Let’s get 4561 rolling

WSRA Trustee meeting report 13 July 2021

The WSRA Trustees met on Tuesday 13th July by remote conference call.  Amongst the items discussed were:

  • Minutes of the Previous meeting in June were approved and are available for members to view in the members section of this website.
  • B&E Station Signs –The Patterns have now been transported to the foundry ready for casting to begin. Photos will be posted to social media as soon as possible.
  • 4561 – Trustees noted that restoration was progressing well
  • Working with the PLC – Trustees were disappointed to hear that the planned meeting between MS and Joy Boswell had not yet taken place.  MS was asked to pursue this so that the WSRA has the information needed to best support the PLC.
  • Quantock Belle
    • Trustees have reached agreement with the PLC for the QB to run on a limited number of occasions in 2021 in order to fulfil existing commitments.
    • Discussions are underway to agree further QB workings in 2021 including GALA and Christmas trains.
    • Trustees agreed that the options for the long term future of the set must be put to the membership at the 2021 AGM.  It was not acceptable to leave it stabled and not earning revenue for another year.
  • AGM  – Trustees confirmed 4th September as the AGM date.  This is subject to regulation changes, venue availability and working with other WSR organisations. The AGM will be held in Crowcombe Village hall and there will be an online attendance option.  Nominations for Trustee opened on 6th July 2021 and will close on 5th August 2021.  Nomination forms are available to download from the members section of the website or by email request to manager@wsra.org.uk

WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY GETS ON BOARD ‘LOVE YOUR RAILWAY’ NATION-WIDE CAMPAIGN

The 20-mile West Somerset Railway (WSR) is joining fellow heritage railways next week all over the country from as far afield as Cornwall, Suffolk, North Wales, North East Scotland and Northern Ireland  in a new nationwide campaign to raise greater awareness of Britain’s heritage rail sector.

Spearheaded by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), the ‘Love Your Railway’ campaign will run for six weeks this summer from July 26th to September 5th.

‘Love Your Railway’ aims to shine a spotlight on not only the important work heritage railways do with regards to historic conservation, education and research, but also highlight how the nation’s heritage railways have all been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of reduced capacities and income which have threatened their very existence.

The WSR is collaborating with the NYMR and over 35 other famous heritage railways, including The Bluebell Railway, Crich Tramway Village, Severn Valley Railway and Snowdon Mountain Railway.

Seven heritage railway lines in the South West region – a fifth of the national total – are taking part too, viz: Bodmin & Wenford; East Somerset; Gloucestershire Warwickshire; Lynton & Barnstaple; North Dorset; West Somerset, and the South Devon .

WSR plc Chairman Jon Jones-Pratt commented: “The WSR is pleased to support the ‘Love Your Railway’ campaign to highlight the work that heritage lines, such as ourselves, all over the country do to conserve, protect, promote, entertain and educate people about Britain’s rich 200-year railway history and culture”

 “Heritage railways in the South West, and across the country, have all had a very difficult time during the Covid-19 pandemic with severely restricted operations and mounting financial losses, so we need more people to come and visit us this Summer just to survive and keep the wheels turning for the future.”

Image © Don Bishop  featuring No. 7822 ‘Foxcote Manor’ leaving Blue Anchor station for Minehead with classic seaside views of the sea and cliffs behind. 

Image © Don Bishop  featuring former GWR steam loco 41xx Class No. 5199  crossing Ker Moor

Chris Price, General Manager at NYMR, said: “We’re optimistic and excited about the summer ahead, but the last 12 months have been like no other year, with lockdowns, reduced capacities due to social distancing, and staff and volunteers falling victim to the virus.

“There are more than 150 operational heritage railways in Britain, running trains over nearly 600 miles of track, which protect, conserve and bring to life part of the nation’s rich cultural heritage – giving enjoyment and learning to thousands of people every year. 

“We want to do all we can to raise awareness of every heritage railway across the country and the challenges we face; all the participating railways will be posting their own social media content across the six themed weeks, but we also want to encourage the public to get involved by sharing their favourite memories and inspiring imagery from their visits, using the hashtag #LoveYourRailway.”

The six themed weeks will follow the following topics in this order, viz: Heritage, Education, Volunteers, Family, Sustainability and Future.

The WSR’s two main support charities, the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA) and West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust (WSRHT) are both supporting the ‘Love Your Railway’ campaign via the WSR plc, and some of their activities will be featured in the coming weeks.

WSRHT Chairman, and WSR plc director, Steve Williams comments: “The West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust is delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the ‘Love Your Railway’ campaign. As one of the two principal support charities on the WSR, the Trust is already taking a leading role in preserving, maintaining and managing a range of heritage items and activities across the railway, including museums and restoration of important heritage carriages.”

WSRA Chairman Mike Sherwood said: “The WSRA is pleased to be supporting the WSR plc in this great initiative for the railway heritage movement in the UK.”

