75 miles (36.6 km) of single track, a passing loop and second platform were installed at Williton,[1] 13 miles (21 km) from the junction.[3]

Part of the Great Western

On 1 January 1876, the B&ER was amalgamated into the Great Western Railway (GWR).[2] To increase the capacity of the West Somerset line, another loop was opened in 1879 at Crowcombe Heathfield. The 7 ft 0 14 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge was converted to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge in 1882. Trains ran as usual on Saturday 28 October but the track was lifted the following day and reopened for traffic on Monday afternoon.[1]

The Minehead Railway was amalgamated into the GWR in 1897 but the West Somerset Railway remained an independent company for the time being although all its assets continued to be leased to the bigger company.[2] Under Great Western influence, there were steady improvements in the line as it carried an increasing level of holiday traffic to the Somerset coast and Exmoor. The platform at Stogumber was extended in 1900, a new passing loop was opened in 1904 at Blue Anchor and, the following year, a second platform was opened at Minehead. A third loop was installed in 1906, this time at Bishops Lydeard and the loop at Williton was lengthened in 1907.[4]

Under the Railways Act 1921, the West Somerset Railway Company was finally amalgamated into the Great Western Railway but the Minehead branch, as the route was now known, continued to be operated by the newly enlarged GWR.[2]

In the 1930s, alterations were made to significantly increase the number and length of trains that could be handled. The mainline from Norton Fitzwarren through Taunton to Cogload Junction was increased from two to four tracks on 2 December 1931 and the junction station was enlarged which meant that it was better able to cope with the trains on all three routes. In 1933, the platform at Stogumber was extended to accommodate longer trains and two further passing loops were opened. These were at Leigh Bridge south of Stogumber and at Kentford west of Watchet. The following year saw the original single track doubled between Dunster and Minehead and the platform at the terminus was lengthened. The loop at Blue Anchor was also lengthened in 1934, the line was doubled from Norton Fitzwarren to Bishops Lydeard in 1936 and the Williton loop was lengthened for a second time in 1937.[1] Camp coaches were placed at Blue Anchor from 1934–1939 and at Stogumber from 1935–1939, which encouraged holiday makers to use the train to reach these rural locations.[5] In 1936, the GWR’s chairman, Sir Robert Horne, opened the new £20,000 open-air swimming pool at Minehead.[6]

Run down to closure

The GWR was nationalised, becoming the Western Region of British Railways on 1 January 1948. Camp coaches made a reappearance in 1952 and were available to the public at both Stogumber and Blue Anchor from 1952 to 1964 and the latter were kept on for British Rail staff holidays until 1970.

However, Washford signal box was closed in 1952 and Minehead engine shed was closed in 1956. Norton Fitzwarren station closed on 30 October 1961, after which passengers once again had to travel through to Taunton to change onto trains travelling west.[4]

Despite the opening of a Butlins holiday camp at Minehead in 1962 which brought some 30,000 people to the town that year, the line was recommended for closure in the 1963 'Reshaping of British Railways' report. Goods traffic was withdrawn from Stogumber on 17 August 1963 and from the other stations on 6 July 1964 after which the railway transported any goods traffic by road from Taunton. The two loops at Leigh Bridge and Kentford were also taken out of use in 1964. In 1966, the signal box at Minehead was closed and the two tracks from Dunster were then operated as independent bi-directional lines; ground frames controlled the points at Minehead to allow the train’s locomotives to run round from one end of the train to the other.

The Western National bus company had informed the Transport Users Consultative Committee at the closure inquiry that some twenty buses in the summer to cope with the influx of holidaymakers but most would be idle for much of the year when far fewer people travelled to Minehead. The double track from Norton Fitzwarren was reduced to one line on 1 March 1970 and the line was finally closed early in 1971; the last train left Minehead on Saturday 2 January and, on Monday, an enhanced bus serviced took over.[1]

Heritage railway

Bishops Lydeard Railway Museum.

