WEST Somerset Railway have confirmed there will still be a service all the way from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard this summer – despite delays with the Seaward Way crossing.
In a joint statement with Somerset County Council the WSR said: “Following resumption of services in May, we’re delighted that visitors are once again enjoying the very special experience offered by the West Somerset Railway.
“Though it is disappointing that installation of the Seaward Way crossing could not be completed in time for the summer as hoped, due mainly to the impact of the Covid emergency, WSR is ensuring there will still be a service the full length of the journey from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard.
“Passengers will travel by bus between Minehead and Dunster until the crossing is operational later in the year. In keeping with the unique traveller experience offered by the WSR, the journey will be by vintage bus at weekends.
“We are keenly aware of the importance of this service to local businesses in Minehead which is why the WSR is providing this bus service.
“This is a complex project involving a number of agencies and equipment suppliers and it has unfortunately been hit hard by the Covid crisis. There have been supply chain issues for some key parts and most of the specialist rail contractors needed for this work are also currently required by Network Rail for vital works across the main UK network.
“Initial planning started in 2018 and the design was completed in 2020. It was finally approved by the Office of Rail and Road, the regulator, in February.
“A great deal of preparatory work has already taken place, including a significant amount of work off site. Despite the difficulties, it’s anticipated the crossing will be operational in time for the festive season.”