West Somerset Railway is the longest heritage railway in England at 22.75 miles and operates heritage steam and diesel trains. It travels through beautiful countryside passing the Quantock Hills and Exmoor, and runs close to the coast at Helwell Bay. There are 10 stops, all of which have fascinating sites to explore.
The line opened in 1862 between Taunton and Watchet and was extended to Minehead in 1874. Initially a single track, improvements were needed in the first half of the twentieth century to accommodate the significant number of tourists that wished to travel to the Somerset coast. The line was closed by British Rail in 1971 and reopened in 1976 as a heritage line.
Dunster station has been serving the village since 1874 and is around 20 minutes walk from the High Street. It is situated in what is now Dunster Marsh although the area was once known as Rotten Row when it was adjacent to the long lost harbour. It is a five minute walk to Dunster Beach and along the way walkers may be able to make out the sunken area of land which marks the site of the Medieval Port of Dunster.
The station building may well look familiar to those with a model railway as Hornby produced a 4mm scale model for many years. Opposite it is the goods shed and yard which is reputed to be haunted!
From Dunster, passengers can either travel into Minehead or take longer trips to destinations such as Washford (for Cleeve Abbey and Torre Cider Farm), historic Watchet or the southern terminus at Bishops Lydeard, which is four miles by bus from Taunton.
The WSR runs the “Dunster Castle Express” train each Wednesday and Saturday from Bishops Lydeard (starts in April and ends in October) and special trains each December for the Dunster by Candlelight event. In addition special bus links operate between the station and Dunster Steep during the Country Fair and Dunster Show. For more information see: