Latest Blog Posts RSS Feed

Latest Blog Posts

Join us now for membership lasting until the end of 2020
Posted on 22nd August 2019

Membership promotion. New memberships - from £14 - will last until the end of 2020.








Interested in the S&D? Join us now from £14 and your membership will last until the end of 2020.

Members receive a quarterly 40-page magazine plus a travel discount on the West Somerset Railway, and other benefits.

Subscriptions help the Trust fund its restoration and conservation work. Click the link above to find out more!

New S&D photo books, plus re-printed Peter Smith book, available from the Trust
Posted on 21st August 2019

21 August 2019.

Newly available from the Trust's online sales are two new books of photos.

Volume 2 of the R C Riley archive covers Dick Riley's work on the S&D from 1955 to 1965. He usually visited during the summer months so there are a wide variety of views from the Pines Express to banking workings.

The Last Years of Steam across Somerset and Dorset by Michael Clemens contains previously unpublished photographs from the late '50s and the '60s. The S&D is covered in detail.

The Somerset & Dorset from the Footplate is a re-print - after 30 years out of print - of the amalgam of Peter Smith's two books, Mendips Engineman and Footplate over the Mendips. The book has the complete original text plus a new set of black and white images illustrating the remains of this much loved cross-country railway.

Percy Parsons
Posted on 19th August 2019

19 August 2019.

The Trust regrets to record the passing of Percy Parsons, who died on Friday 16 August aged 96.

Percy started his railway career at Edington on the S&D's Highbridge branch in 1937 and in retirement lived in the village of Chilton Polden, just down the road from Edington.

A regular attendee at the Trust's AGMs and on the Annual Special Train, Percy had authored one of the Trust's Blue Books many years ago - this one called Lines on an S&D Branch - and had provided a large amount of material from his memories which have been, and will continue to be, published in the Trust's quarterly magazine, Pines Express.

Percy was interviewed in the pub at Edington by presenter Rob Bell for the S&D part of the Channel 5 series Walking Britain's Lost Railways which was first broadcast in September 2018.

In addition, Percy had also provided his memories for a new book which will be published shortly, and which contains extraordinary detail and a very interesting insight into the workings of the S&D. At the AGM, a draft copy was available to view but Percy was unsure of whether he would see it published. Indeed he did not, but the detailed account in the book will be a lasting legacy of his time on the S&D.

[Photo by Dave Bown]

Trust has a limited edition 00-gauge model of its own BR 'Fruit D' van
Posted on 13th August 2019

13 August 2019.

Calling all railway modellers!

The Trust has now in stock a limited edition 00-gauge model of its own BR 'Fruit D' van which can be seen at our museum in Washford. Our van was built in the mid-1950s to a GWR design.

We have a batch of just 105 models of this van which will all be supplied with a numbered certificate (illustrated). They're £21 each plus £3.70 p&p - order here.

7¼” gauge model of our S&D 7F No. 53808 hauls its first passengers
Posted on 6th August 2019

6 August 2019.

The 'little' 53808 completed by retired engineer Vic Whittaker was hauling the first passengers at a park local to his home in Leyland, Lancashire on 4 August.

Vic was understandably pleased, saying "A very well mannered loco which steams extremely well – in fact on the climb away from the station it will hold the red line on the steam pressure gauge even when both injectors are full on.... Performed like a dream, very powerful but held back a bit until it is run in."

"In all we ran for four and a half hours continuously (about 50 kilometres) with two passenger trucks full of people. We all felt that two trucks was a bit of a light load but rain stopped play before we could put on more."

"Now all back in the dry. PS, for the eagle eyed the steam dome profile is not correct - awaiting some brass plate to modify it."

Retired engineer completes a working 7¼” gauge model of 53808 - steam test done!
Posted on 31st July 2019

31 July 2019

Formerly an electrical engineer, Vic Whittaker started model engineering in 2004 with Great Western engines. He's made a BR standard in 5” gauge followed by a GWR King (Charles I) in 7¼” gauge then a couple of years ago a GWR 14xx class in 7¼”.

However, Vic knew the Mendips well and had often seen Ivo Peters' car parked at lineside locations. So why not an S&D 7F?

Vic started by approaching the Trust for information and Trust members have been able to read about the construction of the loco over several issues of our magazine. The steam test has been done and next weekend it is hoped to have the 'little' 53808 hauling passengers.

The full story of the completion of the loco will be in the Autumn issue of our magazine - look out for a special membership offer soon! Members can also access previous issues of the magazine in pdf format, right back to issue 1 in 1966.

Trust will be at Norton Fitzwarren Steam Rally on 3/4 August
Posted on 31st July 2019

Coach 4 at the steam rally in 2018

31 July 2019

This year's steam rally is the 32nd event and the Trust will be taking along a variety of historic vehicles and Caledonia Works 1219 will be there as well.

Further event information is on this link.

Trust's stand will be at the Somerset Steam & Country show on 20/21 July
Posted on 19th July 2019

19 July 2019

The Trust's sales stand will be at the Somerset Steam & Country show near Langport this weekend, 20/21 July.

Come and browse a wide range of goods and if you are a member (and have your card), the usual 10% discount plus a free cup of tea or coffee will be on offer.

Do come and have a look!