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Latest Blog Posts

Trust issues new edition of Southbound with the 'Pines' after 35 years out of print
Posted on 2nd May 2020

Front cover of Southbound with the Pines

The original 1985 edition

The Trust has produced a new edition of Southbound with the 'Pines' 35 years after the publication of the original booklet as part of a series of Trust Blue Books.

Containing a collection of fascinating footplate memories from Donald Beale, the title retains his original and inimitable text accompanied by a mostly new set of photographs - including several taken by Ivo Peters. Even after 35 years, the Trust was still receiving requests for the booklet and pre-owned copies were selling for up to £18 online. It was decided that the time was right for a new edition.

The text from the original edition was scanned and re-set by the Trust's magazine editor and there was considerable input from Brian Macdermott - who compiled the original text in 1985 - as well as from Mike Arlett and Jonathan Edwards.

We were also assisted very considerably by Julian Peters who kindly provided however many of his father's photos we wished to use, without charge.

The booklet is A5-size with 48 pages and laminated card covers. Available from the Trust at £6.95 plus £1.85 p&p.




AGM information updated for our members
Posted on 13th April 2020

13 April 2020.

S&DRT members may like to know that the information in the Members' Area of the website has been updated.

We have included the postponement letter provided by the Chairman and also the final Report & Accounts which were approved at the meeting on 14 March.

Trust has gained 100 new members since July last year
Posted on 27th March 2020

27 March 2020.

The Trust is pleased to announce that since 1 July last year, the number of new members has now reached 100.

The membership levels of the Trust had been in decline for many years so this recent uplift is particularly heartening.

Why not join them? Click here to find out more.

Trust videos now available on YouTube
Posted on 23rd March 2020

YouTube logo

23 March 2020.

The Trust has a number of short videos available to view and to make them more accessible, they are now being added to YouTube - as well as being on Vimeo and some also on Facebook.

In particular, this will mean they can be viewed via many internet-connected TVs and recorder boxes.

Trust issues new Press Release - still no progress on the Washford situation
Posted on 20th March 2020

53808 in the yard at Washford during summer 2019

20 March 2020.

Nearly six weeks after receiving the Notice to Quit the Washford site, the Trust still has not received any response to its many questions for the WSR regarding this situation.

Our Chairman, Ian Young, has today issued a new Press Release. Click here for the full release in PDF format.

[Photo by Dave Temple]

Local MP seeking answers from WSR over £96,000 community grant
Posted on 13th March 2020

13 March 2020.

Further to the previous news item (Headteacher adds to chorus of disquiet about the WSR's treatment of heritage and community groups), Ian Liddell-Grainger MP is asking for answers to a series of questions about the use of a £96,000 community grant, as reported by the West Somerset Free Press.

The Free Press reports that the MP is seeking an urgent meeting with WSR Chairman Jonathan Jones-Pratt. The WSR said that claims about the grant being used for other purposes were untrue; audit trails would substantiate that, but that lessons had been learned.

Headteacher adds to chorus of disquiet about the WSR's treatment of heritage and community groups
Posted on 12th March 2020

12 March 2020.

The Executive Headteacher of two Primary Schools situated close to the West Somerset Railway - Crowcombe and Stogumber - has written an open letter to Jonathan Jones-Pratt, Chairman of the WSR plc, accusing him of having "isolated, intimated, driven out and ignored the community" in his time as Chairman.

The letter, which has been reported on by the Somerset County Gazette was copied to ourselves as well as the Trustees of the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA), Trustees of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust (WSSRT), Opportunity Area Boards of Somerset County Council and Ian Liddell-Grainger MP.

An attitude of "if you don’t like it then leave" was prevailing without hearing the volunteer or community point of view, she claimed.

The Headteacher - whose school motto is "Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong" - also took issue with the allocation of a £96,000 community fund intended to aid the engagement between the railway and the children of 18 local schools, amongst other community objectives. She alleged that the money "has been spent in other areas of the organisation and the key targets set out with that money are not now supporting the community engagement it was awarded for."

Responding to the Gazette, the WSR plc described the letter as wildly inaccurate and offensive and said that this was really a matter for the WSRA. WSRA Chairman Mike Sherwood acknowledged to the Gazette that the money may not have been spent in exactly the way that was set out in the original grant application but it had been spent on the agreed community engagement objectives, he claimed.



Press release - notice to leave Washford
Posted on 24th February 2020

24 February 2020.

We have released a press statement regarding the notice we have received to exit from the Washford site. Click here for the statement.