WEST SOM­ER­SET PRE­PARES FOR ‘A3’ VISIT

Steam Railway (UK) - - News -

A re­view of the West Som­er­set Rail­way’s in­fra­struc­ture is tak­ing place ahead of vis­its by Fly­ing Scotsman this year. At 154 tons (in­clud­ing ten­der) and with a 22‑ton axle load­ing, No. 60103 is one of the largest lo­co­mo­tives to ap­pear on the 20‑mile Mine­head line in re­cent years. As well as gaug­ing the route for the lo­co­mo­tive, a sur­vey is be­ing un­der­taken to as­cer­tain the con­di­tion of its steel‑decked bridges, and en­sure the bull­head rail con­forms to Net­work Rail’s min­i­mum stan­dard depth of 133mm (5.24in). Gen­eral Man­ager Paul Conibeare ex­plained: “Our in­fra­struc­ture man­ager is happy to run en­gines up to RA6 ‑ which in­cludes ‘Halls’ ‑ on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, but for any­thing above that, we need to do these checks.” With the in­spec­tion cost­ing £50,000, any rail re­place­ment or other re­pairs that arise will be funded from the prof­its of No. 60103’s ap­pear­ance. Fly­ing Scotsman will first ap­pear on the line on May 23, at the head of a Steam Dreams ‘Cathe­drals Express’ from Bris­tol, and then spend two days on dis­play at Mine­head, be­fore haul­ing two more ‘Cathe­drals Express’ trips to Bris­tol and West­bury on May 26. Its main visit takes place be­tween Septem­ber 5‑12, when it will op­er­ate two re­turn trips each day, ex­cept on Septem­ber 8.

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