In June 1979, the revival of the West Somerset Railway (WSR) finally saw train services extended from the temporary terminus at Stogumber through the next station at Crowcombe Heathfield and to Bishops Lydeard, close to Taunton, making the WSR the longest heritage railway in England.
Today, one of the businesses close to Bishops Lydeard station is the award-winning Quantock Brewery and, to mark the anniversary, Quantock will produce a new bottled ale which will be sold in the brewery shop and also from the buffet cars on West Somerset Railway trains.
In addition the new beer will be available, along with other local beers and cider in the Turntable Café at Minehead Station. Quantock also produced a commemorative bottled ale in 2016 to mark the beginning of the re-opening of the West Somerset (between Minehead and Blue Anchor at Easter 1976), and which is still available.
The launch of the new beer, which will be called Quantock Steamer, will coincide with a special event on the WSR over the weekend of June 8th and 9th. The 40th Anniversary weekend will feature both steam and vintage diesel trains and the line -up of locomotives will hopefully feature two that were in action two generations ago.
It’s hoped that Great Western Railway Pannier Tank No. 6412 will return for the event from its current home on the South Devon Railway, whilst “Hymek” D7017 will represent the Diesel and Electric Group who have been based at Williton since the early days of the WSR.
Three other steam locos and a visiting diesel D6948 will be in action. Fuller details can be found at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk and discounted Rover Tickets, giving the freedom of the line between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead for the day, can also be purchased from the WSR website.