On 5 February 1971, a Minehead Railway Preservation Society organised a meeting in Taunton and a working party headed by Douglas Fear, a local business man, was tasked with investigating how the line could be reopened as a privately-owned railway. In May, a new West Somerset Railway Company was formed to acquire the line and operate a year-round commuter service from Minehead to Taunton alongside which a limited summer steam service could also run. A deal was agreed with British Rail to purchase the line with the support of Somerset County Council, however the council was wary of the lucrative Minehead station site falling into private hands should the railway fail. Instead, it purchased the line itself in 1973 and leased back the operational land to the West Somerset Railway Company.[1]

The proposed commuter service never materialised but the line was slowly reopened as a heritage railway. Minehead to Blue Anchor was the first section to see trains restored, opening on 28 March 1976 and services were extended to Williton on 28 August the same year. Trains returned to Stogumber on 7 May 1978 and they reached Bishops Lydeard on 9 June 1979. A new station at Doniford Halt was opened on the coast east of Watchet on 27 June 1987 to serve a holiday camp at Helwell Bay.[4]

In 2004, work started on constructing a new triangle at Norton Fitzwarren which included a part of the old Devon and Somerset line[7] and a ballast reclamation depot opened there in 2006.[8] In 2008, a new turntable was brought into use at Minehead.[9] A new station opened on 1 August 2009 at Norton Fitzwarren on a new site a short distance north of the main line.[10]


[v · d · e]West Somerset Railway
miles from London
Head station
187.88 Minehead 51°12′22″N 3°28′00″W / 51.2061°N 3.4668°W / 51.2061; -3.4668 (Minehead)
Level crossing
Seaward Crossing
Level crossing
Dunster West Crossing
Stop on track
186.26 Dunster 51°11′34″N 3°26′17″W / 51.1929°N 3.4381°W / 51.1929; -3.4381 (Dunster)
Level crossing
Sea Lane Crossing
Level crossing
Blue Anchor Crossing
Station on track
184.43 Blue Anchor 51°10′53″N 3°24′05″W / 51.1814°N 3.4015°W / 51.1814; -3.4015 (Blue Anchor)
Stop on track
182.14 Washford 51°09′42″N 3°22′08″W / 51.1618°N 3.3690°W / 51.1618; -3.3690 (Washford)
Unknown BSicon "exCONTr" Unknown BSicon "exSTRq" Unknown BSicon "exSTRlg" Straight track
Unknown BSicon "exSTR"
Unknown BSicon "exPSL" + Straight track
Kenton loop (1933 to 1964)
Unknown BSicon "exSTRlf" Unknown BSicon "eKRZo" Unknown BSicon "exSTRlg"
West Somerset Mineral Railway
Stop on track Unknown BSicon "exKDSTe"
179.80 Watchet 51°10′51″N 3°19′48″W / 51.1808°N 3.3301°W / 51.1808; -3.3301 (Watchet)
Stop on track
178.75 Doniford Halt 51°10′34″N 3°18′04″W / 51.1760°N 3.3011°W / 51.1760; -3.3011 (Doniford halt)
Station on track
178.08 Williton 51°10′00″N 3°18′33″W / 51.1667°N 3.3092°W / 51.1667; -3.3092 (Williton)
Level crossing
Williton Crossing
Stop on track
174.68 Stogumber 51°07′39″N 3°16′20″W / 51.1274°N 3.2722°W / 51.1274; -3.2722 (Stogumber)
Unknown BSicon "exPSL" + Straight track
Leigh Bridge loop (1933 to 1964)
Station on track
172.13 Crowcombe Heathfield 51°06′06″N 3°14′02″W / 51.1017°N 3.2340°W / 51.1017; -3.2340 (Crowcombe Heathfield)
Station on track
168.25 Bishops Lydeard 51°03′12″N 3°11′35″W / 51.0533°N 3.1931°W / 51.0533; -3.1931 (Bishops Lydeard)
Level crossing
Darby’s Crossing
Track turning from left Junction to right
Allerford Junction
Straight track Stop on track
165.25 Norton Fitzwarren (2009) 51°01′29″N 3°09′26″W / 51.0248°N 3.1572°W / 51.0248; -3.1572 (Norton Fitzwarren)
Unknown BSicon "exCONTr" Unknown BSicon "xENDEr" Unknown BSicon "ABZ3rf" Junction from right
Devon and Somerset Railway
Continuation to left Transverse track Unknown BSicon "ABZ+lr" Track turning right
To Exeter
Unknown BSicon "eBHF"
Norton Fitzwarren (1873-1961)
Station on track
163.15 Taunton 51°01′22″N 3°06′13″W / 51.0228°N 3.1035°W / 51.0228; -3.1035 (Taunton)
Continuation forward
To Bristol and London

The route is described from Minehead towards Taunton. Features are described as being on the left or right of the line for passengers facing this direction of travel, therefore the right side of the train is generally on the south or west of the line. On the railway this is known as the 'up' direction.

