This film is part of Free

The West Somerset Railway Company Part 2

West Somerset Railway in reshuffle

News 1976 6 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Westward TV reporter John Doyle returns to announce a reshuffle at the West Somerset Railway. The Company has failed in its attempt to run a commuter railway service on the Bishops Lydeard to Minehead line. In interview are the former member of West Somerset Railway Board of Directors, Douglas Fear, the new chairman, Gerry Belton and the Divisional Officer of the National Union of Railwaymen, Roy Maunder.

West Somerset Railway is owned by Somerset County Council but leased to the WSR. After a Light Railway order is granted in 1976, the Board fails to reopen the whole line as far as Taunton or to make it profitable so grants are frozen. The line has gradually reopened, in 1976 Minehead to Williton, in 1978 to Stogumber, in 1979 to Bishops Lydeard with in 1987 a new station at Doniford and in 2009 one at Norton Fitzwarren. Originally the line opened in 1862 from Taunton to Watchet and was extended to Minehead in 1874. The line, closed by British Rail in 1971, boasts one of the longest heritage lines in England.