In this blog I’m going to talk about the steam trains of the East Somerset Railway in Cranmore.

The East Somerset Railway was set up in the early seventies and is run largely by volunteers, who are passionate about preserving the region’s railway heritage and sharing it with the public. Their dedication and hard work have turned the railway into a thriving tourist attraction, attracting visitors from far and wide.

A video of my visit to The East Somerset Railway

For over half century, these dedicated individuals have created something rather special, and It’s stirring to see these great machines live on into our modern age.

Stretching over 2.5 miles, the East Somerset Railway operates steam and diesel locomotives, providing visitors with a nostalgic journey back in time. The scenic route takes passengers through the picturesque Somerset countryside, passing quaint villages and lush green landscapes.

It all appears incredibly romantic Until that is you take a walk around the engine shed and then you realise that this is where all the real work is done. The engine shed is about as far away from The Orient Express as you could possibly get. It looks hard, potentially dangerous, and the site of back-breaking work. All credit to anyone who can handle this environment. Especially in winter.

Painting The Lady Nan

You can buy a limited edtion print of this painting here

painting of a Steam Train at the East Somerset Railway

Leaving the engine shed, I went in search of something to draw. I wondered around for a bit looking for a likely candidate and eventually found this fine blue engine, which, I later discovered, was named ‘The lady Nan’ after one of its owners. The Lady Nan was built in 1920 and worked for various companies until 1972 when it was sold off a scrap. Not long after it was acquired by The East Somerset Railway and lovingly restored.

If you ever draw or paint anything you quickly notice the care and attention, the original designers and engineers had for their work. Although this is a small engine when compared to many others of its time, it is beautifully proportioned and wonderfully functional. Solid and built to last too. This train was going for fifty-odd years before it was finally retired, probably because coal was no longer used to power modern engines.

Drawing of a steam train

I am rather pleased with the final painting as I managed to achieve the feel of the old Ladybird Books of my youth which is just what I was after.

The East Somerset Railway stands as a testament to the rich railway history of the region, providing an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages and interests. It serves as a living museum, celebrating the golden age of railways and ensuring that future generations can appreciate and cherish this important part of British history.

So, if you do get an opportunity to visit the East Somerset railway, do go along – it’s a real treat.


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