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The Somerset & Dorset Railway's Burnham-on-Sea Branch. In October 2008, members of the club's Southern Area explored the S&D's Burnham branch, and Ron Strutt recorded the day for posterity. The following selection starts with a photograph of Cole station, which – while not on the branch – is at least in the same county, i.e. Somerset. The Webmaster realises that the connection is very tenuous, if not totally suspect, but this seemed the best place to house this 'stray' picture!

Above: Who says that summer gets all the best pictures? This is Cole station on the S&D's main line from Bath to Broadstone, seen from a nearby footpath on a crisp and bright day in early 2010. Despite being in Somerset, the station was actually built by the Dorset Central Railway which did not supply a canopy. The 'signal box' on the platform is not authentic and is the owner's conservatory. (Richard Lewis)

 
Above: Very little remains of Glastonbury station, but the canopy has been transported uphill into the town centre, where it now provides shelter in the car park near St. John the Baptist church. On Saturday's, the town market takes place under its eaves. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)
 
Above: To the uninitiated, this grand Victorian edifice near the site of Glastonbury station is the offices of Snows Timber but, to the railway historian, it is the former offices and headquarters building of the Somerset Central Railway. In years gone by, it used to include The Railway Inn, a boon for thirsty travellers, but the railway ceased to use the building as long ago as 1877. The former station was situated to the right but was largely built from timber, a factor which contributed to its early demise. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)
 
Above: West of Glastonbury station, there were extensive sidings alongside the running line, and one of these continued for some distance to give the impression of double track. Today, the casual walker would hardly know that so much railway infrastructure had been here. The trackbed now forms part of a Sustrans cycle trail from Glastonbury to Shapwick, this section being known as the 'Willow Walk'. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)
 
Above: At the end of the Willow Walk, the trackbed crosses the River Brue by the largest grider bridge remaining on a the branch, this being a structure which featured in the BBC documentary, ‘The Friendly Line to Burnham’, presented by John Betjeman before he received his knighthood. The bridge is immediately followed by a level crossing over a minor road, where the keeper's cottage still survives. Back in the 19th century, the railway took over the Glastonbury Canal and used parts of the canal's infrastructure, where possible, to speed up its own construction. The remains of a former aqueduct can be discerned immediately to the north of this bridge, which accounts for the keeper's home being named 'Aqueduct Cottage'. Note Glastonbury Tor, which is just visible in the top right of the picture. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)
 
Above: As the trackbed nears Ashcott, the surface becomes a typical Sustrans cycle trail with a surface of rolled limestone dust, which makes for very easy walking – or cycling. The rhyne that parallels the line to the north of this section is actually the former Glastonbury Canal. The luxuriant greenery here makes it less than obvious that this photograph was taken in the autumn. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)
 
Left: Just north of Ashcott station, the Railway Inn survives although it was closed when we passed by. Locomotive number 3210, seen here in the sign, was a GWR 'interloper' which worked over the branch in the 1960s. The Churchward-style safety valve betrays the fact that this is not a Southern or Midland engine. Note also Glastonbury Tor to the left of the engine's chimney. There is a great picture of 3210 at Highbridge on the Newman family website here – just scroll down or search for '3210'. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)
 
Above: This is Catcott crossing keeper's cottage, situated on a minor lane that crosses the line between Shapwick and Edington Burtle stations. Like the girder bridge over the River Brue (see above), this also featured in the BBC documentary, 'The Friendly Line to Burnham'. Remote railway cottages like this originally had no water supply, so the first train of the day would deliver water in churns, mounted above the buffer beams at the front of the locomotive. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)
 
Above: This rather unprepossessing picture shows what remains of one of the platforms at Edington Burtle station, which was known variously during its life as Edington Road, Edington Junction and, from 1953, Edington Burtle. The appendage 'Junction' was used when the branch line to Bridgwater was operational; it branched off on the left a few yards beyond the platform. This was a very remote outpost on the Somerset Central Railway, where little during the day interrupted the sound of birdsong. The nearby pub is called 'The Tom Mogg' after a long-serving porter and signalman here. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)
 
Above: By now, the light was beginning to fade, but we have included this photograph of the Somerset & Dorset pub in Burnham-on-Sea because it provides a clear indication of where the town's station used to stand – directly opposite, with the entrance roughly where the bed of red flowers is situated. Burnham station was constructed with a through running line that continued on to the jetty illustrated in the picture below. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)
 
Above: This is what remains of the Somerset Central Railway's jetty at Burnham (presumably much lowered), which jutted out into the Bristol Channel and was used originally for offloading coal from boats that had crossed from South Wales. The SCR had visions of this traffic bringing great wealth, and even anticipated extending to a south coast harbour so that a South Wales to France service could be offered. This was one of the motivations for the extension to Cole and the link-up with the Dorset Central Railway. These dreams all seem rather fanciful nowadays, but hindsight is always perfect, and Victorian railway promoters and directors really believed that they could make anything happen. 18 October 2008. (Ron Strutt)