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The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust have received a large donation towards the 2019 Rail Renewal appeal, that takes the total over the half way point.  Together we have so far raised 51% of the targeted £250,000 for this winter’s track works.  Work has already begun on the Doniford section of the track and will continue over the winter period.

Working together to secure the future of  the West Somerset Railway.

The latest figures reveal that the WSR Rail Renewal Fund 2019 has tipped over £100,000.

Included in that figure is a donation of £20,000 from The Fairfield Trust.  The WSRA Trustees wish to express their sincere gratitude to the Fairfield Trust for supprting the WSR Rail Renewal 2019 fund. This very generous donation takes the total charitable funds held for this project to just over £103,000.  There are still more gift aid pledges to recover and when those funds are received we expect to be approaching half of the required amount for this winter’s agreed works.

The Trustees, Directors, staff and volunteers on the railway would like to express gratitude to everyone who has so far donated to this fund.  The work will begin next week with the relay of some 328m of track at the Doniford Curve and some of the donated funds are now being released to pay for the necessary materials for that work to begin.

The fund will remain open for donations until the end of the year and you can donate online  at  or go to for more information and other ways of donating and supporting the project.

On Friday 4th October the WSRA was thrilled to hand over a cheque for £1150 towards the cost of the second phase of restoring the cattle dock at Stogumber Station.  This is the only remaining cattle dock on the WSR and is therefore an important heritage item for restoration and preservation.  The second phase of the restoration involved the reconstruction of pens based on GWR standard cattle pens.  The station team hope to complete the pens under phase III and also carry out brick paving repairs.  The WSRA also contributed to the first phase of the restoration to reinstate the steps to the cattle dock.

The WSRA invites bids for funding for heritage projects from all stations and other special interest groups on the west somerset railway.

Photo shows WSRA Trustee Robin White handing over the cheque to Stogumber Station Master Bob Preston on 4th October 2019.

The WSR Community Engagement Officer is busy organising a Steam and Scream Community Event at Watchet Station and town Esplanade.

In a puff of steam it’s wickedly wonderful Halloween fun during Half-Term week at the West Somerset Railway!

 The event will run from Tuesday 29th to Thursday 31st October 2019

6pm – 10pm (Whole Event)      7:15pm – 9:15pm (Steam & Scream Ghost Train Experience)

During the evenings of 29/30/31st October there will be a walk-through ghost train experience at Watchet Station.  Dare to enter a specially created series of ghostly carriages where you will be greeted by hilarious haunters, giggling ghosts and ghouls galore!
You will come face-to-face with ghosts from the past who used to use the West Somerset Railway, as on certain nights during October they are to be known to still travel on it and haunt it!
There will also be some interesting characters on our station platform!
Spooky tales will be taking place on the station and there will be creepy craft activities for children.
Visitors are encouraged to attend the whole event as historical ghosts in period costume dating from the Victorian period to the 1960’s, as well as the usual wizards, witches and other spooky characters you meet on such occasions!
Visitors are also encouraged to bring a carved pumpkin (with battery tea lights) to display on the station platform.

£10 Family of 5 (Children under 3 go free)
£2.50 per person
£2.00 Concessions (Senior Citizens (over 65) /Disabled – Carers go free)

Watchet Coastal Communities Team will be hosting the following to combine with the West Somerset Railway’s Steam & Scream experience on all three evenings:
Tuesday 29th – Evening Steam & Scream Ghost Train Experience
Wednesday 30th – Daytime Street Market (Watchet Esplanade)/Evening Steam & Scream Ghost
Train experience

Thursday 31st (Halloween) – Evening Steam & Scream Ghost Train Experience/Afternoon and
Evening Street Fair on the Esplanade with frighteningly good themed
food and refreshments /Themed Costumed Competition and Town
Parade 6:30pm/Photo booth opportunity/Street entertainers/Pumpkin
Carving/Painting/Themed Children’s disco/Mystery Walking Tour with
‘The Bell Man of Watchet’ 6-8pm (£5 per person – bookable through
Watchet Visitor Centre)


For more details please contact:

Catherine Dance
WSR Community Engagement Officer

We are pleased to announce that the rally dates for 2020 have been confirmed as 1st and 2nd August.

Feedback was gathered by the section marshals and other team members, via social media, written response  and general word of mouth. The overwhelming response reported by the team was a desire to keep the dates as the first weekend in August for 2020, which we have done.

