Work Starts on Williton Footbridge Roof

Work started today on preparatory work for the fitting of the footbridge roof. The Williton Station Maintenance started priming the 7”x2” fascia boards which the guttering and dagger boards will be attached to. This is the first job to be undertaken in the new maintenance hut which now has power and lighting installed. On Monday 16 April the scaffolding will be erected and be completed on 17 April when work on site will start. The main contract is being undertaken by John Farley, who as well owning a building company in West Wales, is also a steam engine driver on the West Somerset Railway. The electric work is being undertaken by Stuart Freeman a Williton based electrician, steelwork is in the hands of West Somerset Restorations and RAMs are producing and painting the dagger boards together with some miscellaneous work. The contract is programmed for completion in 4/5 weeks.

Williton Station 150th Anniversary Mural

2012 - Williton Station Mural to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Station in 1862 seen on 31 March. © (cc) Martin Hope
2012 – Williton Station Mural to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Station in 1862 seen on 31 March. © (cc) Martin Hope

During meetings to discuss the Watchet 150 celebrations Martin Hope, Williton’s Station Master, came up with a proposal to paint a mural on the wall of the station shop facing out onto the car park.  Whilst other stations proposed grand celebrations on just one day he considered that the mural could be in place for at least twelve months and give enjoyment to passengers joining the train at Williton during the whole of the 2012 summer/autumn season.

He approached Tad Mandziej a local artist and wood carver who agreed to assist and he started working on Martin’s rough design for the mural. Many meetings, e-mails and hours taken to select the appropriate photographs  resulted in the design being firmed up by Tad.  It was now time for Brenda, Tad’s wife to get involved , a talented artist she worked for many hours producing the mural assisted by Tad and several local artists.

The result can be seen here – a fantastic mural which definitely has the wow factor.

The mural was unveiled at a ceremony held during the morning of 31 March.

Our thanks go to Tad and Brenda and the other artists involved.

 Williton Maintenance Hut

 2012 - Williton Station Maintenance Hut seen on 14 March. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence. ©Martin Hope

2012 – Williton Station Maintenance Hut seen on 14 March. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence. ©Martin Hope

To enable work to start on lengthening the Williton Loop the Ex-SR Wagon presently used as a Mess Room and workshop has to be moved. On Tuesday 13 March a new Maintenence Hut was delivered and erected on the base of the former water tower.  Work is now proceeding on insulating the hut and preparing the building for use.


Spring Steam Gala update
We have been informed today that due to operational reasons “Driver for a fiver” rides at Williton will not take place during the Spring Steam Gala.
Also to clarify the Swindon Shed will only be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday on both weekends.



Autumn Steam Gala
Another question the station staff are being asked is “When is the work on the loop going to start?” The answer to this is  – work has started and has been undertaken  since early last Autumn.  Before the loop can be put in the bridge over the culvert has to be reinstated to accommodate double track and to enable this the black ex-SR wagon used by the station’s Maintenace Team has to be moved.  A new Maintenance Hut is to be built on the base of the  former water tower. When this area was cleared the cast iron pipes which were used to feed the tower were uncovered (pictures in Gallery 15 2011).  Permission has been granted to build a temporary wooden structure over the top of the pipework in case it is needed in the future if the water tower was to be reinstated.
2012 - Base of the New Williton Station Maintenance Shed completed. Seen on 23 February. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence. ©Martin Hope
2012 – Base of the New Williton Station Maintenance Shed completed. Seen on 23 February. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence. ©Martin Hope

The base of the shed is now complete and the shed will be delivered and erected during March. Once the shed is completed  and all the Manitenance Team’s work benches and tools etc. have been relocated to their new home the wagon can be lifted out.  This operation could take place before the last non running day in May.  If this is not possible the wagon will be moved in November.  Once the wagon is moved the site will be cleared and levelled to allow work to commence on the construction of the new bridge over the culvert.  This will then be followed by the installation of the new point further up the line.

As with any large project such as this, the availability of finance plays a major part and in this uncertain economic climate at least a start has been made on extending the Williton Loop.


