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Author Topic: West Somerset Railway - heritage line, Bishops Lydeard to Minehead - possible link to main line at T  (Read 92258 times)
grahame
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« on: May 11, 2008, 10:29:15 am »

Closed, 4th January 1971. Reopened by the West Somerset Railway as a tourist attarction, and now open to main line charters too - the West Somerset Railway that serves Williton (pop 3000), Watchet (5000) and Minehead (11000) is a prime candidate for restoration as a regular transport link from these hard-to-access communities in to Taunton.


Potential Commuter Train?


Butlins brings a LOT of people to Minehead


Minehead Town Centre - a bustling place!

Having been to Minehead yesterday and travelled along the West Somerset Railway, I wondered what we had here.  And what I have found is a need for aknowledgable update.  Can anyone fill me in on the various ideas that look like they might be practical to use this line as a regular public transport link?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 07:28:09 pm by grahame » Logged

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devon_metro
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2008, 10:43:35 am »

I'd say something along the line of a summer 'butlins express' similar to last year (with more appropriate timings than last year!) Perhaps also more sensibly priced as the high fare often put people off going on it (inc me!) Sadly it isn't being run this year, although perhaps FGW could do something on summer Saturdays? (Paddington - Reading - Didcot - Swindon - Chippenham (with connecting train from Melksham of course Wink) - Bath - Keynsham - Bristol TM - Nailsea - Yatton - Worle - Taunton (pick up only) and MINEHEAD.)

Perhaps two round trips - 0915 and 1315 from Paddington?

Last years 'Butlins Express' operated by Victa Westlink



Only problem was that a number of the runs ran as empty trains

« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 10:47:40 am by devon_metro » Logged
John R
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2008, 11:08:25 am »

The problem with the Butlins Express was the timings didn't allow day trippers to the West Somerset Rly and Minehead. The WSR/Butlins haven't been able to find an operator willing to support them this year, following Victa-Westlink's demise.

I believe the WSR's 5 yr plan is considering a diesel shuttle from BL to Taunton, but the obstacles in the privatised railway are considerable (though NYMR have overcome them).  That will appeal to those visiting the railway, but to provide an affordable option for day trippers to Minehead the minimum needed is a DMU service from Bristol to Minehead, say in the 6 weeks in the summer when commuter traffic is lighter. However, unlike yesterday, when FGW staff gave their time for free, running a service down to Minehead and then waiting several hours before the return would be costly in terms of unproductive staff time.

Given Butlins were interested in a service leaving Minehead late morning and arriving back late afternoon, maybe two return trips a day would meet this requirement and that of day trippers. Of course, these services will take paths on the WSR that will be very valuable in the peak for them, so they will need to consider the impact of losing those for the bread and butter customers wanting a trip behind a steam train.

The other consideration is that the line is limited to 25mph. This is fine for an excursion like yesterday, but does make the journey a bit long for the normal daytrip traffic that would be needed to make a service viable. I understand the WSR has no aspiration to increase this due to the significant costs involve once you go above that limit.
 
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 11:46:38 am by John R » Logged
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2008, 03:49:58 pm »

Steam-powered summer specials at West Somerset Railway are under threat after problems with tracks and trains have thrown one of the West's biggest tourist attractions into crisis just before the school holidays.

Only one of the railway's four steam locomotives is in operation after a severe fault on the track damaged wheels of other engines, making them unsafe for passengers. Sources close to the railway say maintenance work carried out free of charge by Network Rail as a training exercise is at the root of the problems - a claim West Somerset Railway manager Paul Conibeare denies.

He said: "The Network Rail train was used to grind the top of the tracks and did not cause this. What we have found on some stretches is an unusual lipping on the side of some of the tracks. When trains travel over tracks, over time some lipping will appear but this is something we haven't encountered before so it has been a learning curve for us."

Maintenance teams are now working through the night to grind down the rails by hand as time is running out before thousands of holiday makers arrive hoping to hop on board one of the iconic steam trains. The extra lipping of the tracks has damaged the trains' wheel flanges and tyres and the railway had no option but to withdraw the engines as the fault could cause engines to derail.

Mr Conibeare said: "Safety is paramount to us which is why we are working hard to sort these problems out."

Diesel trains will be used to substitute steam and ensure ordinary services are not interrupted but some people believe trade will still be hit when disappointed passengers hoping for steam decide to spend their money elsewhere.

The railway's annual family fun days are due to be held on the weekend of July 5 and 6 and although fears have been raised that the technical problems could put the event in jeopardy, Mr Conibeare says it will go ahead as normal.

The railway is running one steam train and one diesel engine to keep to its published timetables. See west-somerset-railway.co.uk for more information.

