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Latest Blog Posts

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!


Photos from the Annual Special Train, Sunday 7 July
Posted on 8th July 2019

8 July 2019.

Here is a selection of photos from the Annual Special Train with 53808.

Most of the photos were taken at Minehead and include the former S&D staff who came to see 53808 whilst awaiting departure on the return journey.

[Photos by Rod Ormston]

​A weekend with our S&D 7F, No. 53808 - 6/7 July
Posted on 22nd June 2019

4 July 2019

A weekend with our S&D 7F, No. 53808 - 6/7 July:
   - On display at Washford on Saturday.
   - On our Annual Special Train on Sunday with late availability bookings here.

It has been announced today that 53808 will be available to be on display at Washford on Saturday 6 July, after the completion of essential repairs. Come and have a closer look at 53808 - built for freight traffic as S&D No. 88 in 1925.

Then, on Sunday 7 July, enjoy a return trip from Bishops Lydeard (departing 11.40) to Minehead (returning at 17.25) behind 53808


Washford Beer Festival on today - with evening bus service Friday/Saturday
Posted on 20th June 2019

20 June 2019

The Beer Festival shortly after opening on Thursday. [Photo by Dave Temple]

The Beer Festival at Washford is on from today until Saturday, during the Diesel Gala. Why not drop in? More information is on the earlier posting further down the page. Although there are no evening trains, the WSR have announced a free evening bus service for ticket holders:

"On Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd June Crosville Vintage Ltd will be providing an evening bus service from Washford Station to coincide with our Washford Beer Festival and Diesel Gala.

The Bus will depart Washford at 9pm and will drop off at Watchet, Williton, Bishops Lydeard and Taunton.

Those with tickets for travel on those dates will be permitted to travel on the bus free of charge."

The last scheduled Route 28 bus towards Minehead follows a few minutes later.

Remembering Ivo Peters, 30 years on
Posted on 7th June 2019


Ivo Peters with his 16mm film camera, photographed beside the S&D line.

Ivo Peters' death on 7 June 1989 marked the end of an era, in S&D terms. On our Facebook page, we have a short clip with Ivo telling an amusing story about a visit to Midsomer Norton station.

This is part of around 90 minutes of recordings of Ivo from 1979/80 that along with 16 other audio volumes, mostly staff recollections, are now available as digital downloads in our online shop. Many years ago, they were issued on cassette tape and some have more recently been sold on CD.

The recordings of Ivo - in conversation with Trust member and Dorchester group organiser Peter Foster - are a very special record of times past. The Trust gave both Julian Peters and Mike Arlett prior access to the recordings before the re-issue in downloadable format.

{Photo copyright R C Riley]