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East Somerset Railway

INFORMATION FOR THE VISITOR

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.

 

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 October (weekends and selected midweek days)

- July and August (Daily)

- 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)

Prices:

Adult Rover: £12. Senior: £11 Child Rover: £10

Time to allow for Visit:

1 hour

Museum:

Yes, small museum at Cranmore

Shop/Cafe:

Yes/Yes

Picnic/Play areas:

Yes

Preservation Established:

1973

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 

Experiences:

- Footplate Experience

- Driver Taster/ DMU Driver Taster                                  

 

Contacts

Email:                                                                 info@eastsomersetrailway.com

Telephone:                                                          01749 880417

Website:                                                             www.eastsomersetrailway.com

Social Media:                                                     www.facebook.com/eastsomersetrailway

                                                                            Also on Twitter and Instagram


INFORMATION FOR THE ENTHUSIAST

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

(2) Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0 – No. 46447

(3) GWR Class 45xx – No. 4555 (on hire)

 

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

 

INFORMATION ON THE SUPPORT GROUP

Name of Support Group:

East Somerset Railway Society

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £20. Senior: £17. Junior: £17. Family: £38. Life: £352

 

Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Three free day rover tickets per year, for use by the member or their friends or family (not valid on Dining or Santa Trains).

-          Otherwise, travel at a concessionary rate

-          Discount (10%) 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 photographs. 

 

How to Join:                                 Go to www.eastsomersetrailway.com/about-us/membership

 

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 www.eastsomersetrailway.com/about-us/volunteering

 

How to Donate:                                    Go to www.eastsomersetrailway.com/donations

 

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

 

INFORMATION ON OTHER SOCIETIES WITH RELATED INTEREST

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

website:

 

Traditional Railway Societies:

- Great Western Railway Society

- Wells Railway Fraternity

 

Model Railway Clubs:

- Shepton & District Model Railway Society

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