West Somerset Railway trains halted after 'military device' found

Railway sealed off by police
Image caption Paul Conibeare, WSR general manager, said the device was discovered by one of its line walkers

Steam trains have been suspended on a heritage railway after an "old military device" was found near a station.

West Somerset Railway (WSR), which runs steam and diesel trains, said services had been suspended for the rest of the day "for safety reasons".

According to reports, the device was dislodged from a bank and rolled on to the track.

Paul Conibeare WSR general manager said the device has now been taken away for safe disposal.

Police had cordoned off a large area near Watchet station and Brendan Road was closed as a precaution.

The area has since been declared safe and the cordon has been removed.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said officers were at the railway station following the discovery of "what is believed to be an old military device".

"The small device will now be examined by experts from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit," he added.

Image caption Police cordoned off a large area near Watchet station and the bomb disposal squad was called
Image caption The device was found near the West Somerset Railway

A WSR spokesman apologised for any inconvenience but said they were "working hard to get travelling passengers back to their start station".

Mr Conibeare said the device was discovered by one of its line walkers "about 25 to 30 yards from Watchet station".

'Dug out by rabbits'

"The police were called and have cordoned off quite a large area and we're currently waiting for bomb disposal experts," he said.

BBC engineer Colin Goode, who was at the scene, said: "Someone said they had just found a device on the railway line.

"I've just had a word with the police and they said yes, there is a device which they've taken pictures of, about 20 metres up the track from the train at Watchet just before you get to the bridge and they've sent pictures off to the MOD.

"It's described as being abut the size of a dinner plate - it looks like it's come from a small landslide or has been dug out by rabbits from the edge of the track but no-one knows what it is."

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