Cranmore Station

Map of Cranmore station area -

Map of Cranmore

Further pictures of Cranmore Station can be found in the Photo Gallery.


Arriving at Cranmore

The large free car park at Cranmore station.
The large free car park at Cranmore station.
Credit: Jim Cobb, 30/06/2001

A large, free car park is provided at the East Somerset Railway. Access to the Restaurant, 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 ramp for pushchairs and wheelchaires).


Station Entrance

Main Station building from the Car Park.
Main Station building from the Car Park.
Credit: Jim Cobb, 30/06/2001

Entering from the car park and heading for the main entrance, there is a small childrens play area and picnic area. There are also some outside tables for the restaurant.

The Main Station Building houses the Whistlestop Cafe and Toilets at ground level with the Ticket Office, Shop and Art Gallery at platform level. There are steps from the ground level up to the platform level, with a ramp from the car park to the platform for people unable to handle the stairs. The Cafe and Toilets are open on all operating days and can be accessed without a ticket.

With the end of freight traffic in 1985, the ESR was able to runs trains into Cranmore station, but it was obvious that the limited facilities in the station were not going to be good enough for the railway. 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.

 


Station Platform

Cranmore station platform
Cranmore station platform
Credit: Jim Cobb, 30/06/2001

The stairs from the main entrance (or the access ramp for wheelchairs and pushchairs) give access to the station platform and platform level of the main station building, which houses the ticket office, railway shop and the Art Gallery. The main access to the platform is through the ticket office and out of the shop. During the summer months, large hanging flower baskets give a colourful feel to the station platform.

A few period items can also be found along the platform. The period street lamps were donated by the City of Hereford and there is a rare combined postbox and telephone box which came from Bristol City Centre, sold by the GPO for the sum of £10.


Station House and other buildings

The station masters house and WHSmith kiosk.
The station masters house and WHSmith kiosk.
Credit: Jim Cobb, 11/08/2005

In the centre of the platform, there are a group of buildings added since the ESR took over Cranmore station. Starting from the Main building end, there are some ladies toilets which were quickly added when the ESR returned to Cranmore station as there were no under-cover toilet facilities. Part of the sale of the station included the splendid cast iron gents toilets next to the waiting room, but whilst they were a nice period feature, they were not totally practical.

Next 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 BR when the line closed to passenger traffic. Today, the house is used as holiday accomodation.

Next to the Station House is a WH Smith bookstall rescued from Salisbury station, now used for the sale of old magazines. Between the bookstall and the waiting room, is the footpath down the Motive Power Depot and Cranmore West platform.


Museum and Waiting Room

The waiting room & museum.
The waiting room & museum.
Credit: Jim Cobb, 25/07/2001

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 the movement supervisors office, a waiting room and as a railway museum. During the colder times of the year, a coal fire is lit in the waiting room, making it a very inviting place to wait for the next departure.

A footpath across the railway provides access to Signal Box, which is sometimes open for viewing, depending on operational needs.


Signal Box

The Signal Box.
The Signal Box.
Credit: Jim Cobb, 30/06/2001

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 box replaced an earlier, stone-built building on the station platform, which is why this is a brick building instead of the normal stone buildings. 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. The upper floor of the Signal box was converted into an Art Gallery for David's paintings and the lower floor initially used for storage, but later was converted into the railway museum. In 2000, the Cranmore Signalling restoration project was started, and so the museum was moved into the original station building as the Art Gallery had already been moved out into the main station building. See the Cranmore Signalling project page for details of the work being done to the Signal Box.


Model Shop

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.


Tanker Sidings

Tanker Sidings
Tanker Sidings
Credit: Jim Cobb, 11/08/2005

Next to the ex-WHSmith magazine 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, are used for unloading visiting stock and during gala days, are used for running brake van rides. In the Tanker Sidings, the old Cattle Dock (now without its fencing) is used as a platform for brake van rides etc.

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.