West Somerset Railway

Accessibility Guide and Dogs

The West Somerset Railway welcomes passengers who have a disability and any accompanying assistance dogs. We are working hard to improve our accessibility and already have three accessible coaches available to us. We intend to have at least two of these coaches in service all year round. There is no need to pre-book but it might be a good idea to contact us and enquire which services our accessible coaches will be part of if you will require one fo our accessible coaches. If you are travelling as part of a group who have more than 3 wheelchairs, please contact us and let us know which services you intend to travel on so that we can we have sufficient accessibility on your elected services.

If your mobility is limited, most of the stations along the West Somerset Railway are accessible to you.  The one station without easy access is Doniford Halt which has a small uneven gravel path leading down from a road embankment with gated entrance (and no car parking).

Please arrive with at least 25 minutes to spare for boarding. Restrict your speed to 2 mph for the safety of both yourself and other passengers. Please keep away from the platform edge until you are boarding a train. Please be aware, some platform edges slope towards the track for drainage purposes. Extra care will be needed.

For passengers who have a disability, a concessionary fare will normally apply unless otherwise stated. If you have a carer with you, he or she may also be eligible to travel at the concessionary fare. One carer per disabled person may travel at this rate. (Standard Fares only, disabled concessions are not available on our special services). For more information on fares please see our fares pages.

We hope that the information below will help those travelling with us who have a disability.

The Trains

Most of our trains are accessible for an individual with a disability. You can move between the carriages (including to the buffet car) on the level but the somewhat narrow connecting doors of our heritage carriages stop you from doing so in a wheelchair or scooter. If you can step aboard and move to a seat, a small number of our carriages have a space (at one end) in which your folded wheelchair may be carried.

However, wheelchairs and all scooters will normally travel in the Guard's Van. Here you will find windows and non-slip flooring. Access is via a ramp (note that whilst the on-train crew are there to help you, it is your responsibility for boarding using the ramp). Again, access to the rest of the train is on the level but restricted by the narrow connecting doors into the coach saloons.

Booking of accessible coaches FOR GROUPS

We have three carriages which can be put on a specific train (subject to advance booking and availability). The carriages are specially adapted to accommodate wheelchairs. The Lorna Doone coach can accommodate up to 10 wheelchairs and 'The Golden Fox' Accessible Carriage and Stephen Hawking Accessible Coach can accommodate 6. To check availability / pre-book please call us on 01643 704996.

Size Restrictions

Most WSR services can carry manual or powered wheelchairs (and mobility scooters), folded if necessary, up to the following limitations for safety reasons:

  • Width: 700 millimetres (27 inches)
  • Length (including footplates): 1200 millimetres (47 inches)
  • Weight including passenger: 230kg (36 stone), the safe limit of our ramps.
Station   Access to Platform Accessible Platform
      Toilets Cafe Shop  
Bishops Lydeard yes shallow ramps RADAR yes yes easy access
Crowcombe Heathfield no level yes no n/a grassed area
Stogumber no steep ramp yes yes n/a too narrow
Williton no shallow ramps no no no narrow
Doniford Halt no none n/a n/a n/a very difficult access
Watchet yes level yes n/a n/a easy access
Washford no steep ramp no no no grassed area
Blue Anchor no shallow ramps no no no narrow
Dunster no level no no n/a grassed area
Minehead yes level RADAR yes yes easy access

Boarding the Train

It is your responsibility to load your wheelchair or scooter on and off the train and we ask you or your travelling companion to ensure that the scooter is folded ready for boarding prior to the train's arrival. If you wish help, please do not hesitate to ask.

If your scooter or wheelchair is oversize, we have a small number of (ordinary, standard size) wheelchairs available for loan at Bishops Lydeard, Watchet and Minehead for your use whilst you are on the railway.

If your wheelchair is oversize for medical reasons (but not overweight), please contact us in advance of travel (details below) and we may be able to issue a permit to travel for your wheelchair.

Please ask for assistance if it would help. We are here to ensure you enjoy your day!

Engine Shed Open Days

The Railway's engineering departments are not usually open to the public, but on special events may be open for a small fee. These are not easily accessible to you if you have a disability for safety reasons.