Take the Chance of a Lifetime to drive a steam loco on the Somerset & Dorset Railway!
In March 2018 we are running some Driver Experiences sessions, which will give you the opportunity to drive and fire a steam locomotive (plus act as guard) on a train running on the iconic Somerset & Dorset Railway. You will be given an introduction to the Somerset & Dorset railway, it’s history, closure and reopening, a tour of the site, and then following a safety briefing, you will climb on the footplate to learn how to fire and drive Jinty 47406, a type of locomotive that once ran up and down the line. In addition, you will learn the skills needed to act as guard on the train, including supervising the safe descent of the line.
Included in the half day experience will be a meal in our static dining car, plus a free year’s membership of the S&D Railway Heritage Trust (if not already a member), plus a commemorative certificate. The total cost is £250.
After two very successful working weekends, members of the track gang were back on site on Sunday and with no slackening of pace were able to lay another three track panels - approximately 180 feet of track on the Sunday.
Building on the excellent preparation work from the previous weekend when the majority of the F27 concrete sleepers had been laid out, correctly spaced and aligned, the 10-12 members on site were able to position the rail, cut and drill where required and clip into place three more panels. A dry but slightly chilly day provided excellent working conditions. The estimate now is that another three panels should bring the line very close to the wooden electricity pole in the photograph and then another five panels will bring the extension within feet of the infill fence.
The track gang will be continuing laying rail throughout December with the target of having all the rail in place by late December / early January. A great deal of work will then be required to level and ballast the running line and install fencing with an Easter opening as the planned target opening day for the extension.
Good progress over the last few months with the track laying together with some tree clearance has resulted in an opening out of the formation and there are now fabulous views over the Somerset countryside which in a few months time passengers will be able to enjoy from the train.
There is still a great deal to do to prepare the extension for an Easter opening. A third working weekend is being proposed for January with the focus on jacking and packing the line to ensure its suitable for the operation of passenger trains. A date and further details will be posted on the website once a date is confirmed. If you'd like to get involved and return another small part of this iconic line to operational use, please watch for an update and further details in the coming weeks.
From an operating perspective, the Board and Trust are still discussing various proposals for the operations of trains up to the infill. A number of options including a run round loop and a small halt allowing passengers to alight have been suggested. However at this time no final decision has been made.
The second working weekend came to a close on Sunday evening with good progress made on the extension. Those regular volunteers on site also made some new friends and introduced them to the railway's aims and future aspirations and hopefully we will see them here again in the very near future.
The first of the two working weekends planned by the Track Gang got off to a great start with excellent progress made despite some variable weather over the two days. The intention behind the two working weekends was to try and make some rapid progress on completing the track laying for the extension.
The Signalling Team have completed the first distinctive S&DJR twin rail signal to be built since the 1890s.
The signal is based on the Evercreech Junction North down branch fixed distant.
The heavy L&SWR spectacle casting came from the Moorewood Sidings up distant - a favourite prop in Ivo Peter's photography, in commemoration of which, we have painted the signal exactly as it appeared in 1962.
A short heritage railway run by volunteers in the foothills of the Mendips in North Somerset. There is also a gift and bookshop, museum, buffet coach, wartime pillbox museum, signalbox and much more to see.
General view of station area, 2017.
View from the Up platform looking southwards, summer 2012.