Steam railway submit proposals for mainline summer shuttles

Great Western Railway Class 150
Credit: Jon Simons

The West Somerset Railway has announced that it has submitted proposals to Great Western Railway to run shuttles next Summer.

The proposals could see shuttle trains connecting Taunton and Bishops Lydeard on peak days during Summer 2019.

This bid has been made to GWR’s Customer & Communities Improvement Fund and is in competition with hundreds of others from around the Great Western Network.

Results of the bid should be announced later in 2018, and the service could start at the end of May 2019.

Great Western Railway will be running the diesel trains that connect with the WSR and their steam trains from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead.

WSR and GWR have worked together on improving the link between the two railways for some time. The train operating company already offers through ticketing to the WSR from staffed stations, including the connecting service which is provided by Buses of Somerset route 28 from Taunton station.

What did the officials say?

Paul Conibeare, General Manager said:

“We are extremely grateful to GWR and the LEP in their support for this Bid application, next year is the Fortieth Anniversary, as Operator of England’s Longest Heritage Railway, so what a better way to link into our existing Steam Services to Minehead”

“With the refurbishment of Taunton Station, a new Car Park and Re-furbished Great Western Hotel, there is no better time to start the new Shuttle service”

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  1. having a shuttle service to bishops lydeard and just for summers only isn’t going to get people out of their cars the rai8lway needs to run from taunton to Minehead seven days a week 12 months of the year whats the point having to change trains when 1 train could take you all the way

    • I don’t know what sort of experience or knowledge les upham has of the WSR but his comments are both unrealistic and ridiculous. Even if GWR were willing to provide a round-the-year service from Taunton to Minehead (which certainly would not pay in the off season Winter months)there is the small detail which he seems to overlook of manning signal boxes on what is a single line with passing places, plus two level crossings. All boxes are manned by volunteers and there certainly would not be enough either willing or available to do so throughout the year. The WSR would not be permitted to run their own trains onto Network Rail metals at Norton Fitzwarren/Taunton as their locos are not passed or fitted for main line running and their Mk I rolling stock is limited to 25 mph and would not be acceptable to NR, plus the fact that all staff manning trains to NR would have to have been passed on main line rules, regulations, personal track Safety etc etc. or have a Pilotman at extra cost. The only way it could be done would be to have a separate track parallel to NR from Norton to Taunton, physically separated by a fence and to reopen the Up side Bay at Taunton. All that would cost a fortune although it could be a very long term aim with the help of a few milllionaire donors. Any offers?
      The GWR proposal would be extremely helpful to those Butlins punters and others who presently arrive by train and transfer to the 28 bus with all their kids, luggage, pushchairs and rucksacks and often have to stand all the way to Minehead. Anyone who has used the 28 service will be all too familiar with this nightmare and any rail alternative would be welcome, particularly if it is promoted by Butlins themselves. WSR already reeive Charter trains working through off NR but these are one-offs and have NR approved locos and rolling stock and are hired by independent organisations

  2. Why not let GWR to introduce a shuttle service between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard as a permanent service. Just like SWR operating a shuttle service between Wareham and Corfe Castle.


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