Events & Experiences

Spring Steam Gala - Great Western Routes & Branches

Join the West Somerset Railway to enjoy Somerset Steam in Springtime. Where we enjoy visits from an array of locomotives from far and wide.

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Spring Steam Gala - Great Western Routes & Branches Don Bishop


Our Spring Steam Gala takes place between Thursday, March 22nd and Sunday, March 25th. It includes the weekend when the clocks go forward between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Rover tickets can be purchased by calling 01643 704996. Once again, there will be the special £2.00 Sunday ticket for young persons aged 5 to 17 travelling with an adult or senior on the 25th.
The theme is Great Western Routes and Branches. Between 1923 and 1948, the Great Western Railway had main line routes radiating out from London Paddington to Birkenhead on Merseyside, Aberystwyth and Fishguard on the west coast of Wales, and through the south west of England to Penzance. From those main lines, there was a variety of secondary and branch lines, ranging widely and wildly in their atmospheres. On one side there was the packed network of lines in the coal mining valleys of South Wales and on the other, rural lines such as the quartet which once radiated from Taunton to Barnstaple, Chard, Minehead and Yeovil. To add further to the mixture, there were suburban trains in the Thames Valley and the West Midlands. Whatever the surroundings, there was the distinctive sound of Great Western steam locomotives barking away from the stations with their trains, controlled by the distinctive lower quadrant signals. So why not come along and enjoy the nostalgia?
We intend to field a selection of appropriate ‘home-based’ and ‘visiting’ steam locomotives.

09:00 Tickets available
09:05 Tickets available
09:00 Tickets available
09:05 Tickets available
09:00 Tickets available
09:05 Tickets available
09:00 Tickets available
09:05 Tickets available
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Prices for this event could vary from day to day, click the links above to see prices for your chosen date.

Visiting Locomotives

S160 “6046”. A cuckoo in the nest which will bring a distinctively American look and sound to the event.  This heavy freight engine was built during the Second World War in the USA for use in Europe.  Some members in the class worked in Britain and were seen and heard at Taunton but the majority went to Europe where some worked until steam ended across the continent.

BR(W) 57XX class 0-6-0T no. 7714. Courtesy of Severn Valley RailwayThis is a surviving member of the family of pannier tank locomotives, which at one stage numbered nearly 1000 locomotives. 7714 is from the 57xx class which could be found working branch line passenger and freight trains, main line “pick-up” goods trains and performing shunting duties all over the system. Young lovers of the “Thomas the Tank Engine” stories know the pannier tanks from the character of “Duck”. 7714 is normally based on the Severn Valley Railway.

BR(W) 6959 'Modified Hall' Class 4-6-0 no. 6990 'Witherslack Hall' Courtesy of Great Central Railway,

GWR 14XX class 0-4-2T no.1450 and Autotrailer no. 178 Courtesy of Severn Valley Railway

Plus 1 mystery guest yet to be announced. 

Home Fleet Locomotives

BR(W) 6959 'Modified Hall' class 4-6-0 no. 6960 “Raveningham Hall”.  From the 1930’s to the 1960’s, “Hall” and “Modified Hall” locomotives could be seen on the main lines of the GWR and later, the Western Region of British Railways.  They handled express passenger trains, fast freights and just about everything that the railway’s business required them to do.
BR(W) 78XX 'Manor' class 4-6-0 no. 7822 “Foxcote Manor”. One of the guest locomotives for 2018 (normally based at the Llangollen Railway), which represents the smallest sized GWR “mixed traffic” 4-6-0’s.  The “Manors” were employed on similar duties to the “Halls”, but were intended to operate on more lightly laid lines, such as the Midland and South Western Junction, between Cheltenham and Andover, or the Cambrian routes in mid-Wales.

S&DJR 7F Class 2-8-0 53808. 

Other Attractions Over the Gala

USATC S160 class no. 6046 hauling a 'military train', typical of the sort that was operating around Taunton and on the Minehead branch in the run up to D-Day. 

Display of Military Vehicles at Minehead station to complement the military train. 

1931 Sentinel steam bus 'Elizabeth' operating shuttles on Saturday and Sunday between Minehead, Dunster Village and Dunster Station (supplement fares apply) - courtesy of Crossville Motor Services, this is the only steam bus in Europe still in revenue earning service. 

Other attractions will include the Great Western exhibits cared for by the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust at their Bishops Lydeard and Blue Anchor Museums. The largest, to be found at Bishops Lydeard, is a superbly restored sleeping car which once took passengers from Paddington to Fishguard for onward ferry journeys to the Republic of Ireland.  We should also mention the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust’s museum at Washford - not strictly GWR, but is always a rewarding visit.
Buffet cars will be available on most trains, with refreshments available at most stations (excluding Doniford Halt). The "Quantock Belle" dining car set will operate several services each day, offering cooked breakfasts and other options, available as advertised nearer the time.
Updates to this section will be provided periodically as further details become finalised.

Quantock Belle Dining during the Spring Steam Gala

The Quantock Belle will be serving a Full English Breakfast and lunches on all four days of the Spring Steam Gala. 

For the first time ever the Quantock Belle Breakfast will be able to be booked in advance for the first train only. All other dining services will be on a first come first served basis. 

On all 4 days the Quantock Belle will be running on the below services: 

09.05 Bishops Lydeard to Minehead (pre-booked only to book your ticket click here)

11.05 Minehead to Bishops Lydeard

13.10 Bishops Lydeard to Minehead 

15. 25 Minehead to Bishops Lydeard 

Breakfast Menu: 

£10.00 per person: 

Orange or Grapefruit Juice

Fried Egg, Lean Back Bacon, Pork Sausage, Hash Browns, Baked Beans, Tomato

Toast and  home-made Spanish Orange Marmalade

Tea or coffee with complimentary refill 

Bury Black Pudding (optional extra – no additional charge)

Table service of beer, lager, cider, wine and soft drinks is available from your steward on request.

(if you have a food allergy and need more details about any of our ingredients please ask your server.) 

Meteor Our First Class open seating coach Meteor will also be accessible for non-dining travel. A small supplement will be charged for this. 



Somerset beef, local ale and a crisp pastry top served with mashed potato and garden peas.


Succulent chicken, fresh vegetables and potatoes seasoned with onion and sage.


Vine tomato, garlicky bean and herb penne pasta.


TEA or COFFEE, with complimentary refill      £1.75