Full article in Western Daily Press: see
http://www.westpress.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=145786&command=displayContent&sourceNode=231644&home=yes&more_nodeId1=145795&contentPK=20921924
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2008, 11:18:12 pm »

"A 62-year-old steam engine which was rescued from a scrap yard has been restored and will take to the rails again in Somerset. The locomotive was built in 1946 but spent 22 years in the scrap yard in south Wales until her rescue in 1996.

The engine, named "Braunton", has been rebuilt using the parts of 13 other scrapped locomotives.

The engine will haul a special fund-raising train for the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust's heritage carriages project on Wednesday, 24 September.

The project aims to restore original Great Western Railway 1930s coaches for use on the WSR."

For full details, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/7627940.stm
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 11:05:35 pm by chris from nailsea » Logged

William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
bignosemac
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2010, 10:16:16 pm »

As part of the GWR 175 celebrations, this years Mixed Traction Weekend is themed 'GWR 175 - Diesels in the West'.

It will feature the WSR home based Hydraulic fleet as well as three guest engines from other Railways.

Highlights
 
  • A feast of Maybach music - with ^Western^, ^Warship^, ^Hymek^ & Class 14 locomotives in action
  • THREE ^guest^ locomotives - ^Western^ No D1062 ^Western Courier^; ^Warship^ No D821 ^Greyhound^ & Class 14 No D9520
  • The return of Class 52 ^Western^ No D1010 Western Campaigner
  • Intensive timetable
  • Refreshments including Hot Food outlets at principal stations
  • Museums, model railways, gift shops, refreshments
  • Shunting demonstration at Dunster
  • DMU Shuttle service from Minehead towards Blue Anchor on all three days
  • Diesel & Electric Preservation Group Heritage Diesel Visitor Centre, Depot & Yard at Williton open for inspection
  • Free bus link between Taunton & Bishops Lydeard
  • Special souvenir programme
  • Day & Weekend rover tickets - cheaper if booked in advance thereby avoiding ticket office queues on the day

More information from the West Somerset Railway website.



Edit note: added to calendar. Chris.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 10:55:34 pm by chris from nailsea » Logged

6 OF 2 redundant adjunct of unimatrix 01
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2010, 10:40:57 pm »

Ahh there are some advantages to having a route starting at ta4-3_ goiNg threw ta4-4_,ta23-0_ and ta24-6_ :-) Camera in van!
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bignosemac
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2010, 09:11:32 pm »

A steam gala celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Great Western Railway.

The LNER interloper Tornado is expected to appear!

Further details from the West Somerset Railway website.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2010, 09:17:04 pm »

It is confirmed that 60163 Tornado will be returning to the West Somerset Railway on 13-17th September following the repairs to her boiler.

Further information and ticket details can be found on the West Somerset Railway website.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2010, 09:34:54 pm »

I will be off to the WSR on Monday 13th September for a ride behind Britain's newest kettle, so if anyone wants to join me then let me know here and/or by PM.

Tornado will be used for two return trips on the normal timetable, so there is no need to book in advance. Adult Day Rover tickets are ^14.80.

I plan to phot at Bishops Lydeard for Tornado's departure at 1140 then take the 'normal' steam service from Bishops Lydeard to Watchet at 1230, break there for photting opportunites of Tornado on her way back up to Bishops Lydeard and then a spot of lunch. Thence to Minehead by 'normal' steam again then return on Tornado at 1735.

....and to think I prefer Diesel-Hydraulics!  Wink
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2010, 11:05:35 pm »

....and to think I prefer Diesel-Hydraulics!  Wink

There's no accounting for taste.  Roll Eyes Grin

However, I'm rather inclined to offer to join you for that day out, bignosemac!  In the past, I've missed travelling behind Tornado, due to certain rather unfortunate circumstances, so I'd like to try and catch her this time!

CfN.  Wink Cheesy Grin
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
robert.nash
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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2010, 07:20:35 am »

Hi - I'll be there as long as I can get some time out of the office....

Cheers


Robert
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robert.nash
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2010, 01:41:56 am »

Time off sorted - will definitely be there...
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bignosemac
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2010, 02:31:08 am »

Well, that's three of us. Shame there's no GroupSave on the WSR. Sad

As I said upthread, anyone else is more than welcome. I'll be catching the 0855 out of Temple Meads, which should be a bit of loco-hauled Mk II....
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2010, 09:13:03 am »

As much as I would like to see that foreigner running on GW metals I don't think I can get down there so I will just have to make do with seeing a storm in mid Hants on Tuesday http://www.watercressline.co.uk/Home (warning sound a little loud)

 Smiley
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Mark Carne 26 June 2015 - "The challenges of delivering myriad improvement projects while still running a railway seven days a week were simply overwhelming".
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