Arriving at Cranmore
A large, free car park is provided at the East Somerset Railway. Access to the Whistlestop Cafe, Toilets, Childrens Play Area and the Model Shop are directly from the car park. Access to all the other facilities at the railway are up the stairs and through the Ticket Office, or via a slope situated beside the East Somerset Models shop. We also have Disabled parking and access at platform level next to the Waiting Room and Museum. This can be accessed by driving along the small lane signed no entry (please ignore this sign) to the right of the main entrance.
Entering from the Car Park and heading for Cranmore Station main entrance, there is a small Childrens Play Area and picnic area to your right. There are also some patio tables for the Whistlestop Cafe.
The Main Station Building houses the Whistlestop Cafe and Toilets at ground level with the Ticket Office and Shop at platform level. There are steps from the ground level up to the platform level, with a slope located next to the East Somerset Models Shop to the platform for people unable to manage the stairs. The Whistlestop Café, Toilets and Station Shop are open on all operating days and can be accessed without a ticket.
Freight traffic through the station ended in 1985, so the East Somerset Railway could run our own trains into Cranmore Station but it was obvious that the limited facilities in the old station were not going to be suitable. Therefore, the main station building was built in 1991 using materials recovered from the disused Lodge Hill Station on the Cheddar Valley Line and the goods shed at the original terminus of the East Somerset Railway in Wells. At the same time, the platform was extended as the original platform was considered too short for todays operations.
The stairs from the main entrance, or the slope next to the East Somerset Model Shop give access to Cranmore Station platform, Ticket Office and Station Shop. The platform is accessed through the Ticket Office and out of the middle door of the Station. Our Station Shop stocks East Somerset Railway items, gifts, books, dvds, train memorabilia and for the kids, Big Jigs railway toys, Thomas items and a selection of other fun toys and gifts.
A few period items can be found along the platform. We have a rare Telephone Box which is combined with a Post Box, which you can still use to post your wish you were here postcards on your visit. It came from Bristol City Centre and was sold by the GPO for the sum of £10. Along the platform you will see Street Lamps, complete with personalised Cranmore on the glass, which were donated by the City of Hereford.
Station House and other buildings
Further along the platform is the Station House, which was built in 1973 for the use of the Station Master and later the General Manager. The house was needed because the original Station Masters house, which is the other side of the lane to the station buildings, had been sold by British Rail when the line closed to passenger traffic. Today, the house is a private residence.
Next to the Station House is a WH Smith kiosk rescued from Salisbury station.
Between the WHSmith kiosk and the Waiting Room and Museum is a gateway and if you turn left you can follow the footpath down our Engine Shed and Workshop and the Cranmore West platform. We are one of very few Steam Railways where you can visit the Engine Shed and get up close to the engines and also see our latest restoration project in the Workshop.
Museum and Waiting Room
At the far end of the platform is the original East Somerset Railway station building and so dates from the opening of the line in 1858. Today, the building is used as a waiting room and houses a small railway museum.
At the end of the platform you will find a splendid cast iron gents toilets, which is adorned with lion gargoyles and is a nice period feature.
A footpath across the railway provides access to the Signal Box and Miniature Railway, which are open on specific days. Please see opening times for each under Your Visit on the Home Page.
The Signal Box was built in 1904 to a GWR type 7B design as part of the station expansion programme following the increase in local quarry traffic. This brick Signal Box replaced an earlier, stone building on the station platform. After the loss of passenger traffic and the general reduction in freight traffic, the signal box was closed on 19th May 1968 and the branch reverted to one engine in steam operation, with points in Cranmore being operated by ground frames.
When David Sheperd and friends arrived in 1972, the purchase included the Station and Signal Box, even though BR still used the branch for bitumen traffic. For a time the upper floor of the Signal Box was converted into an Art Gallery for Davids paintings.
The Signal Box is open on specific days for visitors to have a look around. Please see opening times under Your Visit on the Home Page.
East Somerset Models run a model railway shop, where they stock a wide range of model railway items in 'OO', 'HO' and 'N' gauges. All the major manufacturers are stocked and many other items can be ordered.
The Model Shop is open on all operating days, or can be contacted on 01749 880651 and at their website http://www.esmodels.co.uk/. Access to the Model Shop does not require the purchase of a ticket.
Next to the WHSmith kiosk is a footpath to Cranmore West Platform and the Engine Shed and to the Tanker Sidings. These two sidings are used to store spare carriages and unloading visiting stock.
These sidings were added in 1904 as part of the station expansion work which was undertaken due to the increase in local quarry traffic. In later years, the sidings were used for Bitumen traffic from tankers (hence the name), which was use by local quarrys in the tarmacadam production process. The bitumen traffic was the last freight traffic serviced by the station, ending in 1985.
For many years, David Shepherds African Engine, Rhodesian Railways 4-8-0 No.390, was mounted on a section of 1 metre gauge track in between the two sidings.