RAILWAY buffs suffered a major disappointment when one of the world’s most iconic steam locomotive made two trips to Bishops Lydeard this week – but was not allowed to run on the West Somerset Railway.
The Flying Scotsman’s times of arrival at the WSR terminus on Tuesday and today (Friday) were also kept secret after serious trespassing on the line delayed the train at Dursley, Gloucestershire, last Friday.
The legendary 94-year-old locomotive was hauling two charter trains from Bishops Lydeard on round trips via Bristol, Bath and Westbury but was not able to take passengers along the line to Minehead.
A WSR spokesman told the Free Press: “Over the past few weeks, we have been running checks on the track between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead.
“The checks that need to be done to ensure that Flying Scotsman can run along the line have, unfortunately, not been completed so we were unable to allow the locomotive to come all the way along the line at this time.
“The checks needed will, however, be carried out before the Flying Scotsman’s second visit to us in September.”
The spokesman said that, during the visits, Bishops Lydeard station was only available to fare-paying passengers and spectators trying to view the locomotive without a ticket had been asked to be respectful of other people’s property.
Commenting on the earlier trespass incidents, a British Transport Police spokesman said: “We understand that people are excited but the railway is a hazardous environment and trespassers endanger their safety and that of others.
“We will monitor the situation as the Flying Scotsman continues its journey.”
And the WSR spokesman added: “There will be much better opportunities to view the locomotive on the West Somerset Railway when it visits again from September 5 to 12 and will make several journeys from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead.”