West Somerset Railway supporters have brought a unique Great Western Railway signal box name plate back to the popular heritage railway.
Minehead signal box closed in 1966 and its nameplate was sold. Railway volunteers clubbed together to buy the nameplate and bring it back to Somerset. Rapid work by 22 supporters, and the Friends of Minehead Station had the purchase price of £1,400 raised in less than a week. It is still in the same condition it was when removed from the signal box in 1966, complete with original British Railways Western Region chocolate-and-cream paintwork.
The plate will now form part of the collection of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust, the heritage charity supporting the line. Chris Austin, Chairman of the Trust said:
“This was a magnificent effort by supporters of the Railway to raise the necessary funds so quickly. This important piece of the line’s history will help us tell the story of railways in Somerset to future generations. In the dark days fifty years ago when the line was running down towards closure, who could have foreseen it would ever come back to today’s successful West Somerset Railway?”
The newly acquired name plate will be on display at the Trust’s Museum at Blue Anchor station, near Minehead from the 5th to the 8th October (10.30am – 4.00pm) during the West Somerset Railway’s Autumn Steam Gala.