Our June excursion to Minehead has become a highly successful fixture in our summer programme. This year, we plan for No. 46233 “Duchess of Sutherland” to haul our train to the West Somerset Railway where upon arrival at Bishops Lydeard we swap our mainline ‘Big Lizzie’ for a WSR steam loco to continue the journey to Minehead. We have tweaked the timetables enabling us to have nearly 3 hours to explore the seaside town.
Why do we call this train the Whistling Ghost? No, it is nothing to do with the Rev W. Awdry’s ‘Percy’ covering himself in flour; it is in reference to the infamous Somerset ghost Old Mother Leakey. Old Mother Leakey is known as a ghost who haunts the waterfront at Minehead, “whistling up” bad weather that can sink ships. She is rumoured to inhabit The Mermaid, which is one of the oldest business premises in the town. The Mermaid and has been in turn a ship’s chandlers, a nineteenth-century ‘department store’ and in more recent years a tearoom.
Our day begins with the Duchess departing Tyseley through Birmingham Moor Street, heading southward. We journey along the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway, the Cotswold Hills looming majestically to our left, as we near Bristol Temple Meads. We continue our southerly passage across the Somerset levels towards Taunton, where we turn onto the preserved metals of the West Somerset Railway. At Bishops Lydeard, we swap 46233 for a WSR preserved steam loco for the continued journey to Minehead. Perfect for a seaside break, Minehead offers a long, flat sandy beach, great for picnics and games, especially as the sand is perfect for sandcastle building!
After nearly 3 hours in Minehead, our return journey retraces our steps, swapping our WSR loco for No.46233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ at Bishops Lydeard in preparation for the sprint back to Tyseley.
Steam hauled throughout by No. 46233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’
|Saturday 17th June 2017 – ‘Whistling Ghost V’|
|Tyseley Warwick Road||08:00||23:25|
|Birmingham Snow Hill||08:20||23:05|
|Bristol Temple Meads||11:00||19:50|