Description of the line

Wells Branch

Glastonbury to Wells - Single Line

The line is 'up' to Glastonbury

Before the Bruton (Cole) extension was built, the Wells branch was for three years, from 1859 to 1862, the eastern arm of the Somerset Central line from Highbridge. Where the Bruton line swung south eastwards towards West Pennard, the Wells line carried straight on across the moor towards Wells, whose cathedral towers were visible against the background of the Mendip ridge. The two lines diverged at Wells Branch Junction until the 2nd of December 1878, when the signalbox and junction were removed and a second track was laid from Glastonbury.

The gradients were negligible for the first three miles towards Polsham, where there was a level crossing controlled from the station house. It is hard to see why a station was provided for the scattered hamlet of Polsham rather than for the much larger village of Coxley where there was a manned crossing. Beyond Coxley the line climbed for a mile at 1 in 106 before curving to the east to reach the terminus at Wells.

Just before the junction with the Cheddar Valley line there was the Somerset & Dorset signalbox, the branch being worked as a single block section five and a half miles long. On the up side was the small two road engine shed and a pumping house containing a waterwheel erected in 1861. The fine stone built goods shed was reached by crossing the G.W.R. tracks on the level.

The passenger station was also an imposing building, appropriate enough for a cathedral city, though being a shed type structure with only a single platform on the down side nearest the town, it was a rather gloomy place.


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