This film is part of Free

The West Somerset Railway Company Part I

The West Somerset Railway Company attempts to revive the line

News 1976 4 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Westward TV reporter John Doyle visits a dilapidated Blue Anchor station on the West Somerset Railway ahead of the reopening of the line as the longest heritage railway in England. Closed in 1971, the WSR now runs from Norton Fitzwarren or Bishops Lydeard to Minehead travelling through the Quantock Hills and along the coast at the Bristol Channel via Crowcombe Heathfield, Stogumber, Williton, Doniford Halt, Watchet, Washford, Blue Anchor and Dunster.

The West Somerset Railway Company and the Bristol and Exeter Railway become the Devon and Somerset Railway before amalgamating with Great Western Railway in 1876 during the war of the gauges. The line opens in 1862 from Taunton to Watchet and in 1874 the line is extended to Minehead. Robert Stephenson and Company of Darlington build the 88 (9678/13808/53808) in 1925 for work on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway (SDJR) between Bath and Bournemouth. Rescued from Barry scrapyard, the locomotive survives to this day on the WSR. The Vulcan 2994 and Victor 2996 put in an appearance but no longer run on the line. The line is still connected to the national rail network at Norton Fitzwarren.