WSRA Chairman writes to members

Dear Members

At this difficult time, your Trustees thought it was important to write to you to explain what we are doing to support our Railway.

At the moment the Railway is in the ‘deep freeze’ of Covid-19 lockdown with no trains running, virtually all staff on furlough and no activities being carried out apart from essential security patrols. This puts the Railway (like many other businesses, especially in the tourism sector) under considerable financial strain as this is the time of year when the Railway would expect to be open and welcoming our early season visitors.

Your Association stands ready to help. Your Trustees have been meeting (by internet conferencing) more regularly than normal. We are ready to help with as many projects on the Railway as possible. In particular maintaining volunteer competency, which we know is a matter of concern for a lot of you. Also areas such as infrastructure repair, maintenance of rolling stock, buildings maintenance and anywhere else we can assist consistent with our charitable objects. We have asked the WSR plc for their plans and look forward to working together to implement them.  Your donations at this difficult time will be vital in sustaining the Railway and ensuring that it re-opens in full health.

Any donations to the WSRA will be held securely and only spent in accordance with charitable objects or your own directions to support the Railway. We will claim gift aid where we are able to boost the value of your donations by 25%.

You can also donate directly to the WSR plc to support day-to-day operations and we are seeking to understand how we can assist the WSR plc with that effort which has raised over £30,000 so far.

All organizations that make up the wider WSR family need your support and we are working to encourage co-operation and engagement between all parts of the railway family.

We have been and continue taking the first two practical steps.

Firstly, we continue to lead the effort to have robust volunteer recruitment processes in place to support the Railway when it re-opens, including keeping the contact system going.

Secondly, to provide a focus for the Railway’s volunteers, staff, supporters and wider community, we have established a YouTube Channel called ‘West Somerset Railway Television’ to carry short video programmes on aspects of the Railway. This has received a warm welcome already. To access it, search in YouTube for West Somerset Railway Television or click HERE.  Do you have a WSR story to tell?  It’s easier than you think and we would be pleased to hear from you. Please contact Diana at

We are also preparing for the 2020 WSRA AGM. That may require altered arrangement to cope with the present restrictions. We will write to you again about that.
Our Railway has faced difficult times in the past, not least in 1971 and 1980 and come through. We are sure that it will do again with your help.

Stay safe, follow the government guidelines and we look forward to seeing you on the West Somerset Railway again shortly.

Mike Sherwood
Chairman, WSRA

To support the PLC day-to-day operations