In March 2017, the Somerset and Dorset Railway Midsomer Norton marked another year since the railway closed on the 6th of March 1966 with a Gala. Two locomotives were rostered: Steam Sentinel 7109 Joyce and British Railways built Class 08 diesel D4095.
Each morning the Sentinel worked a goods train consisting of a four-wheeled mineral wagon, a Dace and a Queen Mary brake van on which passengers could travel. This operated over the Up line between the platform and just North of the points onto the down line ( soon to be commissioned). Meanwhile on the down line the Class 08 worked passenger trains.
For the first time on the Somerset and Dorset Railway Midsomer Norton, passengers were able to experience two trains passing each other on parallel tracks although the ride was nowhere near the length of the Great Central Railways double track main line section. Adults and children waved as the trains passed each other and the look of joy on their faces was a wonderful sight.
The passenger trains operated up to the limit of operations where new track can be seen disappearing into the distance. For many Somerset and Dorset enthusiasts, this is a sight they thought they would never see again. The track has been extended since this event and a report on this can be found here.
The sound of the Sentinel hauling its train up to 1:50 gradient breaking the silence was superb. After lunch, the two locos swapped roles. The Sentinel was able to demonstrate its pulling power hauling the two British Railways Mk1 coaches up the gradient.
As trains left the station they passed a site on the right hand side designated for the new maintenance shed. The photo below shows a view from the driver’s cab of the Class 08 with track in the foreground leading to the allocated plot.
This shed will provide much needed covered accommodation for locos and carriages. It is hoped that the shed will attract owners to bring their locos to operate on this iconic line
The maintenance shed will also free up some of the station area. The view below shows the relatively unusual sight of both platform roads clear.
Following the end of this successful weekend, the locos are stabled in the down platform to await their next turn of duty.
I would like to thank the volunteers for their hard work that made the Somerset and Dorset Railway Event such a great success. If you have ever considered volunteering at a heritage railway then have a look at my post here.
The Somerset and Dorset at Midsomer Norton is going from strength to strength. If you haven’t visited Midsomer Norton station, please check the website to see when trains are running.
I can thoroughly recommend two DVDs by Ivo Peters :