The West Somerset Railways Gala Planning Team has recently been through some changes. The team were formally known as SEPT (Special Events Planning Team) and have been organising the railways galas since the first Somerset & Dorset gala back in 1996. The team has recently seen its Chairman of the past 9 years, John Cronin, retire and the team would like to thank John for his hard work and contribution over recent years. The now renamed Gala Planning Team will be taken forward by new Chairman Don Bishop. Don has been on the team since the beginning except for a gap due to business commitments between 2008 and 2015. He is now joined by WSR Head of Operations Richard Jones who was also on the team from the beginning.
The team is pleased to be able to announce our loco line up for the forthcoming Autumn Steam Gala between 5th and 8th October. Our theme is “Bath & Beyond” to reflect the available locomotives of both S&D and GW/BR(W) origins. Joining our home fleet of S&D 7F’s Nos. 53808 and 53809, 4F No. 44422 and Hall No. 6960 ‘Raveningham Hall’ will be BR Standard 5 No. 73082 ‘Camelot’, courtesy of its owning group and the Bluebell Railway, BR Black Manors Nos. 7820 ‘Dinmore Manor’ (Dinmore Manor Fund) and 7822 ‘Foxcote Manor’ (Llangollen Railway) and Bulleid West Country No. 34046 ‘Braunton’ (expected to run as No. 34052 ‘Lord Dowding’) from the Locomotives Services Fleet based at Crewe. It is hoped to be able to recreate several classic S&D double headed combinations, which when paired with the WSR’s recently formed red & cream set looks very authentic.
The team has also put together a plan of events with themes for the WSR’s 2018 gala programme.
Spring gala – “Great Western routes & branches” –
22nd to 25th March 2018
“Take a journey back to the days of the steam worked branch lines and routes of the GWR and BR Western Region, when the Minehead branch was one of many former GWR branch lines in the west country”.
Visiting and home based locomotives.
Diesel gala – “Vintage Diesels to the seaside” –
8th to 10th June 2018
“A look back to the 1970’s and 1980’s when a variety of diesel locomotive types were employed to take holiday makers and day trippers to the seaside”.
Visiting and home based diesel locomotives.
Late Summer weekend – “West Country railways weekend” –
1st/2nd September 2018
“A mix of steam and diesel traction with a more intensive timetable with locos selected from our home fleet with west country links from the past – pretty much any of them”.
Autumn gala – “Cross Country rail routes” –
27th to 30th September 2018
“A look back at the variety of steam locomotives and trains that ran along the cross country and secondary rail routes that crossed the country between the many towns and cities other than the capital”.
Winter gala – “A branch line in winter” –
29th/30th December 2018
“come along and experience the feel of steam in deep winter with traditional steam heating and perhaps a mince pie”.