Locomotive Performance

The West Somerset Railway

It was in 1982 that I first travelled on the West Somerset Railway. It was a BR excursion from Birmingham New Street to Minehead, using the Taunton to Bishops Lydeard bus link. In 1982 the motive power comprised two 0-6-0ST's, Victor and Vulcan. On my visit it was Vulcan, no 2994. And sadly, the loco was not up to the job, and on the return trip, lost so much time, that only a "brisk" bus journey back to Taunton enabled the homebound connection to be made. But what an impression the journey to and from Minehead made. What a fantastic line, and what superb stations. My conclusion was that, given some traditional Great Western motive power, the line could be a winner.

And so it has proved. From those humble beginnings, the railway won the "2004 Preserved Railway of the year". In the intervening years, under the stewardship of an astute chairman, an excellent management team, and dedicated personnel, both paid and unpaid, continuous progress has been made. I have been a regular visitor over the years, usually attending at least one gala each year. From a performance point of view, hard locomotive work is required up to Crowcombe, in each direction, and to Washford. Below are details and logs of some of my journeys.
6th March 1982: 2994 Vulcan (Bagnall 0-6-0ST): 12.15pm Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and 2.35pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard [view logs of 2994]
18th May 1986: 6412 (0-6-0PT): 11.10am Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and 2.15pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard [view logs of 6412]
13th September 1987: 53808 (S & DJR 7F 2-8-0): 9.45am Minehead to Bishops Lydeard and 11.40am Bishops Lydeard to Minehead [view logs of 53808] and in the afternoon Williton to Bishops Lydeard on the 4.15pm from Minehead and Bishops Lydeard to Williton on the 6.00pm from Bishops Lydeard with a load made up to 11 coaches [view logs of 53808]
27th March 1988: 3205 (2251 class 0-6-0) on a special non stop 2.15pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard shortly after the loco arrived at the West Somerset [view log of 3205]
28th April 1990: 4561 (4500 class 2-6-2T) on the 5.10pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard, working to a DMU schedule with a 7 coach load [view log of 4561]
18th September 1993: 48773 (8F 2-8-0) on a Severn Valley Railway Association charter from Kidderminster: 12.20pm Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and 4.40pm return. The SVR  loco was on hire to the West Somerset Railway at the time [view logs of 48773]
8th March 1996: 34039 Boscastle (Rebuilt West Country class 4-6-2) through a snowstorm on the 3.50pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard during the Somerset & Dorset weekend [view log of 34039]

9th March 1996: 44422 (4F class 0-6-0) from Williton to Minehead on the 10.50am from Bishops Lydeard and from  Minehead to Williton on the 12.40pm service. Also the Somerset & Dorset weekend  [view logs of 44422]

13th September 1996: A day on the "Push and Pull". 1450 (1400 class 0-4-2T) operating push and pull services. I travelled from Blue Anchor to Williton, Williton to Washford, Minehead to Blue Anchor and return, Minehead to Watchet and return, and on 14th September from Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren and return [view logs of 1450] 
22nd March 1997: 7325 (4300 class 2-6-0) and 7029 Clun Castle double heading the 12 coach 3.30pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard [view log of 7325 & 7029]
9th March 1999: 9466 (9400 class 0-6-0 PT) 2.20pm Minehead to Bishops Lydeard and from Bishops Lydeard to Blue Anchor on the 3.55pm Minehead service [view log of 9466]

21st March 1999: 76079 (BR Std 4MT 2-6-0) on the 10.46am Norton Fitzwarren to Minehead between Bishops Lydeard and Williton, and on the 1.20pm from Minehead between Blue Anchor and Bishops Lydeard [view logs of 76079]

30th March 2003: 30053 (M7 0-4-4T), a visiting engine from the Swanage Railway, on the 9.45am Bishops Lydeard to Minehead [view log of 30053]  


Click here for the West Somerset Railway website

or here for the Unofficial West Somerset Railway website