Steam Locomotive 75069 for touring the West Somerset Railway

West Somerset Railway has announced that BR Standard 4MT 4-6-0 No 75069 will visit the line for this year’s Spring Steam Gala from Friday 5th to Monday 8th May.

This will be 75069’s first visit to the WSR in nearly three decades. Built in 1955 at BR’s Swindon factory, it entered circulation at Dover. In 1960 it was fitted with a twin funnel at Eastleigh and put back into circulation at Stewart’s Lane.

After just 11 years in service around London and the South Coast, the locomotive was withdrawn from service at Eastleigh in September 1966.

After touring the WSR for one season in 1994, it was decommissioned and put in store until a major overhaul by the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) costing almost £1million and involving more than 25,000 hours of work is complete.

This is the locomotive’s first trip outside the SVR since then. During next month’s spring gala, titled ‘Steam Return to Minehead’, 75069 will haul trains between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead alongside another guest locomotive, Caledonian Railway Class 439 0-4-4T 419 from Scotland, and of the railway’s locomotive fleet.

During the gala, visitors can tour the machine shed and enjoy several steam locomotives in action operating on an intensive schedule. A variety of trains will be in service, including:

  • local trains;
  • non-stop trains;
  • freight trains;
  • double heading of certain trains;
  • banking of certain freight trains.

Minehead’s Hub and Triangle and Norton Fitzwarren will both be used. The weekend also marks the reopening of Stogumber Cattle Dock.

WSR chief executive Kerry Noble said he was heading west again from his home on the Severn Valley Railway (SVR). “We are very privileged to be the first heritage railway host of No. 75069 since 2018. He last visited us 28 years ago, so we are very happy to have him back.”

Jose P. Rogers