West Somerset Railway set to re-start train services in May

WEST Somerset Railway (WSR) is planning to re-open in May.

Train services will restart on May 22 in line with Government guidelines.

WSR trains will run between Bishop’s Lydeard and Williton, and eventually then extend to run on Saturday’s to Watchet and Blue Anchor.

The railway announced it would not re-open on March 20 2020, and has only run a few trains since then.

WSR chairman, Jonathan Jones- Pratt said they are “greatly looking forward” to welcoming passengers back.

“By far, this has been the longest enforced period of closure for the WSR since the full reopening of the whole heritage railway in 1979, apart from the short exception of the 2020 pre-Christmas period,” he said.

“Much hard work has been undertaken in the background by our dedicated teams on all aspects of our working steam railway.

“Now, we are all greatly looking forward to welcoming passengers back to enjoy our wonderful railway running through the Somerset countryside this coming summer.

“Re-opening on May 22 is our plan for now and we are fully hoping that the Covid-19 situation improves soon for everyone.

“When and if the Covid restrictions start to lift, we will amend our plans to suit the situation at that time, and issue updates as soon as we have confirmation of a change in circumstances.”

Pre-allocated seats will need to be booked in advance and social distancing will be in force.

When the railway first re-opens it will not offer train services to any intermediate stations or to Minehead.

The rebuilt level crossing at Minehead is expected to be complete by July, and so WSR hopes to then reopen the entire Bishop’s Lydeard to Minehead line.

READ MORE: Somerset County Council upgrade to Seaward Way level crossing

There will also be a range of ‘at-seat’ catering options on the trains too on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Food and drink choices will include morning tea, coffee and cake, lunchtime fish and chips and afternoon cream teas.

WSR are set to announce whether events will go ahead later in the year, but they are hoping the 1940s weekend will go ahead on September 11 and 12, as well as the Christmas services planned at the beginning of December.

Pre-opening trains will run (prior to passenger trains) in late April to enable staff to have refresher duties and receive updated information.

Somerset County Gazette | News