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West Somerset Railway

West Somerset Railway

West Somerset Railway at a Glance

Type: Preserved Railway

Gauge: Standard, 4’ 8½”

Length: 20 miles

Stations: 9 + 1 halt

First opened: 1862

Closed: 1971

Re-opened in preservation: 1976

The longest standard gauge independent railway in Britain

Located between the Quantock Hills and Exmoor, the West Somerset Railway winds it’s way through 20 miles of beautiful Somerset countryside making it the longest standard gauge (4’ 8½”) independent railway in Britain (more).

Getting There

Getting to the railway is quite straightforward. If you are in Minehead, the station is right on the seafront across the road from the beach, it couldn’t be easier to find. However, if you are travelling from elsewhere then Bishops Lydeard station would be the best choice.

By train - the nearest national rail station is Taunton which is served by Great Western and Cross Country trains. Bus number 28 serves Bishops Lydeard station from here and on Gala days there is usually a free vintage bus service.

By car - Bishops Lydeard station is just off the A358 on the opposite side to the village and is well signposted from the M5 J25 or J26. There is a large free car park adjacent to the station, an overflow car park is also provided at busy times.

Map

The map below shows the location of all the stations on the West Somerset Railway, click on any of the markers to see the station name. Use the zoom and pan tools to explore the map. Postcodes, map refs & coordinates are given below.

Review

I have travelled on the West Somerset railway more times than any other heritage railway as it is my nearest steam railway and I am a member of the association.

With a route of around 20 miles, the journey over the full length of the West Somerset Railway takes about 1¼ hours. That's plenty of time to relax, enjoy the Somerset countryside, soak up the atmosphere and partake of refreshments in the buffet car where local cider is on offer.

But of course, there’s no need to travel the whole line in one go, the attractively restored intermediate stations deserve a visit and there is a wide variety of other interest nearby. There’s pretty much something for everyone, from the various preservation groups along the line to the delightful historic harbour town of Watchet.

In my opinion the West Somerset Railway is one of the best standard gauge railways in Britain and most certainly the best in the South West. You can do a return journey in a day but it will take longer to see and do everything. One of the many good reasons for a holiday in Somerset.

Attractions and Facilities

Links

On this railway

Contact details

Headquarters Address:





Telephone:

email:

 

West Somerset Railway,
The Railway Station
Minehead,
Somerset.
TA24 5BG

01643 704996

info@west-somerset-railway.co.uk

Minehead
Dunster
Blue
Anchor
Washford
Watchet
Doniford
Halt
Williton
Stogumber
Crowcombe
Heathfield
Bishops
Lydeard
Norton
Fitzwarren
West Somerset Railway
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Map | Getting there | Attractions & Facilities | Operation | Brief History | Review | Links

Operation

Service

Between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead from April to September, most weekends and several weekdays for the rest of the year, download the timetable by clicking on the image below for details.

The line is still connected to the national rail network at Norton Fitzwarren, 2 miles west of Taunton and since 1990 excursions from all over the country have used the branch.

Locomotives

12 ex main line tender and tank steam locomotives including:

8 ex main line diesel locomotives including:

8 shunters and industrial locomotives.

Stock

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Brief History

The current West Somerset Railway runs on the trackbed of the original West Somerset Railway and the Minehead Railway. Both were built to the late Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s broad gauge (7’ 0¼”) and were operated by the Bristol and Exeter Railway from the outset.

Since those pioneering days, preservation work has continued apace, progressing towards the impressive railway we see today.

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Station

Postcode

OS map ref

Coordinates

Minehead

TA24 5BG

SS974463

Lat: 51.206663N Long: 3.470079W

Dunster

TA24 6TH

SS996447

Lat: 51.192672N Long: 3.438149W

Blue Anchor

TA24 6LG

ST021434

Lat: 51.181420N Long: 3.402030W

Washford

TA23 0PP

ST043411

Lat: 51.161118N Long: 3.369951W

Watchet

TA23 0AU

ST071432

Lat: 51.180458N Long: 3.330465W

Doniford Halt

 

ST084429

Lat: 51.177971N Long: 3.311795W

Williton

TA4 4QR

ST085415

Lat: 51.165401N Long: 3.310008W

Stogumber

TA4 3TR

ST110372

Lat: 51.127140N Long: 3.273198W

Crowcombe Heathfield

TA4 4PA

ST136343

Lat: 51.101468N Long: 3.235358W

Bishops Lydeard

TA4 3BX

ST163290

Lat: 51.054221N Long: 3.195576W

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