THE slogan used to go, 'let the train take the strain', but it was more a case of the 'trainers taking the strain' for one rail buff in a unique challenge.

On December 27, Joseph Rogers, author of the forthcoming title Britain's Greatest Bridges, became the first person recorded by the West Somerset Railway to run from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead via every station on the line - and he beat the train.

Joseph, who also works with WSR's commercial team, left Bishops Lydeard Station with the first service of the day at 10.15am and arrived in Minehead at 3.44pm - three minutes before the final arrival.

“Hopefully many more will come forward to attempt this in the future,” Joseph said.

“It would be a great way to help raise money for some worthy causes, including the railway itself."

Along the route, totalling 24.1 miles, he received signatures from volunteers at all the stations to record his time and even stopped at the unmanned Doniford Halt.

He then returned to Bishops Lydeard on the final departure from Minehead at 4.15pm.

The route follows safe areas around the West Somerset Railway following public footpaths.

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Such a challenge had been proposed on the official West Somerset Railway website for the year, with a sheet available to print off to record each station visit, but until now, no such form had ever been completed and handed back to the railway.

Joseph's challenge came at rather short notice, with only a few running days left before the end of the running season.

The West Somerset Railway now commences its Winter maintenance programme, ready for reopening on March 30.