Volunteers at the Somerset and Dorset Railway at Midsomer Norton Station welcomed visitors from Welton school who are learning about engineering as part of their curriculum.
The party was guided in groups around the station buildings and grounds by Zaida Haworth, Vivienne Taylro and Roger Taylor, who was dressed for the part in a station uniform, with the children showing an active enthusiasm for all they saw. Will George was in the signal box explaining the all the levers which were a similar size to his audience.
Barry Bax, Museum Curator, opened the Museum for the children to see the splendid collection of railway artefacts and memorabilia including a life size horse.
"We are very impressed that Welton school considers the history of engineeering in this neighbourhood to be important. These children have grown up without the benefit of a railway here so would know nothing about the importance of the Somerset and Dorset railway until now."
The visit culminated in a trip down the line in the Queen Mary brake van behind the British rail 08 class Diesel shunter.
The next event at the station will be a Steam Gala with a visiting Jinty Steam locomotive when The station will be open to visitors to ride the trains on March 10th and 11th and March 18th.
The track gang held two very successful working weekends in February, the first was held on the 10th & 11th February and the second on the 17th & 18th. The weather wasn’t particular kind on the first of these with rain all day on the Saturday, followed by a cold but dry day on the Sunday with even a few flakes of snow in the afternoon.
More track laid by volunteers at Midsomer Norton Station has increased the length of running line by 50%. This means that visitors will soon be able to travel almost up to the Chilcompton tunnel by train. The Spring Gala event in March will be an opportunity to ride behind a Jinty tank engine from the Great Central Railway.
Jintys used to be the workhorses on the old Somerset and Dorset Railway. Shunting the yard at Radstock and then bringing empty coal wagons up to Norton Hill pit, shunting the yard here and then returning to Radstock with full coal wagons would be a typical day's work for such a locomotive. Five locos were built specifically for the S&DJR by Bagnalls of Stafford in 1929 but paid- for by the Midland Railway and numbered in the S&D listing 19 -24.
Volunteers are busy making sure that visitors have an all round experience when they visit the station for special events like the Spring Gala. As well as the special events the station is open on Sundays and Mondays for volunteers to work but with the shop, buffet car, and Museum also open to the public. The Railway welcomes men and women of all ages from teens to eighties to join their volunteers, especially if they are local.
Posing for our photo from the left are John and Tony and Kirsteen who work in the garden. Linda in the front is found in the gift and railwayana shop, Doug with the wheelbarrow is a gardener then at the back is Keith, a painter and carpenter, then Barry and Rich on the back right are helping to renovate the Midland coach in which they are standing.
For more details about Midsomer Norton Station volunteers call 01761 411221, drop in on a Sunday or Monday
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.