When the railway first opened to Watchet, a service of four trains each way Monday to Saturday was advertised but this fluctuated to five or six at times for many years and an engine shed was provided at Watchet to support these. A very limited Sunday service was introduced in 1862 but was withdrawn in 1869. With the extension to Minehead, the engine facilities were moved there but the frequency of services remained much the same. With the improvements to the line in the early years of the century, the frequency increased to eight trains daily by 1910 and to 14 before World War II. Sunday services resumed in 1926 for the first time in over 50 years. The engine shed was closed in 1956 after which time all trains were provided from the Taunton end and the timetable was cut back to ten round trips. Diesels started to appear regularly from 1962, both locomotive-hauled trains and diesel multiple units (DMUs).
In 2009, regular services operate between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard. The operating season runs from March to October, with infrequent operations from November through to February. Trains run daily during the summer but less frequently during the remainder of the season. Four regular timetables are run on different days depending on expected demand, varying from two to four trains in operation, each of which makes two round trips which gives between four and eight services each way. From February 2009 to January 2010, services were advertised on 243 days. Operating locomotives are based at Minehead and Bishops Lydeard and a spare is generally kept ready at Williton.
During special events, an intensive service is operated and some workings continue through to Norton Fitzwarren. A few railtours each year come through from Network Rail using the connection near Taunton.
Read more about this topic: West Somerset Railway
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