(Grid Ref: ST 432 546)
This station, perched high above Axbridge, looks down on the centre of the town from the north. It opened in 1869, as part of the Bristol & Exeter Railway’s broad gauge line from Yatton to Cheddar. The line was extended to Wells in 1870.
The line included the following intermediate stations, in order from Yatton to Wells: Congreshury, Sandford, Winscombe, Axbridge. Cheddar, Draycott, Lodge Hill, and Wookey.
The Bristol & Exeter was taken over by the Great Western in 1876. Two years later the line was connected to the East Somerset line at Wells, providing through trains to Shepton Mallet, and on to Frome on the GWR main line.
Axbridge Station in the late 19th Century looking west. The station buildings on the left still survive, but the platforms, the footbridge and all buildings on the right have gone.
Axbridge Station looking east in the 1950s. The main station building is on the right behind the locomotive. The goods shed end gable can be seen under the footbridge. At this point today, you would be looking along the Axbridge bypass.
Photo © J. Moss
Traffic on the Yatton to Wells section was boosted by the tourist trade to the Cheddar Caves, plus goods in the form of Cheddar Cheese, and in the summer season, strawberries. Axbridge Station was a centre for the strawberry trade, and this traffic became such a major part of the railway, it became known as the Strawberry Line.
Axbridge station comprised one large building, two platforms, a signal box and a goods shed. Both the station building and the shed were constructed from local stone, fitting well with the existing local architecture. The line was closed to passengers in 1963, although the line from Yatton to Cheddar remained open for freight to and from a private siding until 1969.
The track bed at Axbridge, is not a footpath, but has been converted to a bypass, to keep through traffic away from the narrow streets of the town. Vehicles pass right by the station buildings as they zoom along the former line. From the eastern end of the bypass, though, the track is a pathway leading towards Cheddar, and is part of the developing Strawberry Foot & Cycle Path. See thestrawberryline.co.uk (Yatton_to_Cheddar).
46525 with a train from Yatton enters Axbridge.
Probably early 1960s.
© Gerald Peacock
The scene after track lifting had commenced (looking west). The goods shed is on the left,
PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN IN NOVEMBER 2008
© Mike Smith
Main Station Building - platform and track side. The track bed is now covered by the bypass road.
The Yatton-bound platform is under the grass. The Cheddar-bound platform and track bed is under the road.
The station road approach and forecourt.
The goods shed - still pretty much as it was at the time of closure in the 1960s.
History text based on
information contained in the book "Lost Railways of Somerset"
written by Stan Yorke, and published by Countryside Books, 2007.
Some photographs from bristol-rail.co.uk
Created December 2008