MORE than 1,000 visitors used the diesel shuttle service between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard on the first three days of the joint Great Western Railway and West Somerset Railway trial, figures released this week have revealed.
The service, which began on July 28, has been operating on Saturdays and links the national rail network with the heritage line, allowing passengers to travel from Taunton to Minehead by chnaging trains at Bishops Lydeard.
“We are extremely pleased with the response, which shows there could be the potential for a more regular link from the main line,” a WSR spokesman said. Chris Austin, chairman of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust, who has been leading the project on behalf of WSR , said the first surveys of shuttle passengers showed that over half had travelled from 50 mainline stations around the country, from as far afield as Penzance, Newcastle, Kent and South Wales. Figures from last Saturday’s shuttle service showed that two thirds of passengers then changed trains and travelled on the heritage line from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead.
Mr Austin added:”Around 13 per cent of those passengers had never been on the WSR before while 46 per cent said they were infrequent visitors.”
More detail will be available as the team continue to monitor passengers travelling to the railway and from Minehead to Taunton.
The next shuttle days are August 31, September 7 and 21 and October 5.
Printed in West Somerset Free Press on 23/08/2019