Burnham’s Railway – Now and Then

Bridgwater Mercury and Western Counties Herald 5th May 1858:

“Sometime ago it was considered advisable to connect Burnham, by a branch Railway from Highbridge, with the Bristol and Exeter and Glastonbury lines of railway, and it was naturally expected that the  enterprise would pay by means of excursionists to the rising watering- place and the traffic sure to flow from Wales. To render the branch railway more likely to prove remunerative the formation of a pier was necessary, and within twelve months from the period of the work’s commencement both railway and pier were completed. To the exertions of George Reed, the chief credit of this success is undoubtable due. The line and pier have been constructed by the Somerset Central Railway Company at a cost, in the whole, of £20,250, the railway costing £14,000 and the pier £6,250. The engineer was Mr Gregory, assisted by Mr Snow, resident engineer; and the contractors were Messrs J and C Rigby………The railway consists of a single line of rails, and the pier is a long strip of masonry, from the high water to low water mark, (a continuation of the line itself,) with an unpaved slip cut out on the western side, which allows vessels to be alongside to unload.”

The track followed the path now described by Marine Drive as far as the Apex park entrance, and then paralleled the Burnham Rd into Highbridge.

Marine Drive leading into Pier Street in November 2015
Marine Drive leading into Pier Street in November 2015
Train about the leave the Excursion Platform on 30th July 1955.Of interest The children are - from left to right - David Strickland, Sara Trotman, Christine Calvary, John Strickland, Judith Stevenson and Lenard Thompson.
The same spot. Train about to leave the long Excursion Platform on 30th July 1955.
Of interest The children are – from left to right – David Strickland, Sara Trotman, Christine ?, John Strickland, Judith Stevenson and Lenard Thompson.

 

Train leaving the short original platform. On the right can be seen the part of the coal yard with coal trucks.
Train leaving the short original platform. On the right can be seen the part of the coal yard with coal trucks.

 

The last Excursion Platform was the last remaining structure before Marine Drive reached this area.
The Excursion Platform was the last remaining structure of the station before Marine Drive reached this area.
This image kindly provided by Cedric May. C 1980.

 

5h May 1958.
5th May 1958.
This image kindly provided by Alan Dobinson.

 

Looking East through the station canopy.
Looking East through the station canopy. Original signal box in distance at left (see below)
This image kindly provided by Carol Keen.
This image kindly provided by Ann Popham.
16th July 1958.
16th July 1958.
This image kindly provided by Alan Dobinson.

 

View of the station from the esplanade . With Train and people.This image kindly provided by Ann Popham.
This image kindly provided by Ann Popham.

 

View of station from the original Buffer Stops.
View of station from the original Buffer Stops.

 

The original Buffer Stops.
The original Buffer Stops.
These were probably erected when the South Esplanade was tarmaced around 1932 and the lines going down the Jetty taken up.
Installing the Buffer Stop Memorial 14th July 2015.
Installing the Buffer Stop Memorial 14th July 2015.
The Memorial is as close to the site of the original Buffer Stops as possible.
The Memorial is as close to the site of the original Buffer Stops as possible.

A view of the location of the original station buildings taken in 2016.

The same location of the station buildings taken by the late Glyn Luxon around 1960

The station buildings when viewed from the High Street.

Folow this link for a contemporary account of the opening of the railway.

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