West Somerset Railway supporters donate over £1000 to repair vandal damage

Vandalised carriage
Credit: West Somerset Railway

West Somerset Railway has announced that their supporters have donated over £1,000 to repair the damage in less than 24 hours.

Vandals struck the West Somerset Railway on 29th April at around 9pm with an attack on a railway coach stabled overnight at Bishops Lydeard.

They smashed three large carriage windows and two door windows in the attack. It is estimated will cost £1,000 to replace and repair.

The attackers posted a video of the attack on social media which has been widely circulated and even broadcast on BBC TV’s local ‘Points West’ programme.

In less than 24 hours over £1,100 had been raised and the total now stands at £1,248 with more to come from the government ‘gift aid’ scheme which adds 25% to donations from UK tax payers.

The fundraising campaign was launched with the suggestion that 100 people gave £10 each, to achieve the required £1000.  To date, 76 people have donated and the value of the donations ranged from £4 to £100.

What did the officials say?

WSR plc chairman Jonathan Jones-Pratt said:

“This attack was horrible for the Railway’s dedicated staff and volunteers who put in many hours maintaining our vintage vehicles to give visitors a taste of nostalgia on a trip to the seaside.  Local people have rallied round and helped identify the perpetrators.  We have passed our information to the Somerset Police and trust that swift action will be taken.”

WSRA chairman Paul Whitehouse said:

“It was so heartening to see how folk have responded positively to this mindless destructive act.  We have had hundreds of messages of support.  We are engaged on a refurbishment and repainting programme for the Railway’s carriages at our Williton works, and it costs around £5,000 to paint each coach.  If supporters would like to mark their displeasure at this act of vandalism and support for the Railway, the appeal remains open until the end of May and any donation would be most welcome.  It will be used to enhance the Railway’s carriages so that some good can come out of this episode.”

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Michael Holden avatar
I have had an interest in Railways for as long as I can remember. I am a member of a number of heritage railways and actively volunteer at 2 of them. I enjoy all types of railways, real life, model and simulations. I started RailAdvent in 2014 and am the main editor of the site.
  • But why would these vandals do that. Its disgusting on what they have done. Even saw it on Facebook made me angry on what they have done. Or at least one of the scumbags who done that.

  • Nothing new, sadly, NYMR had extensive vandalism to the Gresley coaches last year; 100% security is virtually impossible to achieve when so much of our rail heritage is in remote locations. The need to post your stupidity on social media underlines the silly mindset of those guilty-one hopes justice will be done. Bon chance to all on WSR.

  • Policeing in Somerset is dire. I was on a West Somerset Railway train approaching Watchet and vandals were throwing stones at the train. I dialled 999 and soon realized that I was talking to someone in Bath. They were not in the least bit interested in getting a police person to site.