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The Trustees are pleased to announce that the re-upholstering of the two Stogumber station seats they agreed to fund earlier in the year is now complete and visitors to the station can sit in comfort whilst they wait for their train or partake of some refreshment.

The re-upholstering of the two bench seats was undertaken with advice and guidance from Ian Colbey on heritage, and funded by the WSRA. The 8 foot long fully upholstered seat is in the booking office (where delicious refreshments can also be purchased) and the smaller bench with only the seat upholstered is in the waiting room on the platform, along with a model railway layout recently gifted to the station.  They form part of an ongoing programme of improvements at Stogumber, that make the little station a joy to visit.

Peter Mann reports:

A small team from S&T, comprising Peter Mann, Bob Birkenhead and Bernie Martin, have successfully installed a new set of lever leads in Williton Signal Box.This was made possible by the funding support from the WSR Association, which was much appreciated. The leads were engraved by Phil Taphouse of P&S Engraving in Carhampton.

The job itself turned out to be more difficult than we anticipated as we hit a number of problems.  The main issue was that to meet the specification laid down by Signal Engineer John Jenkins, the font on the new leads needed to be as similar as possible to the fonts used on an original set of leads in John’s possession, which came from the old Westbury Signal box. It turned out that these exact fonts were not now available in the digital world, so we had to work very closely with the engraver over a number of months to match the fonts, necessitating many trials and test versions. In the end we had to select a variety of fonts for different letters and numerals. We are very grateful for Phil Taphouse’s expertise and perseverance. We are pleased with the final result, the leads look very good and they help to complete the WN loop extension project.

The photos attached show the new leads in place.

The July draw for the WSRA 50:50 club was made at the end of August and the winning ticket numbers  can be viewed HERE. Cheques are on their way to the lucky winners!

The WSR’s Gala Planning Team are pleased to be able to announce some of the locomotives that will be visiting the line and working trains at the Autumn Gala between Thursday 27th and Sunday 30th September 2018.

Our theme of “Cross country railways” aims to celebrate the large variety of locos and trains that worked lines all around the UK on routes that served many towns and cities away from the capital. These included the Bristol to Sheffield/York & Newcastle routes, the Somerset & Dorset, Midland & Great Northern, North Wales and many cross Pennine routes.

The first visiting loco that we are able to confirm is BR Standard Class 5 No. 73082 ‘Camelot’ from the Bluebell Railway. This will be the first time the engine has left the Bluebell in preservation so it hasn’t been seen working anywhere else since its withdrawal by BR in the 1960’s. These locos were common on the ex Midland Bristol to the North routes and the Pennines as well as Southern Region lines where this particular example spent much of its life and carried the ‘Camelot’ name from a withdrawn “King Arthur” 4-6-0. The loco has been under repair for much of the year, but these are now all but completed and it is expected to re-enter traffic on the Bluebell very soon.

The Std 5 will be joined by Bulleid Pacific No. 34046 “Braunton” (currently running as No. 34052 “Lord Dowding” as part of the RAF 100 celebrations) which of course as a strong history with the WSR having initially been restored in the workshops at Williton. This loco arrived on the WSR yesterday and will be working a daily round trip through August and into September on many days, but please check before travelling to the line to avoid disappointment as maintenance will be required on occasions and the loco will also be our working on the mainline on a couple of dates in September.

The current home based fleet of Manor’s Nos.7820 “Dinmore Manor” & 7822 “Foxcote Manor” along with Modified Hall No. 6960 “Raveningham Hall” will represent the Western Region routes and Somerset & Dorset 7F No. 53808 represents that most famous cross country railway. Our 2018 season’s visitor S160 No. 6046 will also be appearing. It is unlikely that our own Manor No. 7828 “Odney Manor” will be quite ready in time for this gala, but may make an appearance in light steam at Minehead.

A further visiting loco or two is still under discussion and we will reveal the identity of these as soon as possible.  Please do note that all locomotives are as always subject to final availability.
Don Bishop
Gala Planning Team

Rodney Greenway was elected to the Association Board on 30 September 2017, and Frank Courtney on 7 July 2018. Both are aware of their duty as trustees as laid down in the Charity Commission’s publication The Essential Trustee.

On 16 April 2018 the Association Board responded to a request from the Board of the Plc to nominate one of their number as a director of the Plc, and nominated Rodney Greenway, who was co-opted to the Plc Board on 20 April 2018. His appointment was confirmed by his being elected to that Board at the Plc’s AGM on 23 June 2018. Frank Courtney had already been co-opted to the Plc Board on 29 July 2017 and had resigned from it on 8 May 2018.