Site Update
Four photographs have been added to Gallery  3 1960 – 1969. These are from the MEJ Deane collection and our thanks go to Ian Bennett for sending them and giving permission for them to be included in the web site.
Williton Footbridge
The question station staff at Williton are asked every day is “When are you going to put the roof on the footbridge?”  Since the footbridge returned from refurbishment on 16 March last year we have been actively seeking funding for the project as well as continuing to raise funds on the station.  In the Autumn we received approval for financial assistance from the West Somerset Railway Associations and the West Somerset Railway PLC.  With these pledges of financial support we were able to seek quotations to complete the project, however we have had great difficulty in obtaining quotations. We finally received a quote from a company which specialises in this type of heritage railway work, however it was above the budget available to us.
We then decided to explore other ways to complete the footbridge which culminated in a meeting last week when two proposals and costings were discussed.  At this point in time we are firming up the proposals and completing the necessary paperwork.
So sorry, no firm date for completion yet – but watch this space!!


Site update
Gallery 16 – 2012 has been added, three photographs from 1914 have been added to Gallery 1 and four photographs from 1976 have been added to Gallery 4.  Our thanks go to Geoff Clatworthy  for supplying us with the 1914 photographs.


Spring Steam Gala
During this year’s Spring Steam Gala the Swindon Shed will be open to the public  and it is hoped that a display of classic cars will take place.  Trade stands/stalls will be in the shed and the station staff will be providing teas, coffees annd snacks.  The Rolls Royce  Sentinel diesel shunter DH16 will be giving “Driver for a fiver” rides along the new track from the South Yard to the headshunt in the North Yard.
The DEPG will also have their Heritage Centre and sheds open to the public during the Gala.


Site update
Some updates have been made to the site today which include the 2012 Train Fares from Williton and the 2012 Events. The Links page has been updated and the videos have been removed from the Videos Page for maintenance purposes but a link is available to Admiralscorner’s YouTube site.

