The West Somerset Railway has decided with regret to cancel this year’s Autumn Steam Gala, which would have taken place from 29th September to 2nd October. There are two main reasons. It has proved particularly difficult this year to arrange visits from suitable steam locomotives from other heritage railways. Secondly, advanced special ticket sales are significantly down - in our view partly reflecting the present economic situation.
The good news is that on Thursday 29th, Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October, there will be the normal service of West Somerset Railway steam trains, with tickets at standard prices. We hope that our “home fleet” of locos will be augmented that weekend by new resident pannier tank locomotive, No 9466. 9466 has been receiving attention at the Williton Works for the last few months and work is coming towards completion. Our full service of trains will be operating throughout the weekend.
Trains will continue on the West Somerset Railway through October on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays before we prepare for our Christmas season.
West Somerset Railway PLC Chairman, Jonathan Jones-Pratt said: “Whilst we are very sorry to take the decision to cancel the Autumn Gala, it reflects also our absolute determination to ensure that the railway continues to operate on a solid financial basis for the long-term future, through these difficult times. The logic by summary is due to:
• Rising energy costs
• 100% increase in coal costs
• Increased transport costs
• Current economic situation
• Lack of suitable visiting engines
We wish to confirm commitment from the railway for our 2023 Spring Steam Gala, which has already got an exciting format confirmed. Plans are well advanced for services and special events in 2023, and there will be many opportunities to see – and travel behind – interesting and exciting locomotives in the future. And it should be remembered that we have an outstanding home fleet of locomotives! I also wish to thank the team who work hard to put these events together. This business decision is made to protect capital reserves and continue the sustainability of the railway.
Enquiries and interviews: Kerry Noble. M: 07719 046975 [email protected]