Railway memorial is right on track

PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 May 2014

A pair of buffers on Burnham's old railway line, which will be commemorated with a new installation on Pier Street.

A pair of buffers on Burnham's old railway line, which will be commemorated with a new installation on Pier Street.

John Strickland

A MEMORIAL to Burnham's railway line was finally given full steam ahead this week as it received planning permission after three years of difficulties.

Burnham's now pulled-up railway, which is to be commemorated with the installation of a buffer at the end of Pier Street.Burnham's now pulled-up railway, which is to be commemorated with the installation of a buffer at the end of Pier Street.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council’s planning committee unanimously supported the plans to install a buffer at the pebbled area between Pier Street and the Esplanade, which should now be able to form the start of the town’s heritage trail, to be launched in August.

The buffers are currently in storage and will require restoring and painting, as well as the ground at Pier Street to be fully prepared, before they can be installed.

The area chosen required permission of three initially unidentified parties before its potential usage could even be confirmed, and various issues have since dogged the project.

Speaking after the meeting, project leader John Strickland said: “It was a very responsive meeting and the councillors were very supportive. It has taken us so long to reach this stage and it has been very demoralising at times.

Burnham train station, behind Abingdon Street, which was closed in 1951 and demolished in the 1960s.Burnham train station, behind Abingdon Street, which was closed in 1951 and demolished in the 1960s.

“It is now about getting them in that location in time for the launch of the Burnham heritage trail.

“We want to get them in by July 1, which may seem a long time away but there is a lot to do.

“As part of the trail, anyone with a smartphone can use a QR code app to find out more about the railway, 
and there will be signage up around. Otherwise there will be a pamphlet available from the Tourist Information Office.”

Mr Strickland said he was confident that the buffers would be installed in time, having secured a builder to do groundwork on the site in preparation for their arrival.

Burnham was served by the Somerset and Dorset Railway throughout the 19th and early 20th century. It was closed to passenger traffic in October 1951, with the main station lying behind Abingdon Street, only a few hundred yards from the site of the new memorial.

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