England’s longest “heritage” railway is the West Somerset which runs for 20 miles between Bishops Lydeard (four miles from Taunton and 6 from Junction 25 on the M5) and Minehead
For half the journey trains pass through the Quantock Hills, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and then between Exmoor and the Bristol Channel coast.
There are 10 stations along the route offering a variety of destinations to combine with the train journey including the ancient harbour town of Watchet, Cleeve Abbey and Torre Cider Farm at Washford, medieval Dunster with its Castle and of course the seaside at Minehead. For those staying in Minehead, West Somerset or Greater Exmoor the trip to Bishops Lydeard can be followed by Taunton itself or the splendidly restored formal gardens at Hestercombe House.
The WSR carries some 200,000 passengers per year and Group Travel is an important part of its business. The Railway’s Commercial Department has been attending Excursions for a number of years and has found it an invaluable meeting place for contacts both new and established. The Railway also seeks to promote short break and other stays in the area around it and carries appropriate information to that end.
Train services operate on selected dates during most of the year, on 5 days a week during April, May and October, and daily from mid-May to the start of October. There are regular special events held throughout the year for both the railway enthusiast and the wider public. The latter goes from children’s “”Meet and Greets” with popular characters to the Annual Real Ale Festival.
The official Company website can be viewed at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk and carries general information about the Railway, including Group Travel arrangements, plus regularly updated news about events.
For those who prefer the general telephone number of the Railway is 01643 704996 whilst the Tours Office is open Mondays to Fridays via 01643 700384.
Article Supplied by West Somerset Railway