Highbridge and Burnham railway station

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Highbridge & Burnham National Rail
Highbridge & Burnham
Location
Place Highbridge
Local authority Sedgemoor, Somerset
Coordinates 51°13′06″N 2°58′19″W / 51.2184°N 2.9719°W / 51.2184; -2.9719Coordinates: 51°13′06″N 2°58′19″W / 51.2184°N 2.9719°W / 51.2184; -2.9719
Grid reference ST322470
Operations
Station code HIG
Managed by First Great Western
Number of platforms 2
Live arrivals/departures and station information
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03   91,010
2004/05 Increase 0.107 million
2005/06 Increase 0.117 million
2006/07 Increase 0.120 million
2007/08 Increase 0.144 million
2008/09 Increase 0.145 million
2009/10 Increase 0.148 million
2010/11 Increase 0.157 million
2011/12 Increase 0.167 million
History
Original company Bristol and Exeter Railway
Pre-grouping Great Western Railway
Post-grouping Great Western Railway
1841 Main line opened
1854 Branch opened
1962 Renamed 'Highbridge
& Burnham-on-Sea'
1966 Branch closed
1974 Renamed 'Highbridge'
1991 Renamed 'Higbridge & Burnham'
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Highbridge & Burnham from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Portal icon UK Railways portal

Highbridge and Burnham railway station is situated on the Bristol to Taunton Line in the town of Highbridge in Somerset, England and also serves neighbouring Burnham-on-Sea. It is unstaffed but managed by First Great Western who operate all the regular services.

Until 1966 the station was also used by trains on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway line which crossed the main line on the level at the north end of the platforms.

History[edit]

Somerset & Dorset platform in 1962

The station was opened as 'Highbridge' on 14 June 1841 when the Bristol and Exeter Railway opened its broad gauge line as far as Bridgwater. A road crossed the line at the north end of the platforms, and a goods shed was provided beyond this on the west side of the line. This company was amalgamated with the Great Western Railway on 1 January 1876.

On 28 August 1854 the Somerset Central Railway was opened from Highbridge to Glastonbury. This later became the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway, but it was worked by the Bristol and Exeter company and was also broad gauge for the first few years and a connection was provided between the two railways in the goods yard. A separate set of platforms were provided on this line which eventually had two terminus platforms and two platforms on a through line that led on to an extension to Burnham-on-Sea. To reach this the line crossed the Bristol & Exeter main line on the level just north of the road bridge. The Somerset & Dorset goods traffic was mainly handled at Highbridge Wharf which was on the Burnham-on-Sea branch.

Highbridge was not only an important station on the Somerset & Dorset: it was also the site of the company's locomotive works, which closed in 1930, and a small engine shed that remained open until the line and station finally shut in 1966.

Following the nationalisation of the railways, the Somerset & Dorset line platforms were shown in timetables from 26 September 1949 as 'Highbridge East', and the Bristol & Exeter line platforms were known as 'Highbridge West' from 5 May 1950. Regular through trains to Burnham ceased on 29 October 1951, though the line remained open for occasional summer special trains until 8 September 1962. Following this closure the station became 'Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea' on 30 June 1962.

The remaining Somerset & Dorset line passenger services to Evercreech Junction were withdrawn on 7 March 1966 which left just the main line platforms, as had been the case before 1854. Milk trains continued to run on the Somerset & Dorset line as far as Bason Bridge and a new connection from the southbound main line was installed 4 April 1971 but the trains were withdrawn and the line closed on 2 October 1972; goods traffic at Highbridge itself had ceased on 2 November 1964.

On 6 May 1974 the 'and Burnham-on-Sea' was dropped and the station reverted to its original name of 'Highbridge', but became 'Highbridge and Burnham' on 17 May 1991.

The 1950s concrete footbridge which had connected the Bristol to Exeter platforms with the Somerset and Dorset platforms was truncated when the S&D closed in 1966. It was replaced by a steel bridge in 2013 after being declared unsafe.[1]

Preceding station Historical railways Following station
Brent Knoll   Great Western Railway
Former Bristol and Exeter Railway
  Dunball
Bason Bridge   Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway
LSWR & Midland Railways
  Burnham-on-Sea

Description[edit]

Looking southwards
Highbridge railway station
To Bristol
Site of goods depot
To Burnham-on-Sea
Highbridge
To Evercreech Junction
To Taunton

The original buildings have all been demolished. No trace of the engine shed or works remains. A couple of old wagon wheels sit on a short length of track on a plinth as a reminder of Highbridge's railway past. The last remaining piece of historic infrastructure was the 1950s replacement footbridge, which had been truncated following the closure of the Somerset & Dorset platforms, giving it a splayed-out access route from the eastern platform No.1. It remained in place until 1 December 2013, when due to concrete cancer it was replaced by a new metal structure by Network Rail contractors.[2]

The main entrance to the station is on the town (western) side of the line and this gives access to Bristol-bound platform. The Taunton-bound platform can be reached by the footbridge, or through the housing estate that occupies the site of the former Somerset & Dorset platforms. Both main line platforms extend south across the tidal River Brue.

A loop on the west side of the line south of the station can be used by goods trains in either direction, southbound trains crossing over to run wrong line through the northbound platform to do so. This crossing also allows terminating passenger trains from the north to reverse here if required.

Services[edit]

A Class 158 calls at the southbound platform.

The station and all train services are operated by First Great Western. The basic service pattern comprises one train in each direction each hour between Cardiff Central and Taunton. A few peak period services to and from London Paddington also call.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Weston-super-Mare   First Great Western
Bristol to Taunton Line
  Bridgwater

Local transport[edit]

The main station is located to the eastern side of Highbridge town centre, a short .25 miles (0.40 km) flat walk past The Co-operative Food supermarket to the A38 road. A further 2 miles (3.2 km)[3] walk or cycle westwards along the flat path way of the former S&D route takes the traveller into Burnham-on-Sea.

References[edit]

  • Cooke, RA (1979). Track Layout Diagrams of the GWR and BR WR, Section 16: West Somerset. Harwell: RA Cooke. 
  • Daniels, Gerald; Dench, LA (1974). Passengers No More. Ian Allan. 
  • Oakley, Mike (2006). Somerset Railway Stations. Bristol: Redcliffe Press. ISBN 1-904537-54-5. 

External links[edit]