THE 7¼in/5in-gauge Bath & West Railway is now primarily a narrow gauge-style railway.
The line is operated by the East Somerset Society of Model & Experimental Engineers (ESSMEE) at the Royal Bath & West Showground, Prestleigh near Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
Public running only occurs a few days a year, but the large number of passengers carried each day calls for modern, sophisticated 7¼in-gauge rolling stock with air brakes. The four sets of three heavy coaches need powerful motive power and are best catered for with ‘Tinkerbell’-size locos rather than scale model standard gauge types.
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A new loco entered service in 2017, built especially for this purpose over a number of years by ESSMEE members in their club workshop. Based on Roger Marsh’s ‘Thomas II’ running gear design, this is Mendip, (left) a 2-4-2 tender loco. Finished in Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway blue it was formally launched into traffic by Sir John Cave, patron of the Royal Bath & West Show.
Running dates for this year have yet to be finalised, other than the confirmed annual agricultural show on May 30-June 2.
Read more News and Features in January’s issue of The RM – on sale now!