Events & Experiences

Autumn Steam Gala A Country Railway

Come along and experience the feel of the country railways of the past, when the railways connected the countryside with towns and cities and allowed people and goods to be transported across country 4th - 6th October 2019

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Autumn Steam Gala A Country Railway Don Bishop


Running for 20 miles between Bishops Lydeard (near Taunton) and the seaside town of Minehead the West Somerset Railway evokes the atmosphere of a country railway line as they were for the first seven decades of the 20th century. Trains run through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the Quantock Hills) and along the coast between Exmoor and the Bristol Channel. Among the stations Crowcombe Heathfield and Stogumber are classic country wayside stations, Washford serves a former Abbey and passengers can alight at Dunster for the walk to the medieval village with a castle overlooking the main street.

For the four days of our Autumn Gala we will look to enhance this atmosphere, although there will be more trains and extra activities than would have been normal to add interest.

09:00 Tickets available
09:00 Tickets available
09:00 Tickets available
09:00 Tickets available
Multiple Events are in this category

Prices for this event could vary from day to day, click the links above to see prices for your chosen date.

Home Fleet Locomotives

The locomotives in action will be:-

Great Western Railway designed “Small Mogul” 9351. This will be a welcome first Gala appearance following its overhaul

British Railways (Western Region) 7822 “Foxcote Manor” and 7828 “Odney Manor” will recall memories of long country journeys in Mid Wales

Great Western Railway 57xx Class 7752. Guesting from the Birmingham Railway Museum at Tyseley the loco is a classic GWR branch line machine.

Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway 7F 53808. One of the eleven heavy freight engines built for the much missed S&D line.

Class 35 “Hymek” Diesel D7018. The “Hymeks” featured on the Minehead line in the 1960’s including D7047 (long since scrapped) which headed the special filming train for the Beatles “A Hard Days Night” feature film.

Barclay Saddle Tank 1219 “Caledonia Works”. An example of the 1000’s of small tank engines which once worked in industry across the land.

Visiting Locomotives

Great Western Railway 64xx 6412. A welcome return to the WSR (from the South Devon Railway) of a classic branch line locomotive that helped to reopen the West Somerset four decades ago.

Further Guest engines are being lined-up and their details will appear here as they are confirmed.

Other Attractions

On Saturday October 5th visitors will be able to travel from Taunton mainline station to Bishops Lydeard on the GWR shuttle train service.

Other attractions will include Museum openings at Bishops Lydeard, Blue Anchor and Washford and various trade stands in addition to our station shops and sales counters.

Parcels traffic will be carried as it once was to rural stations.

Model railways will be in action at Bishops Lydeard and models can be purchased from the shops at Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. There will be a sale of second-hand model railway equipment at Watchet in the morning on Saturday October 5th and second-hand models and railwayana are sold at Dunster station.

Licensed buffet cars will welcome you on most WSR trains serving a range of hot and cold food, light refreshments, hot and cold drinks and locally produced beers and ciders. The beers include our 40th Anniversary Ale brewed by our near neighbours at Bishops Lydeard, the Quantock Brewery.

Minehead turntable will be in action. Watch the giants of steam being turned by their crews while enjoying something to eat and drink from the adjacent Turntable Café.

So why not join us for a stay in the area between 3rd and 6th October? Even if your main interest isn’t steam trains the enhanced timetable gives opportunities to explore West Somerset. Why not take a walk in the Quantock Hills from Crowcombe Heathfeld or Stogumber stations or along part of the coastal pathway between Washford and Minehead. Or visit the old harbour town of Watchet or explore medieval Dunster with its castle?