The Association’s first Board meeting after its AGM was on Tuesday 17 July 2018. The following day Rodney Greenway informed Ian Coleby (Chairman of the Plc) that it was essential that Frank Courtney should be co-opted to the Plc Board. Neither Rodney Greenway nor Frank Courtney had mentioned to any of the Association’s other trustees at the previous day’s meeting that they were intending to take this course of action.

Ian Coleby called Paul Whitehouse (Chairman of the Association) and asked whether this proposal “that Frank Courtney should be a joint Association director on the Plc Board” was Association policy. Paul Whitehouse replied that he knew nothing of this. At no stage between the Association’s Board meeting on 17 July and the Plc’s Board meeting on 21 July was any Association trustee told of this proposal by either Frank Courtney or Rodney Greenway. Rodney’s proposal was carried by three votes to two at the PLC board meeting on 21st July and the register at Companies House was updated accordingly, but the PLC have not yet publicised this fact.

This was a complete failure by Frank Courtney and Rodney Greenway to act corporately in accordance with guidance in The Essential Trustee. The following extract is relevant:

Act in your charity’s best interests
You must:
• do what you and your co-trustees (and no one else) decide will best enable the charity to carry out its purposes
• with your co-trustees, make balanced and adequately informed decisions, thinking about the long term as well as the short term
• avoid putting yourself in a position where your duty to your charity conflicts with your personal interests or loyalty to any other person or body

Frank Courtney and Rodney Greenway acted without making any attempt to take account of the views of their fellow trustees. They did not provide any opportunity for discussion of their proposed course of action. This led to a loss of trust and confidence in both of them by some trustees, with the result that the Chairman proposed a resolution to remove them from office.

Frank Courtney and Rodney Greenway were given the 14 clear days notice required by the Articles of a resolution to remove them from office. They responded to this in writing and were expected to attend the meeting to explain their actions and respond to questions from their fellow trustees. Instead, by e-mail on 9 August they advised the trustees that they would not be attending the meeting.

Both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Association replied that they would be welcome at the Board meeting to add to that response orally, and to answer any questions trustees might have. They declined this offer and did not attend the meeting, which was held at 1800 on Monday 13 August 2018.

At this meeting there was a discussion, lasting over an hour, chaired by Mike Sherwood (Vice-Chairman of the Association), at the end of which it was resolved by five votes to two with one abstention that Frank Courtney and Rodney Greenway be removed from office as trustees.

The Association’s Board did not take this decision lightly. It is determined to adhere to the highest possible standards of governance, not only because that is what is required by the Charity Commission and the law, but because all trustees owe that duty to the members of the Association.

On 2nd August the contractor visited Williton to view the old and new cylinder blocks and will soon come back to us with an estimate for the machining work. This will help inform the ‘Motion’ stage of the project and associated fundraising.

At an awards ceremony, held in the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard yesterday evening, Blue Anchor station was awarded Best Kept Station award for 2018.  Station representatives Gill and Ivor Baulch were presented with the engraved trophy, a certificate and a ‘cheque’ for £100 to be spent on the station.  Runners up were Williton and Crowcombe Heathfield.


Judging was by an independent judge who spent half an hour at each station on a selected date, looked at everything and asked lots of questions.  Each station will be given feedback.


WSRA Trustees authorise work to re-start on Small Prairie 4561 and also the necessary fundraising to support it.

The WSRA has achieved its latest fundraising target to raise £473 to provide the materials for volunteers to complete the overhaul of a 1942 MoD Brake Van, and facilitate the recreation of a typical military freight train of the 1939/1945 era to run on the WSR.

The campaign ran from 8th to 25th June and raised well in excess of the £473 needed.  There were 26 donors of whom 20 gift aided their donations.  Any donations and related gift aid not needed for this project will be held over as restricted funds for the next similar project.

Donors commented “Another great project from the WSRA” and “Keep up the good work”.

In January this year the first successful fundraising campaign achieved it’s target of £400 for authentic wagon tarpaulins in just 2 days.  This campaign was also oversubscribed and £80 was held over and is being used towards materials to re-furbish the Brake Van.  It is planned to complete the refurbishment in time for the 1940’s weekend in September.

The WSRA has raised over £1000 for wagon restoration on the WSR this year.

THANK YOU to all our donors and supporters.