Minehead to Watchet

Communities served: MineheadDunster – Carhampton and Blue AnchorWashfordWatchet

The station at Minehead is situated on the sea front close to the town centre. The platform has a track on each side and the old goods shed, which is now used for locomotive maintenance, is situated on the north side between the platform and the beach. On the opposite side of the station is a turntable and the station cafe. Sidings on both sides of the station are used to hold stock, both operating vehicles and others awaiting repairs in the workshops.[3] At the far end of the station is the signal box and level crossing over Seaward Way, a link road from the A39 to the seafront that was built in the 1990s.[4]

Trains leave Minehead heading south-eastwards on the longest straight and level section of track along the whole line, passing behind Butlin’s holiday camp which is on the left between the railway and the sea and then across flat fields.[11] 1.75 miles (2.8 km) from Minehead the line crosses Dunster West level crossing and enters Dunster station.[3] It is a long way from the village of that name which is on the hill to the right along with Dunster Castle.[11]

The platform at Dunster is on the right while the old goods yard on the left is now used by the WSR’s civil engineering team who keep the tracks in good order.[4] On leaving the station is another level crossing, this time over Sea Lane that leads down to Dunster Beach which can be glimpsed to the left of the train. A footpath leads from the east end of the platform down to Sea Lane to save a long walk round along the road. The line then continues across the concrete channel of the River Avill onto Ker Moor and along the edge of the beach[11] to reach Blue Anchor, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from Minehead and the first passing loop. Approaching the station, the old goods yard is on the right[3] and three camp coaches are kept here where volunteers working on the railway can stay overnight. At the western end of the platform, a signal box overlooks a level crossing on the road from Blue Anchor to Carhampton. The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust’s museum is on the right-hand platform.[4]

The line now leaves the sea and swings inland in a south east direction, climbing at gradients up to 1 in 65 (15%), the steepest section of the line. After turning back towards the north east, the line reaches the second highest point on the line at Washford.[1] This is 6.75 miles (10.86 km) from Minehead and has a single platform on the right.[3] On the opposite side of the line, the goods yard is now the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust’s museum with its collection of rolling stock and a display of signalling equipment.[4]

The line now swings north-eastwards and starts to descend, initially at 1 in 74 (13.5%).[1] A footpath on the right of the line at a slightly lower level is the route of the old West Somerset Mineral Railway, which passes beneath the line on the approach to Watchet.[12] Passing under a small road bridge, the line arrives at Watchet railway station, 8 miles (13 km) from Minehead.[3]

Watchet to Bishops Lydeard

Communities served: WatchetWillitonStogumber and Kingswood – CrowcombeBishops Lydeard

Station sign at Williton

The platform at Watchet is on the right of the train but the station building is unusually set back from the line and faces Taunton, a hangover from its construction as the terminus of the original West Somerset Railway. The old goods shed is opposite the platform and now houses the Watchet Boat Museum. A footbridge crosses the line at the Minehead end of the station and a foot crossing leads across the track at the other end of the platform which gives access to the harbour for train passengers.[4]

The line climbs away into a cutting through a headland but soon swings round to a south-easterly direction along the cliff above Helwell Bay. Passing under the Watchet to West Quantoxhead road, the line turns southwards[11] and passes the concrete platform at Doniford Halt, which is on the left of the train 9 miles (14 km) from Minehead.[3] The agricultural landscape is then soon supplanted on the right by the sidings around the West Somerset Railway Association’s (WSRA) workshops, which are housed in a corrugated iron building known as the Swindon Shed as it was originally built there more than 100 years ago.[4]

This is Williton railway station, at 9.75 miles (15.7 km), it is near the mid-point of the operational railway and the second passing loop. Behind the platform on the right, next to the WSRA workshops, are the old goods shed and the more modern workshop which is the home to the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group’s fleet of diesel locomotives. The main station building is also on this platform, as is the oldest signal box on the line which stands above the level crossing. This sees little road traffic as most crosses the railway on the A39 road bridge that stands just beyond the end of the passing loop.[4] Next to the level crossing on the left of the line is a garden with a decorative box hedge that is over 100 years old.

