John Speller's Web Pages East Somerset Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge

East Somerset Railway
The East Somerset Railway was incorporated by an Act of 5 June 1856 to build a 9-mile broad gauge branch from Witham Friary near Frome on the Weymouth line to Shepton Mallet in the County of Somerset. The line was opened on 9 November 1858 and worked by the Great Western Railway. An extension top the City of Wells, where it later connected with the Somerset Central and Cheddar Valley Railways, was authorized in 1859 and opened on 1 March 1862. The line was converted from broad to narrow gauge on 18 to 22 June 1874 and was absorbed into the Great Western Railway on 2 December 1874. Passenger traffic ceased in 1963, but the section of the line between Cranmore and Mendip Vale was purchased by the artist David Shepherd in 1972 and has subsequently been reopened as a Heritage Railway.
Map of the East Somerset Railway excerpted from the Great Western Railway system map
Postcard view of Wanstrow station shortly after it began to be manned on 1 April 1909. Note the longitudinal track still in place
Cranmore station shown on a postcard of around 1914. The locomotive appears to be an early Churchward pannier tank conversion
A bustling Shepton Mallet (High Street) station in a postcard view of 1906
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