Expert Interview – East Somerset Railway

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We caught up with East Somerset Railway’s Richard Masters who told us a little more about the nationally loved, old fashioned steam trains. Read to find out more!

Q. How did East Somerset Railway start out?

A. The present East Somerset Railway was founded by the artist David Shepherd back in the early 1970s when he was looking for a home for two large steam engines that he had bought from British Railways to save them from going to the scrap yard.

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Q. What is the best thing about working with steam trains?

A. It depends on your point of view! For some, it is being able to drive the engines and others it is just having the chance to get their hands dirty or to be outside in the fresh air or to meet people and help them get the most from their visit.

Q. Could you give us a brief history behind the steam trains?

A. The two main engines that we have to pull the passenger services at Cranmore were both rescued from scrapyards about 40 years ago. 5637 is a former Great Western Railway locomotive that was restored by the owners before coming to Cranmore in the 1990s. 46447 is a former London Midland and Scottish Railway locomotive whose restoration was completed at Cranmore in 2014 as part of a very important agreement with the owners that secured its use for the ESR for 10 years.

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Q. If you could advise every customer one thing what would it be?

A. To enjoy themselves – the East Somerset Railway is a great place to visit!

Q. How fast do the trains go?

A. Our maximum permitted line speed is 20mph.

Q. What is the main difference between East Somerset Railway trains and conventional trains?

A. The East Somerset Railway trains are solely steam hauled.

Q. Do you have anything you’d like to add that we have not yet covered?

A. As well as coming to visit, people might like to think about volunteering with us. It is a very rewarding hobby and a highly sociable and enjoyable place to be.

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We would like to thank Richard for taking the time to answer our questions. If you would like a go at experiencing these steam trains, there are a few options including Steam Train Journey with Lunch, Stream Train Rover for two and Steam Train Rover Family Ticket.

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