Minehead - Taunton branch train near Williton in 1960

Leaving Williton, the railway crosses over the A358 road and climbs up onto the side of the Quantock Hills. Passing close to the village of Bicknoller, it crosses the Macmillan Way West, a long distance footpath.[13] Following the eastern side of a steep valley, it continues to rise with sections at 1 in 100 and 1 in 92 (11%)[1] as it approaches the small station at Stogumber, 13 miles (21 km) from Minehead. This station unusually has its platform on the right of the train but the station offices are on the left.[3] The space alongside the offices is now a well-maintained garden but is where the goods shed used to stand.[4]

The line continues to climb 1 in 92 up the valley until, 15.75 miles (25.3 km) from Minehead, it reaches the summit of the line at Crowcombe Heathfield. This is another passing loop but the down platform (on the right) is signalled to allow trains to run in either direction;[3] the original platform was on the left of the line and so the main buildings are all on this side of the line. From the Minehead end, they include the old station master’s house, some modern housing in sympathetic style and the station offices.[4]

After leaving Crowcombe Heathfield, it is downhill, with sections as steep as 1 in 81 (12%).[1] At Combe Florey, the line crosses the A358 two more times in quick succession and this remains close on the left of the line to Bishops Lydeard.[13] This station has another passing loop and is the terminus of regular operations, 19.75 miles (31.78 km) from Minehead. Locomotives are kept in a secure compound on the left at the Taunton end of the station. Both platforms are signalled for running in either direction and most trains run from the one on the left,[3] although the original buildings are all on the right. These include the goods shed which now houses a railway museum and the old station master’s house.[4]

Bishops Lydeard to Taunton

Communities served: Bishops LydeardNorton FitzwarrenTaunton

The station sign at Bishops Lydeard

This section beyond Bishops Lydeard carries no regularly scheduled passenger trains nowadays but occasional special services operate. During special events, a shuttle service is often operated between Bishops Lydeard and the new platform that opened at Norton Fitzwarren in 2009. A few special trains also operate over the link between the West Somerset Railway and Network Rail, running through to Taunton and beyond.[14]

The line passes the Norton Manor Royal Marine camp on the left[15] and then passes under a bridge at the new Allerford Junction where a siding has been installed on the right to serve the West Somerset Railway Association’s ballast reclamation depot.[8] Just beyond the junction, on the right, is the concrete platform erected in 2009 at Norton Fitzwarren.[16] The West Somerset Railway’s line terminates here and trains running through to Taunton run onto Network Rail’s tracks. The remains of the station hotel are seen on the left but the track joins the Bristol to Exeter line on the right. Passing the engineers’ depot at Fairwater Yard on the right, one soon arrives at Taunton, the traditional junction station for trains running the 24.75 miles (39.83 km) to Minehead.[3]


When the railway first opened to Watchet, a service of four trains each way Monday to Saturday was advertised but this fluctuated to five or six at times for many years and an engine shed was provided at Watchet to support these. A very limited Sunday service was introduced in 1862 but was withdrawn in 1869. With the extension to Minehead, the engine facilities were moved there but the frequency of services remained much the same. With the improvements to the line in the early years of the century, the frequency increased to eight trains daily by 1910 and to 14 before World War II. Sunday services resumed in 1926 for the first time in over 50 years. The engine shed was closed in 1956 after which time all trains were provided from the Taunton end and the timetable was cut back to ten round trips. Diesels started to appear regularly from 1962, both locomotive-hauled trains and diesel multiple units (DMUs).[1]

