Target Taunton: an update on the current position WSR Chris Austin has kindly provided an update on the plans to introduce a shuttle between Taunton and the West Somerset Railway.
The West Somerset Railway has been successful in securing a grant of £60,000 from Great Western Railway's Customer and Communities Improvement Fund to provide connections between the heritage railway and the national rail network this summer.
After many years of planning and preparation, a regular link to the main line at Taunton is about to become a reality as the Exmoor Gateway project. The scheme is expected to run later in the summer and through the Autumn, with a service on Saturdays and Sundays between Bishops Lydeard and Taunton.
Trains will be timed specifically to connect with steam trains to and from Minehead at Bishops Lydeard, Five return trips are planned for Saturdays and four for Sundays (the Sunday late morning slot on Platform 2 at Taunton is taken up by the Torbay Express.)
Details are still being worked on with GWR, and an announcement will be made as soon as dates are confirmed. Comprehensive data will be kept on passenger loadings to allow a judgement to be made on whether or not such a service could be run commercially in future years.
A major communications campaign is planned to promote these services and to encourage new visitors to come to see the railway by public transport rather than by car. GWR already offers through tickets to the WSR from its staffed stations, available for use on the 28 bus between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard, and these tickets will also be valid on the shuttle train.
Alternatively, passengers will be able to buy tickets on the shuttle train to any station on the WSR. Further details of this exciting development will be made widely available as soon as possible.
27 June 2019
Details kindly provided by Chris Austin