The West Somerset Railway (WSR) was both pleased and honoured to host the Royal Train for an overnight stay by Her Majesty the Queen ahead of her visit to Somerset today (Thursday 28 March).
Arriving in the small hours of Thursday morning after leaving London Euston station late the previous evening, the Royal Train was taken onto WSR metals from the main line connection and then stabled securely on the WSR tracks close to HM Royal Marine 40 Commando base at Norton Manor camp.
The Royal visitor then left the WSR route from the junction Norton Fitzwarren around 09.30 and then via rail for the short journey to Castle Cary station and her well-publicised visit to Somerset today.
It’s the third time that the Minehead branch has seen Royal visitors stay overnight on the line after the Duke of Edinburgh visited in 2002 for the 50th anniversary of the Lynton & Lynmouth Flood Disaster, and King George VI also stayed near Norton Fitzwarren during the Second World War years.
And, with WSR steam trains starting running again this weekend between Bishops Lydeard and Watchet Station, there’s also some further, last-minute good news for those who wish to go and visit Minehead too this weekend.
The WSR has been able to secure a helpful free bus connection for those that wish to continue on to Minehead Station and the town on Saturday and Sunday. And the railway’s Buffer Stop Shop and Turntable Cafe will be open too.
Some free Vintage buses will be leaving Watchet Station at regular intervals and, to travel, all that WSR passengers need to do is buy and present a WSR Rover Ticket to the driver.
And, for the remaining running days up until 18th April when the WSR reopens fully to Minehead again, WSR Rover Tickets will also be valid on ‘Buses of Somerset’ service 28 from Watchet to Minehead (return).
The bus link services are thanks to ‘Buses of Somerset’ Managing Director Alex Carter and WSR plc Chairman Jonathan Jones-Pratt who both wished to show their community support and help the WSR
Passengers are advised to check the timings of services to ensure their connections. Timetables for the Vintage Bus service on 30th and 31st March only can be found here
Timetables for the ‘Buses of Somerset’ timetable connection from 1st-18th April can be found here
Ordinary return train tickets from Bishops Lydeard to Watchet only are also available without the bus connection. Further information on 01643 704996 or email [email protected]