Highbridge

Station opened - 28th August 1854

Renaming -

Highbridge for Burnham-on-Sea - 1951

Station closed to goods - 2nd November 1964
Station closed to passengers - 7th March 1966

Grid Ref: 182 ST 323469

Highbridge station first opened to passengers in August 1854 as part of the Highbridge to Glastonbury section of the Somerset Central Railway, being worked by the Bristol and Exeter Railway until being absorbed into the S&D in February 1862.

The station was built adjacent to the existing G.W.R. station on the Bristol to Taunton main line and consisted of five platforms, although two of these were either side of one line. Trains to and from Highbridge Wharf and Burnham-on-Sea had to cross the main G.W.R. Bristol line at the Northern end of the station. This flat crossing over the G.W.R. main line was originally controlled by 'Highbridge A' signal box which was at the Northern end of the through platforms. This was closed in 1914 and was later converted into a staff room. The crossing was then controlled by 'Highbridge West' G.W.R. box. The station area was controlled by 'Loco Box' signal box, a 25 lever box situated at the Southern end of the station. This box also controlled access in to the carriage sidings as well as the locomotive depot and works. The road crossing into the G.W.R. goods yard and access into the S&D goods sidings just to the North of the G.W.R. main line crossing was controlled by the 12 lever 'Highbridge B' box. A short distance North of this box was 'Highbridge C' signal box. This 19 lever box controlled the busy A38 road crossing and access into Highbridge Wharf sidings.

Highbridge Junction - Feb 1964
View showing the S&D line crossing the GWR west
of England main line - Looking towards Burnham.

In 1948 after nationalisation all the S&D signal boxes were re-named as follows:

'Highbridge C' became 'Highbridge East A' Closed on 16th May 1965
'Highbridge B' became 'Highbridge East B' Closed on 16th May 1965
'Loco Box' became 'Highbridge East C'

The G.W.R. 'Highbridge West' box was closed on the 20th March 1972.

Highbridge Station Plan

Plan of Highbridge Station area in 1921
showing the location of the GWR line and station

Highbridge Works

Grid Ref: 182 ST 324469

The erecting shop at Highbridge WorksThe works were originally designed and built by the Somerset Central Railway, with numerous additions being built over the following years. These were the headquarters for the repair and maintenance of locomotives and rolling stock for the whole of the Somerset and Dorset railway.

Consisting of many buildings including erecting, boiler, machine, painting and smiths shops, along with stores, offices and a sawmill. All the gas required for the works and station was produced from the railway's own gas works situated within the station area.
Just one locomotive was built here, number 25A (0-4-2T) in 1885, being re-built in 1897, along with two others, which were technically rebuilds as they used many parts from older locomotives in their construction. These were numbers 26A & 45A (0-4-0T) built in 1895. All three loco's having saddle tanks and outside cylinders.

S&D coaching stock was also built at Highbridge between 1862 and 1913.
(See my Coaching Stock Page for more information)

Following various other cutbacks by the S&D the works were closed in 1930 with the loss of about 300 jobs.

For more information on S&D loco's,
see my S&D locomotive page

For more information on S&D Rolling Stock,
see my S&D Rolling Stock page

View of Highbridge Works  around 1895.
View of Highbridge Works  around 1895.

 

Highbridge Shed

Grid Ref: 182 ST 324470

This was situated in the northern part of the works adjacent to the main line, next door to the paint shop. There was a two road engine shed, along with the usual coal and water facilities.

Highbridge Wharf

Grid Ref: 182 ST 314473

The wharf was at the Western end of the Glastonbury Canal, which was opened in 1833 and was purchased by the Bristol & Exeter railway in 1848 for the grand sum of £7,000. The various sidings and buildings etc. were on the Southern side of the line to Burnham-on-Sea, the entrance to the sidings being controlled by the previously mentioned 'Highbridge C' signal box (Later re-named 'Highbridge East A' in 1948). These sidings also served timber yards, sawmills, two brickworks and a fuel company. This is where the S&D shipping fleet operated from, until 1933 when the last ship was sold. Most of the shipping was used for the transportation of goods between South Wales and Highbridge for onward transportation by rail. Goods included steel rail for use by the S&D and L&SWR, timber and also agricultural and dairy goods from various Somerset and Dorset locations along the S&D lines. Non railway owned ships carried on using the wharf until it was closed on the 2nd of November 1964. The wharf sidings were finally closed on May the 16th 1965.

 

View of Highbridge Wharf - March 1932
View of the wharf sidings, looking east. March 23rd 1932.

For more information on the S&D shipping fleet, see my S&D Shipping Page

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Copyright © Kevin Clapcott
Most recent revision Friday August 10, 2007