John Speller's Web Pages Taunton 1868 (B&ER)

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge - B&ER

Taunton Station 1868
The first image is a faked impression of Francis Fox's trainshed at Taunton, built 1868, in mixed gauge days. (Actually, it is a view of the station in narrow gauge days with a broad gauge train superimposed.) A B&E 4-4-0ST stands at the down platform with a passenger train, perhaps the Chard local. The trainshed was demolished in 1931, and the footbridge was replaced by a subway, but the scars of the footbridge can still be seen on the brickwork of the down station building.

Brunel, the B&ER's first Chief Civil Engineer, felt obliged to resign over conflict of interest after the GWR and B&ER found themselves in opposition to each other over the proposed Exeter Direct Railway of 1844. At Brunel's own suggestion he was replaced by Sir Charles Hutton Gregory, best known as the inventor of the semaphore signal. Gregory was in turn succeeded by J. J. Macdonnell, who made some interesting innovations in track design. The last Chief Civil Engineer of the B&ER, appointed in 1854 was Francis Edward Fox (1818-1914), who had begun his career in Cornwall with Edwin Tregelles in 1835 and was later one of Brunel's assistants during the building of the South Wales Railway. Fox was responsible for many fine station designs including Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton, Exeter St. David's, Weston-super-Mare, Torquay, Teignmouth, all the stations on the Devon & Somerset Railway between Taunton & Barnstaple, and all those on the Exe Valley line between Exeter and Morebath Junction. Some of these projects were carried out after the B&ER amalgamated with the GWR in 1876. He also deserves credit for being one of the chief proponents of the Absolute Block signaling system.
Faked view of Francis Fox's Taunton Station of 1868 with a passenger train at the Down platform behind a B&E 4-4-0ST. To enlarge right click and select "view image"
East end of the station c. 1890. A "Hawthorn" stands with the Chard train on the right. Note the branch-line starter signal and the spire of St. Andrew's Church (1881) above it. The Vicar was Sir Nigel Gresley's uncle.
"Rover" Class 4-2-2 "Dragon" at the west end of Taunton Station with the last down "Cornishman," 20 May 1892. Note the elaborate barge-boards on the down platform canopy, typical of the Bristol & Exeter Railway. The original two-road Engine Shed of 1842 is visible behind the llocomotive
The 1868 Taunton Station bridge over the Kingston Road. Note the similarity of the iron lattice construction to Francis Fox's viaducts at Castle Hill and Venn Cross on the Barnstaple Branch
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