The West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust (WSRHT) and Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust (S&DRT) are delighted to confirm that they have finalised the agreement to purchase the S&DRT shed and track at Washford. In addition, the WSRHT has signed an agreement for a 10-year lease of the site from WSR PLC, both agreements being effective from 1st February 2024.
Mike Thompson, Chairman of the WSRHT commented, “I am really pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement with the S&DRT for the Washford assets. The agreement will benefit both the WSRHT with improved facilities and the S&DRT by providing funds to invest in their future activities. The deal was very complex to finalise owing to the need for simultaneous agreement between three parties, which of course required three sets of legal teams. I must especially thank Roger Hardingham, S&DRT Chairman, Joy Boswell, Finance Director of WSR PLC and Steve Williams, Vice Chairman of WSRHT, who between them had the tenacity to navigate an extremely complex set of articles in the final agreements”.
Roger Hardingham, Chairman of the S&DRT said, “I am delighted to have completed the final arrangements at Washford which will allow the S&D Trust to embark on new ventures elsewhere along the original S&D route, and other locations, to keep the fascinating history of the Somerset & Dorset Railway alive”.
The agreement will help secure proper covered facilities for the WSRHT Carriage Restoration team who until now have had to work largely in the open at Williton, where the Trust will now cease restoration activities.
The WSRHT plans to move most of its fleet of heritage carriages to Washford over the next 12 months, from their existing locations at Williton and Dunster. All future carriage restoration activities will then take place in the 3-track shed at Washford.