Sunday, June 22, 2014

West Somerset Railway

We had a day out today, first time in a long time. I bought a Family ticket for the West Somerset Railway, to go for a ride on the steam train. It's £43 for a Day Rover if you buy it in advance, £45 if you buy it on the day. This allows 2 adults and 4 children to travel along the line and hop on and off as many times as you want. So both my daughters took friends with them to keep them company.

We got up early and headed for the first train, the 10:25 from Bishops Lydeard. The railway runs different timetables depending on day of the week and month. Today was a green timetable day, meaning there were only five trains running, so not a great deal of opportunity for hopping on and off at any of the nine stops along the way. We opted for going straight to Minehead. I don't know that there is a lot to do if you hop off in the villages along the way anyway.

Train travel is great, the train just pootles along at a sensible speed and you get to see great scenery along the way. For some of the time the train runs along the coast, which is really pretty. The steam train had it's windows open, so it wasn't too hot. We had seats round a table, so we could have a drink and a snack too. It was all very civilised.

When we got to Minehead we all wandered off and did our own thing. There is not a lot to do in Minehead so that didn't take very long. Then we met back up for lunch at 1.00. After lunch it was ice-cream on the beach, then the 15:15 train back again. This was a diesel train and not nearly so much fun. It was hot and stuffy and no tables. So my advice, if you are going for the day, make sure you catch the steam trains. I had a lovely day and can completely recommend it.

1 comment:

Robert Slack said...

The West Somerset Railway is also a favourite of mine. I've travelled on this line several times, often with my daughters. I love the time-warp stations along the way. I think it's one of the most immersive historic experiences I know. I really should turn out my tweed jacket. And I believe the 'sensible speed' you speak of is a non too startling average of 15mph.

Two 'hop off' points that I've used in the past are Dunster and Watchet, both of which offer interesting diversions. Dunster station is just a mile's walk from attractive Dunster village and its castle (NT). Watchet is a pretty place in a charming location, although rather lacking in amenities, particularly so on a winter's day.

It's great to see a heritage railway like the WSR thriving on the dedication of its army of enthusiastic volunteers. Thank goodness men never really grow up.