Chuffed to bits: Your chance to work with steam trains on a historic railway

By Laura Linham

20th Mar 2023 | Local News

The East Somerset Heritage Railway was officially opened to the public on 1st August 1974.
The East Somerset Heritage Railway was officially opened to the public on 1st August 1974.

The East Somerset Railway is hosting an open day in the hopes of finding new volunteers for the historic railway.

The East Somerset Railway is a Brunel railway (Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the Surveyor), though it was not originally owned by the Great Western Railway, that came later. Opened in 1858, it originally ran from Witham to Shepton Mallet and was built under an 1856 Act of Parliament.

Like many railways the East Somerset Railway lost its fair share of staff to World War I, whilst the aftermath of World War II saw usage of the line drop off with the rise of the motorcar and the transport of stone by lorry. The mainline finally closed for business in July 1964, having carried its last passengers a year earlier.

But in 1974, the renowned Wildlife Artist, the late David Shepherd, was looking for a home for two engines he had acquired (Black Prince and The Green Knight). He found this home at Cranmore and acquired it.

The East Somerset Heritage Railway was officially opened to the public on 1st August 1974. It's has had its ups and downs since then but is now thriving and providing a much-needed tourist attraction for the locality. It is run by a number of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers, recently boosted by the ward of a Lottery grant to reinstate the second platform at Cranmore

If you're looking for a new challenge and are interested in volunteering at a heritage steam railway, head along to the East Somerset Railway on Saturday 25th March to meet the volunteers and learn about volunteering opportunities, from being a guard, to Ticket Office and Shop duties or helping with line maintenance.

The day lasts from 10am to 2pm and will include site tours, a free train ride and departmental demonstrations.

For further information please contact: [email protected].


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