West Somerset Railway - Heritage Organisations

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Heritage Organisations

Although the railway is operated by the West Somerset Railway Company, it is supported by a number of voluntary and charitable organisations.

The West Somerset Railway Association is based at Bishops Lydeard and has workshops at Williton. It coordinates a large number of volunteers who carry out a wide range of tasks to support the railway, from booking clerks and gardeners to engine drivers and guards. It owns two locomotives (4500 Class 4561 and Manor Class 7821) and part shares in others.

The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust was set up in 1972 to operate the summer steam trains alongside the West Somerset Railway Company’s commuter service. It had little to do once the railway became a purely seasonal heritage line but, in 1984, was revived for education and historical research into the Minehead branch and has a small museum at Blue Anchor. Its rare restored GWR sleeping carriage is on display in the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard and is now restoring a GWR 'Toplight' coach which will be the first in a set of historic coaches on the West Somerset Railway.

The Diesel and Electric Preservation Group is based at Williton where they use the old goods shed and a newer building as workshops for their fleet of diesel locomotives which are used on the West Somerset Railway. The group owns five ex-Western Region locomotives: Class 14 9526; Class 35s 7017 and 7018; Class 47 1661; and Class 52 1010. Williton is also the base for a number of privately owned locomotives which are maintained by the DEPG.

The Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust owns S&DJR 7F 2-8-0 number 88 which is part of the WSR’s regular fleet. The Trust promotes the education and preservation of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway and, at Washford, they operate "Kilmersdon", a Peckett 0-4-0ST locomotive and have a collection of goods wagons and coaches. The museum also features a signalling display based around the small signal box from Burnham-on-Sea.

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