Events & Experiences

Diesel Gala - Vintage Diesels to the Seaside

The West Somerset Railway will be having their Diesel Gala from 8th - 10th June 2018.

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West Somerset Railway
Thomas Gulliford

Three days of pure nostalgia for those who knew the railways in the “Rail Blue” era of the 1960’s, 70’s & 80’s when the first generation of diesel locomotives were at the head of trains, including trips to the seaside at weekends. Or three days of discovery for those who missed the experience first time around. All trains on the 8th and 9th will be diesel hauled but there will be a steam-hauled train in action on the 10th.

The timetable will feature double-headed workings, shunter shuttles and services to Norton Fitzwarren.

Relive the good old days of haulage bashing. Combining steep inclines at Bishops Lydeard and Washford, long carriage formations, and additional speed restrictions, make this event “THRASHTASTIC”!

09:00 Tickets available
09:00 Tickets available
09:00 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

An all-blue list of guest locomotives are being hired in, listed as follows:  

Class 20’s 20189 and 20142.  This pair of the trusty English Electric will revive memories of “The Jolly Fisherman” and those trains that linked Yorkshire and the East Midlands with Skegness and the East Coast for many years.

Class 50 50035 “Ark Royal”.  The first time a Class 50 will have worked to Minehead for a number of years.  Affectionately known as “Hoovers” or “Vacs”, in their early days on the West Coast, they took holiday makers on their way towards Blackpool, Southport and the North Wales Coast. Later they became associated with routes to Weston-super-Mare, Dawlish, Torbay and the resort towns of Cornwall.

Class 45  45041 “Royal Tank Regiment”. Another class of loco that does not regularly appear on the WSR. The “Peaks” roamed far and wide on cross country trains and were a familiar sight on the sea wall near Dawlish and Teignmouth for a generation.

Class 55 55019 “Royal Highland Fusilier”.  A very welcome return to the WSR for one of the surviving “Deltics” that revolutionised services on the East Coast main line. There they could be seen powering along the coastal sections between Newcastle and Edinburgh, having stopped off at York and occasionally venturing to Scarborough.

Home Fleet Locomotives

From the Williton based Diesel and Electric Preservation Group, the following locomotives are planned to appear including three returning from overhaul.

Class 35 “Hymek”  D7018.  This locomotive suffered a major engine failure in 1995 and it has taken 22 years to bring it back to working life after many problems have had to be overcome.  It will be joined by classmate D7017, giving a rare chance to experience two of the four survivors of the 101 strong class that have survived into preservation.

Class 33 “Crompton” D6566. Welcome back to this member of the rugged maids of all work class that were originally built for the Southern Region, but which were later to be found much further afield. Formerly numbered 33048, it will be working alongside its fellow “Crompton” D6575.

Class 14 D9526.  A member of the smallest-sized class from the Western Region family of diesel hydraulics.  Built for branch line and local train work, their intended role was fading into history as they were constructed. Many were quickly sold for industrial use including D9526, which worked at the now-closed cement works at Westbury in Wiltshire. D9518 is stripped down completely as a very heavy overhaul is being undertaken by the DEPG.

Class 52 D1010 “Western Campaigner”.  The “Westerns” spent a decade at the head of the principal express trains of the Western Region until their early withdrawal as a non-standard type.  They could also be seen hauling heavy freight trains.  D1010 will join the “Hymeks” in making “Maybach Music” in the Quantock Hills, and along the Bristol Channel Coast.

Other Attractions Over the Gala

Other attractions will include:-

The Williton Depot and Diesel Heritage Centre of the DEPG will be open on all three days. Admission is by donation which helps the Group to maintain and restore the fleet of vintage machines.

At Washford station a Real Ale Festival featuring beers from a quartet of Somerset breweries and guest ales from further afield. There is very little car parking at Washford station, so visitors are advised to travel there by train.

Breakfast and luncheons on the “Quantock Belle” dining train. Maintain the inner you in style.

Railway Museums open at Bishops Lydeard, Washford and Blue Anchor stations.

Cafes at Minehead (licensed) and Blue Anchor. Light refreshments at other stations except Doniford.

Model Railways in action at Bishops Lydeard station.

Souvenir shops and trade stands.

Diesel Gala Quantock Belle

The Quantock Belle will be serving a Full English Breakfast and lunches on all three days of the Diesel Gala. 

The Quantock Belle Breakfasts for the first train only, will be able to be booked in advance. All other dining services will be on a first come first served basis. 

On all 3 days the Quantock Belle will be running on the below services: 

09.20 Bishops Lydeard to Minehead (pre-booked only Breakfast's to book your ticket click here)

Breakfast Menu: 

£10.00 per person: 

Orange or Grapefruit Juice

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

Toast and Marmalade

Tea or coffee with complimentary refill 

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. 


STEAK AND ALE PIE      £6.50

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


Giant Yorkshire Pudding filled with sausage, mash, peas and gravey


Served with mash potato and peas.


TEA or COFFEE, with complimentary refill      £1.75

Museums and Model Railways

The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust Museum at Washford and Great Western Museum at Blue Anchor will both be open. The Taunton Model Railway Group based at Bishop’s Lydeard will also be open, as will a model railway display in the Gauge Museum.

Please note that entry to these off train local attractions costs a small separate admission charge which helps maintain these facilities.


Bar and buffet facilities will be available on most trains, serving a good range of high quality hot and cold food, tea/coffee and a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Refreshments, including hot food, will be available at principal stations including Bishops Lydeard, Williton and Minehead. Light refreshments may also be available at Blue Anchor, Stogumber, and Crowcombe Heathfield, offering teas, coffees, cakes, ice cream and sweets.


At Williton, home of the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group for over 30 years, you will have the chance to visit their Diesel Depot and Visitor Centre, which features information about the history of the diesel hydraulic locomotives on the former Western Region of British Railways.

The Workshops will be open so you can see behind the scenes and one locomotive under repair will be available to view. The depot will also be hosting a second hand model railway dealer. The depot will be open on all 3 days from 9.30 to 17.00