A Class 150 visits with a special service from the main line

In 2009, regular services operate between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard. The operating season runs from March to October, with infrequent operations from November through to February. Trains run daily during the summer but less frequently during the remainder of the season. Four regular timetables are run on different days depending on expected demand, varying from two to four trains in operation, each of which makes two round trips which gives between four and eight services each way. From February 2009 to January 2010, services were advertised on 243 days. Operating locomotives are based at Minehead and Bishops Lydeard and a spare is generally kept ready at Williton.[17]

During special events, an intensive service is operated and some workings continue through to Norton Fitzwarren.[10] A few railtours each year come through from Network Rail using the connection near Taunton.[14]

Rolling stock

88 with a train of Mark I coaches

Photographs of the line when operated by the Bristol and Exeter Railway show that their 4-4-0ST locomotives were the regular motive power. Later years saw types such as GWR 4500, 4575, and 5101 'prairie' 2-6-2Ts, 2251 'Collett goods' 0-6-0s, 5700 'pannier tank' 0-6-0PTs and 4300 'mogul' 2-6-0s. In British Railways’ time, these were replaced by Western Region NBL Type 2, Hymek Type 3 diesel-hydraulic locomotives, Swindon and Gloucester cross-country diesel multiple units (DMUs).[1]

Today, the line is operated by a variety of preserved steam and diesel locomotives and DMUs. Most of these are typical of GWR branch lines in Somerset or of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway (SDJR). Among the types based on the railway are examples of GWR 4575 and 5100 class 2-6-2Ts, a Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway 7F Class 2-8-0 and a Southern Railway West Country Class 4-6-2. A unique experiment has been converting a 5101 2-6-2T to a small 2-6-0 numbered 9351. Diesels include Hymek and Western diesel-hydraulics.[18]

Most trains are formed from British Rail Mark 1 coaches painted in a chocolate and cream livery based on the most familiar one used by the GWR but with WSR crests. The 'Quantock Belle' dining train is painted in a maroon livery reminiscent of British Railways in the 1960s but each is named like a Pullman car. There are also a number of freight wagons, some of which are used for engineering purposes or in a demonstration heritage freight train that is used on special occasions.[18]

Films and television

Several films and television programmes have been shot on the railway:

  • A Hard Day's Night (1964) featured The Beatles and was filmed in 1964 at London Marylebone station and on the Minehead branch, much of it in and around Crowcombe.[19]
  • The The Flockton Flyer (1976-7) was a children’s television drama series about a preserved railway that was filmed on the West Somerset Railway shortly after it reopened.[20]
  • The Land Girls (1997) was filmed on the railway and Crowcombe Heathfield featured as Bamford station.[19]
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1988), a BBC television mini-series was filmed at Crowcombe Heathfield.[21]

Heritage organisations

Although the railway is operated by the West Somerset Railway Company, it is supported by a number of voluntary and charitable organisations.

The West Somerset Railway Association is based at Bishops Lydeard and has workshops at Williton. It coordinates a large number of volunteers who carry out a wide range of tasks to support the railway, from booking clerks and gardeners to engine drivers and guards.[22] It owns two locomotives (4500 Class 4561 and Manor Class 7821) and part shares in others.[23]

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust was set up in 1972 to operate the summer steam trains alongside the West Somerset Railway Company’s commuter service. It had little to do once the railway became a purely seasonal heritage line but, in 1984, was revived for education and historical research into the Minehead branch and has a small museum at Blue Anchor. Its rare restored GWR sleeping carriage is on display in the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard and is now restoring a GWR 'Toplight' coach which will be the first in a set of historic coaches on the West Somerset Railway.[1]

The Diesel and Electric Preservation Group is based at Williton where they use the old goods shed and a newer building as workshops for their fleet of diesel locomotives which are used on the West Somerset Railway. The group owns five ex-Western Region locomotives: Class 14 9526; Class 35s 7017 and 7018; Class 47 1661; and Class 52 1010. Williton is also the base for a number of privately owned locomotives which are maintained by the DEPG.[24]

The Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust owns S&DJR 7F 2-8-0 number 88 which is part of the WSR’s regular fleet.[25] The Trust promotes the education and preservation of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway and, at Washford, they operate "Kilmersdon", a Peckett 0-4-0ST locomotive and have a collection of goods wagons and coaches. The museum also features a signalling display based around the small signal box from Burnham-on-Sea.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Coleby, Ian (2006). The Minehead Branch 1848-1971. Witney: Lightmoor Press. ISBN 1-89988-920-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d MacDermot, E T (1931). History of the Great Western Railway. 2 (1863-1921) (1 ed.). London: Great Western Railway. ISBN 0711004110. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jacobs, Gerald (2005). Railway Track Diagrams Book 3: Western. Bradford-on-Avon: Trackmaps. ISBN 0-954986-61-X. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Oakley, Mike (2006). Somerset Railway Stations. Bristol: Redcliffe Press. ISBN 1-904537-54-5. 
  5. ^ McRae, Andrew (1998). British Railways Camping Coach Holidays. Stockport: Foxline Publishing. ISBN 1-870119-53-3. 
  6. ^ Bennett, Alan (1993). Great Western Holiday Lines in Devon and West Somerset. Runpast Publishing. p. 41. ISBN 1-970754-25-5. 
  7. ^ "The Norton Fitzwarren Project". West Somerset Railway Association. http://www.wsra.org.uk/norton.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  8. ^ a b "Norton Fitzwarren Report 28 November 2006". West Somerset Railway Association. http://www.wsra.org.uk/nf28nov2006.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  9. ^ "Tunrtable at Minehead". West Somerset Railway. http://www.wsr.org.uk/cgi-bin/pixpage3.cgi?h=The%20Minehead%20Turntable%20Project%20in%20pictures&t=ttpix&j=7. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  10. ^ a b "The Steam Fayre and Vintage Rally". West Somerset Railway Association. http://www.wsra.org.uk/rally.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  11. ^ a b c d Exmoor. Outdoor Leisure. OL9 (A1 ed.). Southampton: Ordnance Survey. 1995. ISBN 0-319-26043-7. 
  12. ^ Short, Audrey; Short, Ron (2008) [1993]. Country Walks from West Somerset Railway Stations (2nd ed.). Bishops Lydeard: West Somerset Railway Association. 
  13. ^ a b Quantock Hills and Bridgwater. Explorer Map. 140 (B2 ed.). Southampton: Ordnance Survey. 2008 [2004]. ISBN 0-319-24035-9. 
  14. ^ a b "News". West Somerset Railway. http://www.wsr.org.uk/news.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  15. ^ Taunton and Blackdown Hills. Explorer Map. 140 (B2 ed.). Southampton: Ordnance Survey. 2008 [2003]. ISBN 0-319-24029-8. 
  16. ^ "A station for Norton Fitzwarren". West Somerset Railway Association. http://www.wsra.org.uk/nf01jan2009.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  17. ^ "Timetables". West Somerset Railway. West Somerset Railway. http://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/Times_fares.html. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  18. ^ a b Smith, Keith (2007). West Somerset Railway Stockbook (6 ed.). Taunton: West Somerset Railway Association. 
  19. ^ a b Horton, Glyn (2009) [2007]. Britain’s Railways in Feature Films. Kettering: Silver Link Publishing. ISBN 1-85794-334-4. 
  20. ^ Jones, Nick (2009). "Return of the Flockton Flyer". West Somerset Railway Journal (West Somerset Railway Association) (125): 12–13. 
  21. ^ "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe". Internet Movie Database. Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094500/. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  22. ^ "About the West Somerset Railway Association". West Somerset Railway Association. http://www.wsra.org.uk/about.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  23. ^ "The West Somerset Railway Association’s locomotives". West Somerset Railway Association. http://www.wsra.org.uk/locos.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  24. ^ "Loco Fleet Status". Diesel and Electric Preservation Group. http://www.depg.org/status2.html. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  25. ^ "SDJR 2-8-0 No. 88". Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust. http://www.sdrt.org.uk/resources/stocklist/no_88.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  26. ^ "The Trust’s Museum at Washford". Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust. http://www.sdrt.org.uk/resources/museum/index.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 

Further reading

  • Maggs, C. G. (1998). The Minehead Branch and the West Somerset Railway. Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361528-4.

External links

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