Cranmore Station Overview
A large, free, car park is provided and the main Station building houses the Whistlestop Café and Toilets at ground level, with the Ticket Office and Shop at platform level and the Children's Play Area is situated next to the Whistlestop Café patio on ground level.
East Somerset Models is located in a small building on the left side of the car park
(please see www.esmodels.co.uk for opening times).
The Whistlestop Café is only open on running days but the ESR Office and Shop are also open Tuesday – Friday, 10.30am – 3.30pm.
ESR Founder, David Shepherd, and 92203 `Black Prince`.
A Brief History
The passenger line opened here in November 1858, with the last ever passenger train running in December 1963, goods trains ceasing shortly afterwards. Our founder, David Shepherd, first visited the site in 1971 looking for a home for his two steam engines, Black Prince and The Green Knight, and in April 1973 his wife, Avril, cut the first sod for the new locomotive depot. In 1974 the East Somerset Railway opened to the public, with a formal opening and ceremony in front of the Engine Shed in May 1975 by guest of honour, His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. In April 1990, 133 years after work began on construction of ESR, the current Cranmore Station was built 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.
Cranmore Station & Platform
On entering Cranmore Station your first port of call will be the Ticket Office, with traditional booth and authentic ticket stamp machine to set the tone for your nostalgic visit. We pride ourselves on being the Friendly Steam Railway, so if you have any questions or need any help, please ask a member of staff. The platform is accessed through the Ticket Office and we also have our Station Shop for you to browse, which stocks ESR items, gifts, train memorabilia, books and for the kids, Big Jigs railway toys and a selection of other fun toys and gifts.
When stepping onto the platform, as well as looking for the sights and sounds of a wonderful steam engine, there are a few period items that can be found along the platform itself. These include a rare Telephone Box, combined with a Post Box and you can still post your postcards here today! Further along you will see Street Lamps, complete with personalised Cranmore on the glass, which were donated by the City of Hereford.
Credit: Julia Nest,Station House
Halfway 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 built because the original Station Master's house, located on 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 Museum is an iron railing gateway and if you turn left here you can follow the footpath to our the Engine Shed and Workshop and Cranmore West Platform. We are one of very few Steam Railways where you can visit the Engine Shed and get up close, a must for any steam buff or lay person alike! Plus see our latest restoration project in the Workshop.
Credit: David Goulty,Original Station Building and Victorian Gents Toilets
At the far end of the platform is the original East Somerset Railway Station building and dates from the opening of the line in 1858. Today, the building is used as a Waiting Room and houses a small railway Museum.
Beyond you will find a splendid cast iron gents toilets, which is adorned with lion gargoyles and is a nice period feature but please do not use, as it is not in working order!
A footpath across the railway provides access to the Signal Box and Miniature Railway. We ask you to check with a member of staff if it is ok to cross before proceeding. The Signal Box and Miniature Railway are open on specific days only and please see opening times under Your Visit on the Home Page.
Credit: Tom Dalton,
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 end 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 Shepherd 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 David's paintings, however all the paintings were eventually sold to help fund the railway.
The Signal Box is open on specific days for visitors to have a look around. Please see opening times under Your Visit, Signal Box, on the Home Page.
Credit: Julia Nest,
Next to the WHSmith Kiosk is a gateway facing the Tanker Sidings. These two sidings are used to store spare carriages and unloading visiting stock.
The Tanker 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 used by local quarries in the tarmacadam production process. The bitumen traffic was the last freight traffic serviced by the station, ending in 1985.
For many years, David Shepherd's African Engine, Rhodesian Railways 4-8-0 No.390, was mounted on a section of 1 metre gauge track in between the two sidings.
East Somerset Models have a model railway shop based at the ESR. 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.
Please visit http://www.esmodels.co.uk/ for opening times, telephone: 01749 880651, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The East Somerset Models shop is located in a small building on the left of our car park and you do not require a ticket to access it.