Posted in Railways on Saturday 7th October 2006 at 10:27am

This weekend the West Somerset Railway holds it's Autumn Steam Gala. Much as I love the scenery and the ambience of the WSR, I'm always disappointed by some staff member's attitude to Diesel traction. This seems to have been compounded by a lack of Diesel gala this year and by management recently announcing that "the WSR is a steam railway". In this climate, and alongside First Great Western MD Alison Forster recently saying she "'didn't think steam engines should be on the mainline" today saw an unlikely alliance!

Through ticketing onto the WSR
Through ticketing onto the WSR

Set out on the 08:07 from Highbridge. There appeared to be a few steam cranks on board. The guard had a little difficulty issuing the return to Bishop's Lydeard but eventually coaxed the Avantix machine into action. Wonderful weather on the short journey down to Taunton - can only hope it holds for my week away. Platform 2 at Taunton packed with WSR staff, FGW staff and a few press interested in the event - the first service train to work through to Bishop's Lydeard since 1971. On time, a single 158 crept into the platform with a makeshift route indicator for Lydeard. We piled on and crawled slowly past Fairwater Yard and onto the branch at Norton Fitzwarren. After passing the army base and the location of the WSR's proposed turning triange, we were soon passing a line of steam locomotives ready for the gala, and drawing into the station.

158747 with incongruous 'Wessex Trains' headboard waits to head for Bishops Lydeard
158747 with incongruous 'Wessex Trains' headboard waits to head for Bishops Lydeard

Stayed aboard for the return trip, and I was surprised at the number of people who got on for the first ride back. As we passed Norton Fitzwarren we halted - an elderly female was walking her five dogs on the track. A British Transport Police officer travelling with us stepped off to have a word - "but I've been doing this for thirty years officer!". Held again at the junction for 6201 Princess Elizabeth to cross into Fairwater Yard awaiting an incoming charter. Soon arrived at Taunton and the adventure was over - a tiny bit of track in some ways, but one I've waited a long time to travel.

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I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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