Minehead sells prairie to Dart Valley to cut liabilities

THE West Somerset Railway has sold GWR Large Prairie No. 4110 to the Dart Valley Railway plc in the latest of a series of robust measures to reduce its liabilities.

WSR plc placed the unrestored former Minehead branch locomotive on sale before Christmas. It was bought from the Southall Railway Great Western Preservation Group in 2015.

Members of the railway’s mechanical engineering department launched a £120,000 appeal to buy it (HR 250), and had raised the sum in pledges.

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However, it was announced on February 3 that No. 4110 had instead been sold to the operator of the Dartmouth Steam Railway.

GWR 4-6-0 No. 6960 Raveningham Hall climbing away from Bishops Lydeard at Watersmeet with a Minehead bound train on January 1, the last day of West Somerset Railway services for three months. DON BISHOP

Would-be buyer GWR4110 Ltd, the West Somerset Railway Association and WSR plc, issued a joint statement, which read: “It is with regret that we have to announce that even with the three organisations working closely together, we have been unable to find a way to keep No. 4110 on the WSR. As late as January 25 we were still in joint discussions to try to find a way to deliver this objective.

“The WSR plc finds itself in a position where it needs cash immediately and its directors have no choice but to maximise the return to the company in such a circumstance.

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Read more in Issue 251 of HR – on sale now!

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Sam Hewitt