Autumn Steam Gala
Following the announcement on 2 September that the Swindon Shed would be closed during the Gala much work has taken place to ensure that your visit to Williton will be worthwhile.
The DEPG will be opening their shed and the Diesel Heritage Centre for the four days of the Gala.  The fleet of diesel locomotives will also be on display.
As the public are not allowed to enter the Swindon Shed, GWR No. 6960 Raveningham Hall has been pulled outside and is on static display – so progress on the restoration project can be seen.
Williton is also welcoming traders this year some of which used to have stands on Minehead Station. The traders stands are to be housed in two marquees situated in front of the Swindon Shed.  The traders who have confirmed their attendance will be selling books, magazines and models, “O” gauge tin plate models, “OO” Gauge wagons, and “O”, “OO” and “N” gauge models.   The 6880 Grange Group and the 169 Group will also have stands. On Saturday 1 October Carole Robins will also be selling her railway paintings.
During the four days of the Gala the Williton Station shop will be selling a full range of hot and cold food including bacon baps in the morning and beefburgers from late morning onwards. Sandwiches, pies and pasties will be available together will be hot and cold drinks.  Our customers favourite “Jane’s home made fruitcake”  will also be available but make sure you get to the shop early as it is selling out very quickly.
To supplement  the Station Shop hot and cold food will also be available in the smaller marquee outside the Swindon Shed.
The waiting shelter on Platform 2 of the station will be open and second hand DVDs, videos, magazines and books will be on sale.
We hope that when visiting the gala you will call in at Williton – you can be assured of a warm welcome.
Autumn Steam Gala – Update
Good news for those of you coming to Williton  for the Autumn Steam Gala and are used to visiting the Swindon Shed to browse and buy from the traders and view the progress being made on the locomotives and carriages.  The Swindon Shed will still be closed but Ray Waldron of the West Somerset Restorations has advised us that a marquee will be erected in the South Yard in front of the shed which will house the traders stands together with a refreshments stall run by Williton Station Staff which will provide sandwiches, rolls, cakes, sweets and hot and cold drinks.  Furthermore  GWR “Hall” No. 6960 “Raveningham Hall” will be on display in the yard.  Further exhibits in the yard may be added in due course.
New Photos added to Galleries 4 & 5
Our thanks go to Steve Kirby a long standing  volunteer who has allowed us to scan five photographs which he took in 1975,1976 and 1981.  These photographs have been uploaded to Galleries 4 and 5.  Of significant interest is his photograph taken in 1975 of Williton Station the year before it was reopened by the West Somerset Railway.
Late Summer Weekend –  3 & 4 September 2011
The Station shop will be open over the whole weekend serving hot pies, pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches, rolls, sweets and hot and cold drinks.
Several stations along the line have their own speciality and Williton is no exception.  Earlier this year “Jane’s Home Made Fruit Cake” was introduced and has proved to be an instant success – why not try it during the Late Summer Weekend.
The Diesel Heritage Centre and the shed/workshop of the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group will be open on both days between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Revised “Contact Us ” page and new e-mail address for submission of photographs
The “Contact Us” page has been revised and is now more user friendly.  We have also changed the e-mail address for the submission of photographs to  Information regarding the format, size and details required are now included on the Gallery and Contact Us pages.
Swindon Shed will not be open during Autumn Gala
We have been informed that the Swindon Shed home to the West Somerset Restorations will not be open to the public during the Autumn Gala or for any others in the foreseeable future. This decision was taken by the West Somerset Railway Association’s Board at its meeting held this week and follows the theft  of a considerable amount of valuable equipment worth £60,000 from the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway’s sheds at Toddington on 18/19 July 2011.
Back on Track
After changing internet servers earlier this year we have suffered technical problems which stopped the uploading of images which we hope were finally fixed yesterday afternoon.  Our first test was to change the image on this page and Chris Brown’s photo showing Braunton waiting under the Williton Footbridge was chosen.  This shot also shows that the footbridge is well and truly open being welcomed by both passengers and photographers.
We will now be resuming our regular updates and processing a large backlog of photos.
Williton Station Footbridge 0pen for use by the general public
At 12.45 today West Somerset Railway’s General Manager, Paul Conibeare, met the Williton Station Footbridge Project Team and after inspection declared that the footbridge could be opened for use by the general public.  John Parsons the Project Manager said that it was a momentous occasion for Williton Station and the biggest achievement since it had been  reopened by the West Somerset Railway in 1976. He stated that the refurbishment of the footbridge had been subject to substantial fundraising on the Station for many years and was a fitting tribute to Chris van den Arden the former Station Master who had been the major driving force for the project until his death last December.
Although now open the roof and lighting on the footbridge have still to be completed and fundraising will continue to enable this work to be undertaken.
The footbridge will be officially opened at 2 p.m. on Saturday 16 July by Gerald Creed who rescued the footbridge from Trowbridge Station  and has subsequently transferred the ownership to the West Somerset Railway.
Williton Station Footbridge