We recognise that it is almost impossible to avoid clashing with some other event during August and have done everything we can to minimise the inconvenience.  We are also aware that the WSRA rally has become known for its ‘first weekend in August’  slot in the timetable and the team feel disrupting that could be a disadvantage.

Keep an eye on the rally section of this website for rally news and application forms as they become available.  The planning starts again now and we look forward to seeing you on 1st and 2nd August 2020 for an even better show.

The WSRA Rally Team

The WSRA and WSSRT are pleased to announce that donations to the WSR Rail Renewal Appeal have now exceeded £70,000. Individual donations vary range from £5 to £8000 and the railway is very grateful for all of them. There are also donations from groups and commercial enterprises, demonstrating the important part the West Somerset Railway plays in the life of the local community as well as the wider heritage movement.

We’d like to especially acknowledge the donations made by friends and family in memory of Michael John Gay. Michael Gay was a steam and railway enthusiast and a long-standing supporter of the West Somerset Railway from its very early days. He retired to Loxton, near Weston-super-Mare, after a lifetime in the newspaper industry, finally becoming Managing Director of the then Bristol United Press, publishers of the Western Daily Press and Evening Post. His friends and family have made their donations to the WSR Rail renewal appeal in his memory.

The figures quoted for the appeal here and elsewhere on this website are donations received to date. Associated Gift Aid forms part of the original gift (unless otherwise specified by the donor) and will be added to the Rail Renewal Fund as and when it is recovered.

Please follow the link to our online donations page to make your donation

GWR 0-6-0PT no 9466 will be a surprise operating guest exhibit for the West Somerset Railway Association’s Steam and Vintage Rally at Norton Fitzwarren on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 August 2019, As a red route engine, no 9466 is restricted to the Norton – Bishops Lydeard section of the WSR but is likely to head the empty stock of the evening Somerset Coast Express from Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren on Friday 2 August 2019. The Somerset Coast Express is a special excursion for those folks involved in the Rally. The loco will then bank the excursion from Norton to Bishops Lydeard, then cut off and return to Norton.
Over the Rally weekend, the loco will spend some time on static display and footplate visits, plus will also share duties with Barclay 0-4-0ST no 1219 on brake van duties on the Barnstaple Branch section of the Norton Triangles helping to raise more funds for the WSR’s current £250,000 track appeal.

Download the full press release HERE

The WSRA has two pieces of good news to share with supporters.

Firstly, we are very pleased to announce that on Friday Locomotive 9351 was handed back to the WSR plc in Minehead.  After a little more gentle running-in the loco is expected to return to traffic within a few days. The overhaul of this locomotive was a truly collaborative venture.  The boiler was overhauled at LNWR Crewe and the bottom end was overhauled at Minehead. The re-assembly and refurbishment of a suitable tender were then completed at WS Restoration in Williton. The total cost of the re-assembly and tender work was just short of £30,000, which has been funded by donations from supporters and by the WSRA.


Our second piece of good news relates to our own locomotive, Small Prairie 4561.  On Friday we received a cheque for £20,000 towards the cost of the restoration of the loco, from Garfield Weston Foundation. This is a result of the work of our Trusts and Foundations fundraiser Kate Williams.  Kate has also sourced £5,000 from the Veronica Awdry Charitable Trust and £15,000 from the Pilgrim Trust for this project and the total now held in donations and pledges for restoring 4561 is over £120,000.  We still need more, but we are well on the way and now that 9351 has been returned to Minehead the team at Williton will be able to turn their attention to 4561.  More details on the restoration of 4561 can be found at

9351 resting at Minehead after delivery ready to enter service after some more loaded test runs.

Ryan and Liam Pope with 9351 as they wait in Williton station to collect the token for the light engine return trip to Minehead, with driver Colin Henderson and fireman Liam Pope.


Regulator rod with handle removed to allow additional gland packing to be added behind the oval flange to cure the leak shown below flange

9351 being weighed on equipment provided by the South Devon Railway. This allows the whole engine to be “floated” on hydraulic load cells that are bearing on the rail head and lifting the wheels clear of the rail head (just). At this point reading the pressure gauges on pump units provides a pressure reading that as the bore of the load cells is known, the weight of each wheel on the rail head can be calculated. Thus the engine can be weighed, the spring bolts adjusted balance the weight across the locomotive on each axle as well as bringing axle loads for each wheel set to the required weight front to back.

Application of clear coat prior to delivery