Minehead Rail Link Group’s meeting in the Old Hospital last night (Tuesday) was described as an ‘overwhelming success’ by the Group’s Secretary, Councillor Benet Allen. About 140 people attended, despite only sixty seats being available in the meeting room, and many speakers were met with applause.
West Somerset Railway (WSR)’s Chris Austin announced that the railway was seeking funding for a trial 60-day period next summer for a conection from Taunton to Bishop’s Lydeard. The Rail Link Group supported the move as a ‘useful first step’ towards an end-to-end service between Minehead and Taunton, said Alex de Mendoza, the chairman of the group.
Consultant Graham Ellis gave a talk on his experience with the Swindon-Westbruy route, where passenger journeys were well above the planned figure. The original single-car train has been replaced by a three-car service.
Volunteers from the WSR were worried that the Rail Link group haven’t made a fully costed plan. But, says Alex de Mendoza, “We don’t have all the answers yet. We’re here to build a campaign - this is the start of the journey."
Councillor Allen said, “The new service would have the support of the 20,000 people who live down the line - and the 70,000 people who live at the other end. And a thousand times more across the country who will be able, finally, to get to Minehead by train.”
Minehead Rail Link Group
Corrects name of Alex de Mendoza; adds detail of 140 people present at meeting