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

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. 

Suspension of Public Services

Suspension of all Public Services                                                                                                                                                                                Updated 26th March 2020.

All public services have been stopped and there is no public access to any of the site. 

 This is going to be a challenging time for all heritage railways as we rely on footfall to keep us running. Your understanding, patience, and co-operation is appreciated and we thank you all in advance for your ongoing support.

 

Guidelines for Working Volunteers

The station site is now closed to all working volunteers.

The site is under constant CCTV surveillance and local observers are conducting regular site checks. 

 

 

 

Thank you.

Please note that the Company has now taken the decision to suspend all passenger trains and operating days until further notice.

 

 

Like many other businesses, the Somerset and Dorset Heritage Railway is monitoring the situation and following government guidelines. 

As everyone's health and welfare is our priority, we will take all necessary precautions to ensure this.

We have asked that all our all staff and volunteers follow this advice:

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
• Put used tissues in the bin immediately
• Wash your hands often with soap and water
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
• Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth when your hands are not clean

Visitors if you are planning on visiting from an area that has been directly affected by the coronavirus and you are showing symptoms similar to those associated with the virus (fever, cough, breathlessness), it is best that you do not visit until you have contacted your local health authority or doctor for further advice and instruction.

We will continue to monitor the situation and government advice and will issue further updates if the situation changes.

The latest government information on coronavirus can be found on the Department for Health and Social Care’s website.

Given that the advice from the health authorities - for the moment has not changed - we are operating as normal for the time being

We will advise you further should this position change.

‘Outstanding’ say South West in Bloom about Midsomer Norton Station

Members of the Gardens team met at the station on Monday March 2nd and were presented with their certificate from the South West in Bloom ‘Outstanding’ certificate in the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ class.

 

 

‘Outstanding’ is awarded to groups who have achieved a level 5 which is the highest level in the ‘Its Your Neighbourhood’ event.

The ‘Its Your Neighbourhood’ is a development of the Neighbourhood awards scheme and is not competitive but is designed to give support and recognition to community action groups across the South West. Although the plants on display are a large part of the award other factors are equally important. The Judges are looking for community participation and environmental responsibility and recognised that Midsomer Norton Station has shown high levels of all three.

In 2019 the ‘In Bloom’ judge Denise James visited and was able to observe the result of work done not only by the gardens team but also students from the Fosse Way School and a group of volunteers from Sainsbury’s who were celebrating 150 years by doing some local community work. Trustee with the responsibility for grounds and gardens, Gail Coleshill, took the judge not only around the site by the station buildings but also up the line in the Wickham Trolley so that she could see the environmental improvements and wildflowers lineside as a result of judicious clearing by the track work volunteers.

The official awards day took place towards the end of last year in Newquay but as there were too many volunteers from Midsomer Norton Station to make the trip it was decided to hold a small presentation in the spring.

Trustee Gail Coleshill said, “Although we have entered the Its Your Neighbourhood class before we have never achieved Outstanding before and I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work from the team. There is no doubt that the station looked its best not only with all the flowering borders around the station but also the wildflowers up the line.

We would also like to pay tribute to Denise James who has been a great help and support over the years and we were very sad to hear of her death last autumn.

Fosseway School took over the Dig for Victory bed near the Pillbox and planted it with flowers and vegetables are grown from seed at the school. Sainsbury’s volunteers continued making the front road border by clearing the weeds, filling the ditch with home grown compost and planting shrubs and perennials.

Trustee John Baxter will be presenting the certificate and a cake to celebrate the ‘Outstanding’ work of the volunteer gardens team at Midsomer Norton Station.

The Station volunteers would welcome more volunteers for the gardens team.

WAGON APPEAL!

The Trust are pleased to announce the purchase of two BR 16Ton Mineral Wagons. These wagons, once restored, will kick start our plans to recreate a demonstration coal train. 

Coal traffic was the lifeblood of the S&D, with the many collieries along the northern section of the line, seeing hundreds of these wagons every week.

The Trust is appealing for donations towards to the transportation and restoration of these iconic vehicles. Both currently reside at the Swanage Railway and will require replacement flooring and a good rub down prior to painting. 

Any donation will be great fully received, and will help the once common sight of coal wagons return to the S&D! 

Donations can be made via our website, or in person at the station! Remember to fill in a Gift Aid Form to make your donation go even further! 

 

https://www.sdjr.co.uk/fundraising

Opening Times

Sundays 10.00 to 16.00 for viewing, museum, wartime pillbox, buffet coach, gift shop and second-hand bookshop. 
 
Mondays, but for viewing only, rather than full facilities, shop and museum open from 13.00 to 16.00. Buffet coach open from 10:00 until 15:00.

Contact

Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust
Midsomer Norton Station
Silver Street
Midsomer Norton
BA3 2EY

01761 411 221
Phones are manned when the shop is open.

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