For further information on the WSR, please contact: WSR plc Assistant General Manager Kerry Noble on 01643 700408 kerry.noble@wsrail.net  or PR & Business Development Manager Dick Wood on 07711 552947  or dick.wood@wsrail.net

Two Small GALA events planned for 2021

The West Somerset Railway (WSR) Gala Planning Team is pleased to announce that two small gala events are being planned for September and October 2021 as Government Covid restrictions are hopefully further eased.

These will be the first enthusiast gala events held at the WSR in almost two years since the winter steam event in December 2019!

The first gala will be held on Friday 17th & Saturday 18th September which will be a true “Mixed Traffic” weekend complete with diesel-only haulage on the Friday, plus a mix of steam and diesel on the Saturday, and then a more normal steam-only service will operate on the Sunday.

Diesel locos planned to run for the September event are: Hymek Class 35 D7018 and Crompton Class 33’s D6566 and D6575, plus maybe one ‘guest’ diesel loco that is under discussion, but subject to budgetary constraints following the limitations enforced on the railway by the Coronavirus pandemic.

On the Saturday, the home-based WSR steam fleet of former GWR locos in Large Prairie No. 5199, Mogul No. 9351 and Manors No. 7822 “Foxcote Manor” and No. 7828 “Odney Manor” will join the diesels, and some of these locos will also haul the Sunday services.

All trains are expected to run between Bishops Lydeard and Blue Anchor & Dunster stations, plus maybe a couple of workings over the little used Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren section.

The short section between Dunster and Minehead will be unavailable, however, as engineering works continue on the renewal of the Seaward Way level crossing at Minehead, but a heritage bus link will be provided for passengers to travel on to Minehead if desired.

Then, a couple of weeks later, the WSR Plans its long awaited and ever popular ‘Autumn Steam Gala’ on three days between Friday 1st and Sunday 3rd October inclusive.

Once again, the home-based steam fleet of former GWR locos will be in action with Large Prairie No. 5199, Mogul No. 9351 and Manors No. 7822 “Foxcote Manor” and No.7828 “Odney Manor” will give a distinct British Railways Western Region branch line feel.

The Gala Planning Team also hopes to bring in a guest steam loco to join the line-up too, but this cannot be guaranteed at this stage, so would be visitors are advised to check the WSR websites and social media pages for updates.

As with the ‘Mixed Traction’ weekend, WSR steam trains for the October ‘Autumn Steam Gala’ are planned to run between Bishops Lydeard and Blue Anchor & Dunster stations, plus maybe a couple of workings over the little used Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren section.

The short section between Dunster and Minehead is also likely to still be unavailable then as engineering works continue on the renewal of the Seaward Way level crossing at Minehead, but a heritage bus link will be provided for passengers to travel on to Minehead if desired.

It is hoped that a breakfast meal will be available for advance bookings on the “Quantock Belle” dining train, attached to some trains during this weekend.

The WSR has repainted most of its coaching stock into a variety of liveries during the lockdown period, and it is planned to run a Maroon, Red/Cream and Choc/Cream sets for these galas in order to recreate some authentic scenes of BR Western Region secondary and branch lines.

Tickets are not yet available because the WSR awaits to hear what the next stages of easing Covid restrictions might be so that seating plans can be worked out. These will be released as soon as possible, but not before Monday 19 July.

Images licenced under a Creative Commons Licence © Sylvia Way and Peter Darke

Can you help make a difference?

Can you work with a diverse group of people to achieve a common aim?

Can you be objective in decision making, whilst retaining a passion for the WSR?

The WSRA  needs Trustees with skills and experience in marketing & PR, IT and digital technologies, and fundraising, especially corporate fundraising.  More people with these skills coming forward to be Trustees will help the WSRA provide the charitable support that the railway needs.  Engineering, land management and community engagement experience would also be welcomed.

Trustees are responsible for the management of the Association’s business, subject to the Articles and  have a legal duty to:

  • Act in the Charity’s best interest at all times
  • Manage the Charity’s resources responsibly
  • Act with reasonable care and skill

New Trustees are elected by the membership at the AGM, which this year is to be held on 4th September. Trustee nomination forms will be available for download next week from the members section of this website, or by application to the WSRA General Manager.  Any of the current Trustees would be happy to discuss the role with anyone interested.  Details of current Trustees can be found on the ‘about’ page of this website.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Could you be a Trustee?

Do you believe in the future of our wonderful railway?

Would you like to make a difference?

Can you work with a diverse group of people to achieve a common aim?

Can you be objective in decision making, whilst retaining a passion for the WSR?

The WSRA is looking for new Trustees.  If you think the role may suit you, take a look at two documents:

  • The WSRA Articles of Association.  Understand the rules of the organisation and the role and responsibilities of a Trustee.
  • The Essential Trustee – Published by the Charity Commission this document clearly explains the legal duties of all Charity Trustees in England and Wales.

WSRA Trustee Nomination Forms will be available by 6th July.