REGULAR timetabled services will link the West Somerset Railway to Taunton station in a two-year trial to start in 2018.
The heritage line is in talks with main line operator Great Western Railway about running DMU services from Taunton to Bishops Lydeard to connect with West Somerset trains.
Under the scheme, West Somerset (WSR) steam services will not run into Taunton, with Great Western Railway trains not operating north of Bishops Lydeard, where passengers will have to change. However, visitors will be able to travel to the WSR over the national network without using buses to cover the gap between the two.
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The trial is being backed by Minehead Chamber of Commerce, whose chairman Alex de Mendoza said: “We are completely behind this initiative being spear-headed by West Somerset Railway plc to link national rail trains to the WSR, as we wish to see the WSR using its services to help to attract many more new and unique visitors into Minehead and its local environs.
“WSR’s fabulous railway infrastructure could start to be used even more vigorously to help boost West Somerset’s struggling tourist and business economy.
Read more in Issue 223 of Heritage Railway