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The Autumn edition of our magazine has a distinctive 53808 bias!
Posted on 13th September 2017

With 53808 now having spent 30 years in Trust service, the Autumn edition of our magazine has a distinctive 53808 bias!

There's a good read to be had, as follows:

  • First up, Ted Goater contrasts 53808 and 53809 over the Mendips on the Nottingham - Bournemouth services in Summer 1962.
  • Roger Hardingham (a name likely to be familiar if you buy railway DVDs!) describes 53808's journey from BR service, through rescue from Barry, to 30 years working on the West Somerset Railway.
  • Selected extracts from a 1987 Trust magazine record the excitement generated by 53808's return to steam.
  • David Grimwood notes that Charlton Marshall Halt was 'a devil to find' at night in the latest article in his S&D stations series.
  • Feedback and Information Requests.
  • Plus, comprehensive photographic coverage of recent events!

To join us, click on Sales above followed by Membership. New memberships last until the end of 2018.

30 years of 53808 in the service of the Trust
Posted on 18th August 2017




18 August 1987... the boiler test was successfully completed, and that evening, 53808 ran out from Minehead to Blue Anchor with two carriages to check the clearances. It had taken 17 years to get to this point.

So, 53808 - originally S&D No. 88 - has now completed 30 years in service with the Trust, hired to the West Somerset Railway.

53808 was bought from Woodham Bros. of Barry for £2500 and left the well-known scrapyard in 1970. The S&D Railway Circle - which later became t...he S&D Railway Trust - initally established a base at Radstock, but it was not possible for this to be made permanent so the Trust subsequently moved to Washford on the WSR. Restoration of 53808 continued there, with the final stages being carried by the WSR themselves.

53808 is not the only locomotive owned by the Trust; we also have a 1929 Peckett named 'Kilmersdon', the last steam locomotive to work the Somerset coalfield.

The full story of 53808's rescue and return to service is in the Autumn issue of our magazine - due out 23rd August - why not join us for a good read and more; new memberships last until the end of 2018.

[Photo credits: Anon, Terry Harris, Anon, B Smith, Jason Baker, Jason Baker]

Former stationmaster unveils information panel at Midford
Posted on 30th July 2017

The Midford information panel event on Saturday 29th July was attended by both the Chair of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Cherry Beath, and the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Bath, Cllr Ian Gilchrist, as well as many former S&D firemen and drivers.

These included 99-year-old George Tucker, the oldest remaining former driver.

Keith was the stationmaster for both Midford and Wellow and arrived at Midford in 1961, not long after the line reopened following the partial embankment collapse that had occurred just to the north of the station.

He had responsibility for three signalmen at Midford and two signalmen plus a porter at Wellow. There was also a permanent way gang at Midford whose equipment was kept in sheds on the Wellow side of Midford signalbox and Keith gave them their pay.

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a good buffet at the adjacent Hope & Anchor pub. The event was organised by the Two Tunnels Group and the S&D Footplate Association.

Click on the photo above for a video of the event.

Dorchester Area group early October Meeting
Posted on 28th July 2017

The next meeting of the Dorchester Area Group takes place on Friday 6th October at 19.30 in the Colliton Club, Dorchester, opposite the County Hall.

The speaker will be the well known Paul Atterbury.

Washford Opening Dates August/September 2017
Posted on 28th July 2017

We aim to open the Museum & Shop on as many days as possible the WSR is running timetabled services. If travelling by train please check that the Washford board has been put out at Bishop Lydeard.

Planned August openings are every day

Planned September dates are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays plus 11th & 22nd but excluding 20th

Former stationmaster to unveil Midford station info. panel
Posted on 17th July 2017

On Saturday 29th July at 12.30pm, an information panel will be unveiled at Midford station by Keith Cooper, the former stationmaster. All are welcome!

The Landslide Ukulele Band will be playing a variety of railway themed songs and pub refreshments will be available from the adjacent Hope & Anchor. The Mayor of Bath and the BaNES Council Chair have been invited to the ceremony.

The information panel is the result of a joint effort by the Two Tunnels Group and the S&D Footplate Association and will be followed by other panels in the Bath area.

***PLEASE NOTE***: There is NO CAR PARKING at Midford, other than the pub car park. The organisers request that you come on FOOT, by BICYCLE, BUS, TAXI or a LIFT.

The organisers regret that it is 51 years too late to catch a train to Midford.

[Photo by John Woods/S&DRT Woods collection]

53808 & 53809 side-by-side at Minehead... an unusual sight!
Posted on 10th July 2017

Nowadays, the ex-S&D 7Fs 53808 (owned & restored by the S&DRT) and 53809 are often pictured working together... but it's less usual to see them on the opposite faces of an island platform - and both facing the same way!

However, this was the scene at Minehead on Saturday afternoon, 8th July, with 53808 on the return working of the Trust's annual Special Train and 53809 on the Dunster Castle Express.

[Photo by Fred Worth]

The Trust's annual Special Train on Saturday 8th July
Posted on 2nd July 2017

Join us on Saturday 8th July for the Trust's annual Special Train running from Bishop's Lydeard to Minehead and back. There are plenty of unreserved seats available, no booking is required and the adult fare is just £12 - pay on board the train.

Hauled by the Trust's restored S&D 7F, 53808, the service will depart from Bishop's Lydeard at 11.45am and return from Minehead at 5.15pm, stopping at Washford and Dunster. There will be a buffet/bar on the train serving hot and cold snacks.

The Special Train is provided to the Trust without charge by the West Somerset Railway as part of the hire agreement for 53808 and therefore all fares collected on this service directly benefit the Trust, supporting our conservation and restoration work.