West Somerset became the destination for many vintage fans of the 1940’s-era. Costumed re-enactors, descended to towns and villages along the West Somerset Railway for a ‘Forties’ weekend.
Each of the 10 stations along the line took part – a Spitfire on display in the camp at Bishops Lydeard, Land Girls at both Crowcombe Heathfield and Stogumber, and many events centered on the marina town of Watchet. A Saturday evening ‘Forties’ Dance, headlined by the Liberty Sisters took place beneath the canopy at Minehead Station, with a special late steam-hauled service bringing dancers, to the station.
“We were delighted with the turnout. All of our trains were busy throughout the weekend”. Paul Conibeare, General Manager commented. “Re-enactors travelled up and down the line, including Winston Churchill, King George VI and Charles De Gaulle!”
The West Somerset Railway were supporting the ‘Forties’ event, organised by Robin Witchard from the Mobile Living History Museum, with help from a number of volunteers, including Andy Norman and other volunteers associated with the railway. “The West Somerset Railway wishes to say a big thank you to Robin for his dedication in organising the event, and Andy Norman for his part in making the event happen,” Paul Conibeare commented. “In addition to all of the activities up and down the line, we operated an authentic military train hauled by an S160 USA steam locomotive.”
Looking ahead, the railway is now preparing for the Autumn Steam Gala from the 27th to the 30th September, with opportunities to ride behind 9 locomotives, some of which are visiting from other heritage railways.