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East Somerset Railway


RCD’s Overview

This railway runs for 2.5 miles along a part of the former Cheddar Valley line that ran from Witham (main line connection to Paddington) to Yatton (main line connection to Bristol). The heritage line is centred on its eastern terminus at Cranmore station, about 3 miles west of Shepton Mallet, where the locomotive workshop and a small museum are located. Its western terminus at Mendip Vale Platform is on the outskirts of Shepton Mallet, but there is no road access to the station. The railway has a reputation for steam locomotive restorations and overhauls, even from scrapyard condition. The railway is almost exclusively steam although a number of special events feature diesel motive power.

The support group is the 'East Somerset Railway Society' (see 'Information on the Suport Group' below).


Happening This Month:

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Cranmore (Somerset) to Mendip Vale Platform (no external access)

Principal Visitor Centre:

Cranmore Station (BA4 4QP)

Period of Operation*

- March to May (Weekends and selected midweek days)

- June /July and September/ October (Weekends and Wednesdays)

- August (Weekends, Wednesdays and Thursdays)

- December (Special event trains)


Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Exclusively steam save for limited designated diesel days.

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Mid and small-sized steam locomotives. Also heritage DMUs

Length of Line:

2.5 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

40 minutes

Number of trains per day:

4 in each direction

Number of Stations:

2 stations (plus 2 halts)


Adult Rover: £12. Senior: £11 Child Rover: £10. Family: From £28

Time to allow for Visit:

1 hour


Yes, small museum at Cranmore



Picnic/Play areas:


Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

At Cranmore station. Free


Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dedicated Dining Trains:

- None currently advertised                                                                               

Event Trains:

- Santa Specials: December 

Principal Galas:

- Steam Gala: March

- Summer Gala: August 


- Footplate Experience

- Driver Taster/ DMU Driver Taster                                  




Telephone:                                                          01749 880417


Social Media:                                           

                                                                            Also on Twitter and Instagram


Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The Cheddar Valley line was a railway running between the Somerset towns of Yatton and Witham (near Frome). It linked two main lines, the GWR London to Weymouth line from a point just south of Frome (at Witham), and the Bristol and Exeter main line at a point 12 miles south-west of Bristol (at Yatton).  It was conceived by separate companies intending to join at some mid-point, ultimately being Wells, and was opened in stages, from Witham to Shepton Mallet (in 1858) and to Wells (in 1862), and from the other direction, from Yatton to Wells (in 1870). Use of the line declined in the 1960s, and the line was considered for closure prior to the Beeching Report. The Report confirmed closure of the line, which closed to passengers in 1963. A short section from Witham to Merehead remained open for freight traffic, and remains open for that purpose today. The remainder of the line was abandoned. In 1971 the artist David Shepherd viewed Cranmore station looking for a location for his two former main line steam locomotives, ‘Black Prince’ and 'The Green Knight'. Cranmore station was considered a suitable location and was acquired, the line re-opening at its Cranmore base in 1973, extending west in stages reaching Mendip Vale in 1985.


Principal Aspiration

Complete the second phase of the Cranmore Station improvement project to complete the down platform and renovate the old station building on the up platform and create an enhanced railway museum.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) GWR Class 45xx (Churchward) - No. 4555 (on hire)

(2) LMS Class 2MT 2-6-0 (Ivatt) - No. 46447

(3) Barclay 0-4-0ST - No.1719 'Lady Nan'


Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) Sentinel shunter 10165 ‘Joan’

(2) Sentinel shunter - No. 10199 'Cattewater'

(3) Sentinel shunter - No.10175 ‘Dh16’

(4) Sentinel shunter - No.10221 ‘Pba 42’ 'Eric'

(5) Sentinel shunter - No.10218 'Pba 39'


Diesel Locomotives/ DMU Under Overhaul

- Heritage DMU Class 108 - No. 51909 and 54271



Name of Support Group:

East Somerset Railway Society

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £25. Senior: £20. Junior: £15. Family: £48. Life: £352


Benefits of membership:                                  

- Discounted travel. Members get 15% off most tickets for themselves and anyone they book for.

- Some discounts off books and DVD’s available for sale in the Station shop

- Yearly Journal full of information about the railway, current and future plans, and many photos.


How to Join:                                 Go to


What They Say About Volunteering:

Volunteers are the life-blood of the Railway. We can never have enough volunteers so if you have a couple of spare free hours to learn a new skill or teach us a new skill then we would love to hear from you. Examples of jobs are welcoming and helping our visitors, on the footplate as a driver or fireman, guard, staffing the ticket office and shop, maintaining and restoring engines and stock, maintaining trackwork and signalling and maintaining our buildings and grounds. The time required is down to you and how much time you can spare.


How to Volunteer:                                Go to


How to Donate:                                    Go to


WHY JOIN: Help the railway complete the second phase of the Cranmore Station improvement project.



Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this



Traditional Railway Societies:

- Great Western Railway Society

- Wells Railway Fraternity


Model Railway Clubs:

- Shepton & District Model Railway Society

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