A NEW all-in-one ticket for the railway could bring a million pound boost to the local area, the chief executive of Visit Somerset has said.

People will now be able to buy one ticket which includes return travel on the Great Western Railway down to Taunton, a bus transfer to Bishops Lydeard and travel along the West Somerset Railway heritage line.

The new ticket will save people 19 per cent against purchasing the separate components individually for those travelling from Taunton, and will remove the usual peak time ticket restriction from London, encouraging people to travel from further afield, and it also includes a discount on entry to Dunster Castle.

Chief executive of Visit Somerset John Turner said: "We have studied a previous example of this kind of development in East Grinstead on the Bluebell Railway.

"The Bluebell team saw 60,000 more visitors and an increase of over a million pounds. With some extensive marketing for West Somerset Railway we hope that we can see those types of increases over a five-year period.”

West Somerset Railway general manager Paul Conibeare added: “We are delighted to be working with GWR and Buses for Somerset in this new partnership deal for day-trippers, what a wonderful experience in our 40th anniversary year to be able to use public transport to visit the longest Heritage Railway in England.”

GWR partnerships manager David Gardner said the new ticket will help day-trippers leave the car at home and make the most of the attractions Somerset has to offer.

On Sunday the GWR and West Somerset Railway will be launching the ticket with a special charter service from Taunton directly through to Minehead on one of the GWR Class 150 trains.