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PICTURES: Welsh invasion as steam gala goes Cambrian

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 08, 2013

  • The autumn steam gala at Bishops Lydeard station in Somerset celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Cambrian Railways Company Picture: Richard Austin

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England's longest heritage railway line took on a distinctly Welsh flavour at the weekend during its autumn steam gala.

The popular event at the West Somerset Railway, which runs trains from Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton, to the coast at Minehead, was this year themed to commemorate the Cambrian Railways system which served Mid Wales and Shropshire.

Evoking the atmosphere on the routes in the 1950's and 60's, stations were renamed and appropriate types of steam engines were hired in.

Sam Burton, from the railways, said: "It went really, we had lot of extra visitors including quite a few Welsh speakers.

"We renamed all the stations after places in Wales and had Welsh language station announcements as well, which was a first for us. Our locomotive, Nunney Castle, was also renamed after Criccieth Castle."

Among the visitors was the president of the Heart of Wales Line Travellers Association, Professor Stuart Cole.

A transport adviser to Welsh Government and a member of First Great Western's stakeholder advisory board, he travelled the line with Chris Austin, chairman of the West Somerset Railway Steam Trust.

The successful gala weekend was rounded off by a proposal on the footplate of the Nunney Castle.

Jason Hull used his favourite locomotive to successfully pop the question to girlfriend Lisa Ascott.

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