THE first passenger-carrying steam train has returned to Minehead station after more than two years.

Bosses at the West Somerset Railway were delighted with the turn-out and general manager Kerry Noble said: “There was a fantastic buzz of excitement and enthusiasm not just at Minehead but at all our stations along the line.

“It really was an extremely successful weekend, and it was so nice to see the trains being very busy with many hundreds of passengers. It was an extremely good start to our season.”

There were three trains in each direction between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead, and the same service is running this weekend (March 26 and 27), with the popular Quantock Belle first-class dining carriages providing a Mothers’ Day lunch on Sunday. 

Somerset County Gazette:
The WSR train

The next big event is then the official Return to Minehead on April 2 and 3, with VIPs invited to help celebrate the re-opening of the resort’s Seaward Way level crossing, back in use after many months of modernisation work to install new barriers and lights, and which then needed emergency repairs after damage caused by Storm Eunice.

The Watchet Town Band will play during the opening ceremony, and groups from the WSR as well as a number of local charities and organisations will be staging displays and stalls on the station.

Other attractions throughout the weekend will include children’s entertainment, live music, vintage bus rides around Minehead, and guided tours of the engine shed.