David Rayner Photography | West Somerset Railway

WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY IN OPERATION [v18.03, 31 photos added]
The West Somerset Railway was at one time a branch line of the Great Western Railway. The branch first ran from Taunton to Watchet and later was extended to Minehead. The then British Rail line was closed in 1971 but was reopened in 1976 as a heritage railway running first between Minehead and Blue Anchor. The route was steadily extended and Bishops Lydeard was opened in 1979. Today the WSR runs on the trackbed of the original West Somerset Railway and the Minehead Railway with regular services between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. The WSR line accesses the national network at Norton Fitzwarren thereby enabling both access for visiting locomotives and trips to other parts of the country. A turning triangle, located to the east of Bishops Lydyeard, close to Norton Fitzwarren, recently has been opened for general use. The new WSR (20.5 miles Minehead to Bishops Lydeard, 22.7 miles Minehead to Norton Fitzwarren) is the longest standard gauge heritage railway in the United Kingdom.
This group of photographs shows the WSR in operation on the regular Bishops Lydeard - Minehead service. There are also photos of the Bishops Lydeard – Norton Fitzwarren section which in addition to providing access and now turning (as mentioned above) is also used for shuttle trips, usually on gala days.
PHOTOS ADDED v15.03 (29) were taken during an often wet 2015 Spring Gala and are file nos. 168 to 196. Locomotive ‘70021 Morning Star’ is really loco ‘70000 Britannia’, its name plates etc. being replaced for the Gala. Only Britannia and 70013 Oliver Cromwell of this class remain. PHOTOS ADDED v16.03 (34) were taken during the 2016 Spring Gala and are file nos. 197 to 230. Locomotive No. 80072 was ‘dressed up’ as No. 80043 for the Gala, the latter also being a ‘Standard 4 Tank’ and used on the Somerset and Dorset Railway (SDJR) but which had been scrapped. Likewise for the second half of the Gala No 34053 Sir Keith Park appeared as the long-time scrapped No 34098 Templecombe – also a 'Bullied Light Pacific' that gave service on the Somerset and Dorset. PHOTOS ADDED v16.10 (6) were taken during a visit from Paddington of LMS 6201, Princess Elizabeth. 6960 Raveningham Hall pulled the return journey between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. The Princess Elizabeth is Britain’s largest operational steam train and holds the world’s long distance steam record. [Further photo in the ‘Locomotives’ gallery]. PHOTOS ADDED v17.09a (12) ten photos (file nos 237-246) of Dinmore Manor (a first sighting), the flagship locomotive of Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd. Two photos (247-248) of loco BR-LMS 0-6-0 44422. PHOTOS ADDED v17.09b (26). All of the photos were taken early in September when Flying Scotsman (first sighting; BR, A3, 4-6-2, No 60103) was visiting WSR. 17 (files 249 and 259-274) were of FS; 5 (files 250-254) of Foxcote Manor (another first sighting); 3 (files 255-257) of Raveningham Hall; and 1 (file 258) of No 44422 arriving at Washford.
PHOTOS ADDED v20.18 (31) are mostly from some new locomotives namely: GWR 0-6-0 No 7714, GWR 4-6-0 No 6990 Witherslack Hall and USA 2-8-0 No 6046. The USA locomotive was one of roughly 200 that were built in Philadelphia during WW2 and then shipped to Europe.

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