We have been informed today that despite the valiant efforts of the Williton Station Maintenance Team the footbridge will not be completed in time for public use during the Mixed Traction Weekend.  The Project Manager John Parsons has stated that several parts required to enable the Independent Assessor to visit Williton to allow a decision to be made to open the bridge to the public are missing and they will not be available to be fitted before the weekend.  Photographers will not therefore be allowed access onto the footbridge during the Mixed Traction Event.  It is now planned to officially open the footbridge in July and further details will be posted in due course on this web site.
First Photographs taken from the centre  of Williton Station Footbridge
With the permission of the Project Manager the Station Master of Williton Station and Webmaster of this site Martin Hope took the first photographs from the centre of the Footbridge shortly after the floor timbers were fixed.  Please note that the footbridge is not yet open to the general public but great progress is being made by the Williton Station Maintenance Team supported by RAMS and it will not be long before it will be in general use.
Web Site Update
The web site has been updated and now includes the current day and next day’s train times and also the details of train fares from Williton Station.  These new additions can be found under “The Train Times, Fares and Events” at the top of the screen.  Furthermore a link in the Fares Page enables you to go directly to “Online ticketing” to pre-book 1 day rover tickets.
First Steps on the Williton Station Footbridge
The Williton Station Maintenence Team with support from RAMS have started constructing the wooden steps and risers on to the footbridge. Pictures of the steps are now available in the 2011 Photo Gallery.
Braunton passes boiler tests
SR West Country class No. 34046 “Braunton” successfully passed all the boiler tests which took place today in the yard outside the Swindon Shed. This is another step forward in preparing the locomotive for main line working.
Spring Steam Gala  24 – 27 March
Why not break your journey at Williton and see what we have to offer.
The second weekend of this year’s Spring Steam Gala is now upon  us and the Diesel and Steam Restoration sheds will be open to the public.
The Refreshment Room and shop will be open every day with Bacon or Sausage Rolls  being  served from 8 a.m to 11 a.m.  Hot food (Pies, Pasties, Brunch Puffs, Sausage Rolls), sandwiches, cakes and general refreshments will be available afterwards.
Just outside the Swindon Shed tea,coffee and cold drinks are available together with freshly baked baguettes. filled rolls, sandwiches and home made cake.  Last weekend this new facility proved extremely popular and stocks were quickly snapped up.
Railwayana will be on sale in the Waiting Shelter on Platform 2 and a raffle will be held with all proceeds from both going towards the Footbridge Fund.
Help us finish the footbridge!!!
During the Spring Steam Gala we will be asking you to help with the £20,000 needed to finish off the footbridge.  Fundraising over many years at the station have raised the funds for the refurbishment and re-erection of the ex-Trowbridge GWR footbridge and funds are available to add the timber steps and deck to have the footbridge in use, hopefully for the summer.  However a further £20,000 is needed to add the roof and lighting to protect the bridge before the winter weather sets in.
This was Chris van den Arend’s, Stationmaster at Williton for many years,  great project which he led with quiet tenacity for so many years and it is disappointing that he was not there to see the bridge erected.  A donation to complete the footbridge would be a fitting tribute to the memory of one of the founding generation of the West Somerset Railway.
Donations can be given to station staff or sent to Williton Station, Station Road, Williton, TA4 4RJ.  Cheques should be made payable to ‘Williton Station Footbridge Fund’.
Web Site Update
Two of Mike Dan’s most recent videos showing the assembly of the Williton Footbridge and “Britannia” pulling the first train to pass under the footbridge have been included in the Video page.  The small fault which appeared when viewing videos in full page mode has now been rectified.
First locomotive passes under Williton Footbridge
Class 7MT 4-6-2 No. Britannia became the first locomotive to pass under the Williton Footbridge briefly stopping at 12.20 after exchanging tokens to enable an impromtu photo shoot to take place. After arriving at Bishops Lydeard at 2 in the morning the loco and support coach were travelling to Minehead.
The first diesel locomotive to pass under the footbridge  at 14.13 was class 33 No.D6566 which headed an empty stock movement from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard.
New Station Master at Williton Station and Footbridge news.
Martin Hope webmaster of this site was after interview today appointed as the new Station Master of Williton Station. The ex – Trowbridge Williton Footbridge was erected on the station 43 years after the last footbridge was demolished by British Railways.
Spring Steam Gala 19-20 and 24-27 March 2011
The Sheds and Workshops at Williton will be open for inspection together with the standby locomotive.
The Refreshment Room will be open at Williton Station every day during the Gala. Bacon or Sausage Rolls will be served from 8 a.m to 11 a.m.  Thereafter hot food (Pies, Pasties, Brunch Puffs, Sausage Rolls), sandwiches, cakes and general refreshments will be available. Cold refreshments including sandwiches, rolls and cakes together with hot and cold drinks will be available in the Swindon Shed.
Railwayana will be on sale in the Waiting Shelter on Platform 2 and a raffle will be held with all proceeds from both going towards the Footbridge Fund.
Ex-GWR BCK No. 6705
Work on the woodwork and metalwork has now been finished at Crewe and it is anticipated that the coach will return to Williton in April for completion by the West Somerset Steam Trust.
Williton Footbridge Returns!!
It has now been officially confirmed that  the Williton Footbridge will be returning from TEMA Engineering in Cardiff after being renovated. It will be erected on Williton Station  on Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 March 2011.