Weymouth Wizard

The last interesting train journeys the scout made were aboard the summer Saturdays-only 0906 Bristol Temple Meads to Weymouth and its return, the “Weymouth Wizard.”

The name had been used by B.R. between 1981 and ’85 for a Swindon to Weymouth midweek summer service. This helped revive the Thingley Junction to Bradford Junction line, which at the time was under threat of closure.

The first time the scout went to Temple Meads to catch the service in 2015, a D.M.U. was substituted and the scout let it go, preferring instead to follow the North Somerset line to Frome, stopping to visit Radstock Museum on the way.

Not much later, he tried again and this time he enjoyed the whole journey standing at an open window. It was his first visit to Weymouth and he explored the town, the harbour and the island in the 5¾ hours before the return Wizard at 1728.

The Weymouth Wizard about to pass Thornford Bridge Halt on 8th July, 2017.
The scout’s bicycle is on the platform because he was to catch the following stopper as far as Yetminster. From there, he rode back to Yeovil, visited the railway centre and then followed the line to Castle Cary.
He didn’t know at the time that he would several times breakfast at Yeovil Junction before riding to Thornford and continuing deeper into Dorset. +
The Wizard continues towards Weymouth along what was once the Up line.
Weymouth Harbour Station and a rare example of a zebra crossing on a railway.
The H.S.T. which will form the 1728 to Temple Meads is shown as a non-stopper on the screen. +

The second time, the train was diverted via Badminton and Swindon. The scout detrained at Dorchester and visited Poundbury and Maiden Castle before continuing to Weymouth from Dorchester (South).

The following year, the scout twice detrained at Dorchester, once to follow the Abbotsbury Branch and later to follow the line to Weymouth, where he rode on to Portland Bill.

If the scout had known that the services would revert to being formed by miserable D.M.Us. in 2018, he would have made more journeys in 2017, just for fun.

He had one more opportunity to go to Weymouth, which he thought might have been the last of the fun. It was a special H.S.T. from Okehampton to Weymouth. The scout forked out £35 but could not get near an open window because Network Rail had made it a condition of the unmodified train being allowed to run that every vestibule be guarded by volunteers. So the scout had had the last of the fun in 2016.

An example of the disjointed railway occurred in 2016 when a path was sold to South West Trains for a 0750 Waterloo to Weymouth, via Yeovil Junction. This was booked to depart Pen Mill at 1033, with the Wizard following at 1053, as tight a headway as possible. Twice in the scout’s experience a loaded H.S.T. was delayed at Pen Mill by the late running Waterloo and he studied the station furniture while imagining the progress of the train ahead along the single line to Maiden Newton.

The Waterloo service did not run in 2017 and it was rumoured that the Wizard would not run in 2018, a rumour the scout should have heeded.


The train was interesting, not least because of its route. It had a holiday atmosphere; even the crew were going to the beach, it seemed, and the same faces were seen on the return working. First was declassified. Riding in the vestibule, the scout was constantly opening the door for passengers who, being accustomed to D.M.Us., were looking for a button to press.

Guards had to check every door and see that no one was hiding in the T.G.S. at every unstaffed station. One regular man, a friendly chap with a gammy leg, looked exhausted when the Wizard rolled in at Cary on one occasion and he had frantically to herd his connecting passengers onto the late running 1706 Paddington, not helped by having only three cars of his train platformed.

One unusual duty the Guard had before leaving Temple Meads was to check the formation to see that all trailers had short swing link suspension. There was a danger that long swing links, which were originally fitted, might have fouled the third rail.

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