Highs and lows at the West Somerset

THE West Somerset Railway reopened on March 30 after a three-month winter closure. 

There was much celebration, but a lot of work is required and money spent to bring the railway back its former glory.

Weight restrictions have been introduced, down-grading the line to a GWR Blue route (17.9T axle loading). This follows advice from the WSR’s head of infrastructure and the ORR, and applies to the whole line except Norton Fitzwarren to Bishops Lydeard. 

The WSR reopened on March 30, with trains running from Bishops Lydeard to Watchet station and return. This arrangement continued with trains running on April 2-4, 6-7, 9-11, 13-18, until the full reopening on Good Friday, April 19. A free vintage bus service ran from Watchet to Minehead on the first weekend, with WSR rover tickets valid on bus service 28 from Watchet to Minehead on the other days. With no run-round loop at Watchet all trains were top-and-tailed by a steam loco on the Down end and a diesel on the other. The second departure from Bishops Lydeard on March 30 is seen leaving Crowcombe Heathfield with ‘Crompton’ No. D6566 at the rear. JOSH BRINSFORD

It is believed the reason is because of excessive rail wear as well as several bridges needing attention. This has resulted in larger locos not being permitted to run, including resident
Class 47 No. D1661 North Star, which has undergone extensive bodywork attention and a repaint in a new livery at Williton.

It will be on static display at the June 20-22 diesel gala Vintage Diesels to the Seaside II, while the previously booked Class 46 No. 46010 has been cancelled.

Read more in the May 2019 issue of The RM – on sale now!

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