The Somerset & Dorset Heritage Railway are pleased to welcome the arrival of Class 03 diesel shunting locomotive number 03901 (formerly D2128) at Midsomer Norton. The locomotive arrived on Wednesday after a long journey down on the back of a low loader lorry from its usual home at Rowsley, Nr Matlock, Derbyshir
The locomotive has been very kindly loaned to the railway for a limited period whilst our resident industrial locomotive D1120 is sent away to the workshops of Pete Briddon Industrial Railway Specialist for the fitting of vacuum brakes.
Training for our drivers is now taking place in order that the locomotive can be used at the forthcoming Mixed Traffic Gala which is being held over the weekend of the 7th and 8th September.
The class 03 shunter together with our resident class 08 diesel shunter will be available for a limited number of driver experience days that will be available in September and October. Participants will have the opportunity to drive both locomotives on a passenger and a freight train during the full day course. So don’t miss the chance to take up this offer. Tell your friends and family members who you think may be interested.
Saturday afternoon of the 27th July saw a special steaming of Midsomer Norton Station’s unique steam Sentinel locomotive named Joyce and numbered 7109. Family members of Joyce Helen Sandeman, the young lady after whom the locomotive was named in 1927, were reunited with Joyce the locomotive for the first time in at least half a century.
Andy Chapman, Owner of the Sentinel Loco 'Joyce', discovered that Joyce Helen was the daughter of William James Sandeman OBE who was the chairman of Croydon Gasworks in the early part of the last century. This was where the Sentinel locomotive ‘Joyce’ was used. Andy decided to find out whether there were any living relatives of Joyce Helen. He tried for a number of years without success to find any.
Then, in January this year, he received an unexpected phone call.
Andy recounted that
“The call was from a gentleman called Ian Hocken who told me that Joyce Helen Sandeman was his great aunt! At a family get-together last Christmas, the question of what had happened to steam locomotive named after Joyce Helen was raised. It was decided to do an internet search for it. Not expecting anything, they were gobsmacked to find my blog about the restoration and YouTube videos galore of Joyce in action from the restored Midsomer Norton. Ian then decided to make contact with me.”
Arrangements were made and on Saturday Ian Hocken and his family travelled over from Reigate in Surrey to meet ‘Joyce’. Two of the family members, Jenna and Elizabeth, have Joyce’s family name of Sandeman. Andy met them on the platform at Midsomer Norton station and introduced them to ‘Joyce’ before they travelledup the line on a vehicle hauled by this unique locomotive.
Station volunteers were there to make the occasion one to be remembered and the family were treated to tea in the buffet car. This was followed by another ride up the line before they had to return home after a most enjoyable day.
Andy said they were more than thrilled to see Joyce in such a splendid condition and the ride up the line lived up to every expectation.
Visitors can see Joyce the Sentinel locomotive on event days at the station. The next one is the Family Fun Day on August 11th when you can bring your children and friends for sand and water play together with lots of other fun activities. Joyce will be hauling restored 1950’s British Railways coaches to take visitors for a ride along a section of the restored iconic Somerset and Dorset line from Midsomer Norton Station. Come along with your family and enjoy a summers day of fun at the station from 11 till 4 o’clock.
As part of the Trusts continuing aim to return the station to its 1950's appearance under BR Southern Region control, yesterday we moved a step further with reinstatement of the frame for the running in board adjacent to the Down Side platform. The metal sign declaring 'Midsomer Norton South' is currently being manufactured and will be delivered shortly.
The photograph shows one of our Trustees and working members - Phil Jones - tightening up the nuts to secure the wooden frame to the original concrete posts.
To facilitate the Trust to continue progressing the restoration and better facilities at the station with the intention of attracting more visitors whose revenue will support the development of the railway further, we would again like to take this opportunity to remind our Members who have not yet returned their form - which was recently sent out with the Chairman's letter about the Outline Planning Application (OPA) - to please do so.
As mentioned previously the Trust is very pleased to announce that we have received a large number of responses to the letter (OPA). Equally though we are aware that there are still members who have not returned their forms and we wish to receive your feedback and comments.
Thank you for your continued support!
Form 5EJ at Fosse Way school have been helping Volunteers at the Heritage Railway with various activities including some major gardening plans. Over the summer work has been going on to clear the sand from the Andersen shelter, which has been used to help extend the front border at the station, and the Dig for Victory bed has been cleared for replanting. In addition a raised bed donated by Sentinel steam loco owner Andy Chapman and his wife Michelle has been filled with topsoil.
The students have grown their own plants at school and brought them over to the station for planting and now there are sturdy plants growing in both the raised bed and the Dig for Victory bed.
Station Volunteer John Marriott who is liaison officer and Gardener Gail Coleshill have been impressed with the efforts made by the Fosse Way students and the resultant garden areas.
John said “They have worked so hard under the guidance of their leaders and the results are impressive. The Heritage Railway is very pleased at the improvements that have been made to the gardens at the station.
Gail Coleshill says that visitors would be very welcome to see the gardens and all the other things of interest at the the station at the next event on the 28th July when Joyce the steam locomotive will be pulling trains. There is also a Family Fun Day on August 11thwhen trains will again be running.
Photo shows from the left Jamie, Jimmy, Phoebe, Ewan, Jude and Gina with Nick at the front