Train project back on the rails at last
PUBLISHED: 11:00 25 July 2015
AFTER six years of struggles, a memorial to Burnham’s long-destroyed railway station has finally been unveiled in the town centre.
Back in 2009, discussions began between BAE Systems and North Sedgemoor Local History Group over the possibility of creating a monument to remember the town’s old train station, which sat near the corner of Pier Street and last opened its doors in May 1963.
Last week, a pair of buffers donated by Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) Bridgwater were installed within metres of the station’s original buffer stop on the edge of what is now Morrisons’ car park.
History group chairman and project leader John Strickland told the Mercury: “I’m delighted we are over the line, it has been a real struggle and taken such a long time to get all the necessary legal decisions sorted.
“The thing which has kept it going has been the enthusiasm of all the local residents and ex-employees of Royal Ordnance.
“Seeing it there finished reminds me of my childhood, I have lived here all my life and immediately get a flashback to the Somerset and Dorset train coming in.”
The buffers have already been labelled with a plaque from the town’s heritage trail, with organisers previously hoping to have the buffers in place for its launch last August.
Mr Strickland added: “It finally means the trail is complete and the public reaction has been excellent.
“Even when we were lowering them in last Wednesday and took down the main barrier for the area, straight away there were people coming in and taking photographs of it.
“To be honest, the interest has been unbelievable.”
The project has come together on a shoe-string budget, with legal fees far eclipsing that spent on the buffers themselves, with a number of local people and businesses donating time, expertise or financial support to it.
Mr Strickland said: “Everything bar a can of paint and the planning application was kindly donated to us for free, and without that the project would definitely never have got off the ground.
“The assistance we have had from businesses and local people has been absolutely amazing, and with all the leases we had to sort out for the land, I’m delighted we have finally got everything over the line.”