PROFESSOR Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist and best selling author of “A Brief History of Time” visited the West Somerset Railway on Wednesday, (August 27).

Professor Hawking was greeted and welcomed at Bishops Lydeard station by Professor John Irven, chairman of the West Somerset Railway plc and Alan Nicholson, the Stationmaster at Bishops Lydeard.

He became one of the first passengers to travel in carriage number 4884, recently been modified by the WSR’s Carriage and Wagon Department to allow wheelchair passengers to travel with good all round views of the Somerset countryside and in the company of their friends and families.

Professor Hawking thoroughly enjoyed his time on England’s longest “heritage” railway accompanied by members of his family, and the WSR said they would be delighted to welcome him back again.

John Irven said: “We welcome many wheelchair passengers to the line each year and are always pleased when these visitors have the proverbial ‘grand day out’ with us.

"It was gratifying for all those involved in the long hours of work on 4884 that one of its first users was a figure of international renown and recognition in such a prestigious academic field."