In 2019 the West Somerset Railway Association raised over £140,000 and committed almost £200,000 to repairing and replacing worn out track on the West Somerset Railway. That was a great start and as a result of the work now being done over the winter period the railway will run safely during 2020.
However the need is ongoing and we must start planning and fundraising early for the winter 2020-2021 works on the track. The West Somerset Railway track uses 53,000 sleepers and well over 40 miles of rail. The rail has a life of between 50 and 100 years.
Bullhead rail was the standard for the British railway system from the mid-19th until the mid-20th century. One of the first British Standards, BS 9, was for bullhead rail - it was originally published in 1905 and revised in 1924.
Bullhead rail has now been almost completely replaced by flat-bottom rail on British railways, although it survives on the national rail system in some sidings or branch lines.
As a Heritage Railway, the West Somerset Railway would like to keep Bullhead rail demonstrated in the station surrounds and other areas where it can be observed and understood. The unseen parts of the railway will use the more cost-effective flat-bottomed rail, similar to that used on the mainline.
Here are some examples of the materials that could be purchased with your donation:
£3,000 buys a full 60ft panel of bullhead track including all fittings (50 years life)
£1,800 buys a full 60ft panel of flat bottom track including all fittings (100 years life)
£840 buys a length of bullhead rail
£560 buys a length of flat bottom rail
£52 buys a durable wooden sleeper with serviceable chairs and keys
£28 buys a concrete sleeper with new fittings
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS CAMPAIGN TO KEEP THE WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY SAFELY STEAMING INTO THE FUTURE