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Railwatch 071 - April 1997


By Eric Barbery

More trains Proposals for an hourly service on the Salisbury to Exeter line are being supported by Somerset County Council. But the council has not thrown its weight behind suggestions to reopen Chard Junction which could provide a railhead for tourist going to Forde Abbey. The eastbound platform survives and could be used by trains in both directions (with westbound trains reversing into the platform).

More new stations Yeovilton Aircraft Museum could be given a railhead at Somerton on the Taunton to Westbury line. On the same line halts could reopen at Langport and Huish and also at Athelney. There has also been public pressure for a halt at Marston Magna, near Yeovil, on the line to Castle Cary. There is also potential for a halt at Sparkford which could serve the nearby Haynes Sparkford Motor Museum.

West Somerset More than 6,000 lorry movements will be avoided by a plan to use Britain's longest preserved railway for freight. Main line freight company EWS is planning to send up to 100,000 tonnes of stone to Minehead to rebuild the sea defences which were breached by storms twice last year. The stone trains will start in the Mendips on Railtrack's network, joining the West Somerset Railway at Norton Fitzwarren Junction and continuing 20 miles to Minehead. The West Somerset which already has 10 stations, will build a new siding at Minehead for the freight trains. The railway is also marketing itself as an ideal line for cyclists to use. Bikes go free and the line gives access to the Quantock hills. Information: 01643 704996

Steaming on A commuter service is planned, along with steam trains, on the old Great Western line from Radstock to Frome. Radstock and Midsomer Norton now has a combined population of 20,000.

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