Saturday afternoon of the 27th July saw a special steaming of Midsomer Norton Station’s unique steam Sentinel locomotive named Joyce and numbered 7109. Family members of Joyce Helen Sandeman, the young lady after whom the locomotive was named in 1927, were reunited with Joyce the locomotive for the first time in at least half a century.



Andy Chapman, Owner of the Sentinel Loco 'Joyce', discovered that Joyce Helen was the daughter of William James Sandeman OBE who was the chairman of Croydon Gasworks in the early part of the last century. This was where the Sentinel locomotive ‘Joyce’ was used. Andy decided to find out whether there were any living relatives of Joyce Helen.  He tried for a number of years without success to find any.


Then, in January this year, he received an unexpected phone call.


Andy recounted that


The call was from a gentleman called Ian Hocken who told me that Joyce Helen Sandeman was his great aunt! At a family get-together last Christmas, the question of what had happened to steam locomotive named after Joyce Helen was raised.  It was decided to do an internet search for it. Not expecting anything, they were gobsmacked to find my blog about the restoration and YouTube videos galore of Joyce in action from the restored Midsomer Norton. Ian then decided to make contact with me.”


Arrangements were made and on Saturday Ian Hocken and his family travelled over from Reigate in Surrey to meet ‘Joyce’. Two of the family members, Jenna and Elizabeth, have Joyce’s family name of Sandeman. Andy met them on the platform at Midsomer Norton station and introduced them to ‘Joyce’ before they travelledup the line on a vehicle hauled by this unique locomotive.


Station volunteers were there to make the occasion one to be remembered and the family were treated to tea in the buffet car. This was followed by another ride up the line before they had to return home after a most enjoyable day.


Andy said they were more than thrilled to see Joyce in such a splendid condition and the ride up the line lived up to every expectation.


Visitors can see Joyce the Sentinel locomotive on event days at the station. The next one is the Family Fun Day on August 11th when you can bring your children and friends for sand and water play together with lots of other fun activities. Joyce will be hauling restored 1950’s British Railways coaches to take visitors for a ride along a section of the restored iconic Somerset and Dorset line from Midsomer Norton Station. Come along with your family and enjoy a summers day of fun at the station from 11 till 4 o’clock.

As part of the Trusts continuing aim to return the station to its 1950's appearance under BR Southern Region control, yesterday we moved a step further with reinstatement of the frame for the running in board adjacent to the Down Side platform. The metal sign declaring 'Midsomer Norton South' is currently being manufactured and will be delivered shortly.


The photograph shows one of our Trustees and working members - Phil Jones - tightening up the nuts to secure the wooden frame to the original concrete posts.


To facilitate the Trust to continue progressing the restoration and better facilities at the station with the intention of attracting more visitors whose revenue will support the development of the railway further, we would again like to take this opportunity to remind our Members who have not yet returned their form - which was recently sent out with the Chairman's letter about the Outline Planning Application (OPA) -  to please do so.


As mentioned previously the Trust is very pleased to announce that we have received a large number of responses to the letter (OPA). Equally though we are aware that there are still members who have not returned their forms and we wish to receive your feedback and comments.

Thank you for your continued support!


The Trust is pleased to announce that we have received a large number of responses to the letter recently sent out to all members asking if they will respond and inform the Trust whether they are in support or object to the Outline Planning Application (OPA).
We would ask those who have not yet returned the form to please do so and let us know if your are in support or object to the OPA submitted by the Trust.
Thank you for your support.

Form 5EJ at Fosse Way school have been helping Volunteers at the Heritage Railway with various activities including some major gardening plans. Over the summer work has been going on to clear the sand from the Andersen shelter, which has been used to help extend the front border at the station, and the Dig for Victory bed has been cleared for replanting. In addition a raised bed donated by Sentinel steam loco owner Andy Chapman and his wife Michelle has been filled with topsoil.

The students have grown their own plants at school and brought them over to the station for planting and now there are sturdy plants growing in both the raised bed and the Dig for Victory bed. 

Station Volunteer John Marriott who is liaison officer and Gardener Gail Coleshill have been impressed with the efforts made by the Fosse Way students and the resultant garden areas.

John said “They have worked so hard under the guidance of their leaders and the results are impressive. The Heritage Railway is very pleased at the improvements that have been made to the gardens at the station.

Gail Coleshill says that visitors would be very welcome to see the gardens and all the other things of interest at the the station at the next event on the 28th July when Joyce the steam locomotive will be pulling trains. There is also a Family Fun Day on August 11thwhen trains will again be running.

Photo shows from the left Jamie, Jimmy, Phoebe, Ewan, Jude and Gina with Nick at the front

There has been a concerted effort over the past few months by a number of our volunteers led by Alan Humphries to complete the restoration of Type 27A Wickham trolley B40W. The team have been sourcing and overhauling numerous parts to get this vehicle operational again since its withdrawal from British Rail decades ago.

These motorised trolleys were used by permanent way gangs from 1948 onwards to travel over the sections of railway line that they were responsible for maintaining and inspecting. A number were used over the S&D and Midsomer Norton even had a small shed just north of the now demolished road bridge over Silver Street where a Wickham Trolley numbered B11W was kept between duties.

It’s recommissioning started with a number of short distance runs within the limits of the station yard. It was then driven along the full length of the running line where operational tests were conducted including brake testing. This is essential before the vehicle is put into regular use by the railway.

The trailer is a refurbished Permquip trolley which can be semi- permanently coupled to the Wickham to carry tools and equipment. Alan Humphries, who led the Wickham restoration, refurbished this trailer and built the wooden box area which can accommodate a mobile generator which can be seen in its allotted position.

Trustee Brian Litherland who is a member of the volunteer track gang says

The Somerset and Dorset Heritage Railway is always looking for volunteers for all departments including building maintenance, gardening, catering, retail and administration. Come and see what is happening at the Silver Street Station on our Volunteers weekend of the 3rd and 4th of August.

The next train running days for visitors are the 13th July which is Diesel hauled and the 14th July which is steam hauled. There is also a family fun day with play,water and sand on August 11th.

Photo shows Lewis Baker, Stuart Garner, Matt Cornborough, Jonathan Griffin, Bob Freeman and Alan Humphries with the Wickham Trolley and Trailer.

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.


Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust
Midsomer Norton Station
Silver Street
Midsomer Norton

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

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