West Somerset Railway
The Railway Station
Tel: (+44) 01643 704 996
Bishops Lydeard Station is the southern terminus of the West Somerset Railway and is located just off the A358 on the western edge of the village adjacent to the Broad Gauge Industrial Park, five miles from Taunton and seven miles from the M5 Motorway (Junction 25). There is a large free car park for vehicles under 2.1 metres in height. There are separate disabled car parking spaces and coach parking. Toilets are available, with disabled facilities and baby changing rooms.
The station entrance is from the car park side near the signal box, with ramp access onto Platform 2, from which most trains depart. Tickets for your West Somerset Railway train are available from the booking office by the entrance. Also on Platform 2 are the station shop, selling a wide range of model railway equipment, books and other souvenirs, the Whistle Stop Café, and a waiting room containing a large selection of second hand books for sale plus a range of information leaflets. Platform 1 is reached via a foot crossing which gives level access. The crossing is closed with barriers when a train is due to arrive or depart and during shunting movements. At these times it is possible cross the line by using steps up to the road bridge but take care and watch for traffic since this road gets busy at times. The main building is used as offices and the Gauge Museum occupies the former good shed. Accessed from Platform 1, it contains many items of interest telling the story of railways and their social and economic impact. Exhibits include a restored GWR sleeping car, a small replica signal box and Gauge Junction, a working model railway operated by young volunteers. Between the museum and the station building is the clubroom of the Taunton Model Railway Group, which contains a large working layout that is open the public for a small charge on certain days, as shown on the group’s website.
In the Broad Gauge Industrial Park close to the station is the Quantock Brewery with a shop where its craft beers can be bought. Bishops Lydeard village is walk of about 10 minutes from the station reached by an underpass below the A358. More information about what is available in the village is available in the What to See and Do Guide.
The station was opened with the original branch to Watchet in 1862 and had a single platform, the present Platform 1, with a stone building, a siding to the brick goods shed, and the Station Master’s House. A goods loop was added in the 1880s and then in 1906 this was upgraded for passenger trains, Platform 2 was built, and the signal box was installed. With increasing traffic in the 1930s the track from Bishops Lydeard to the main line junction was doubled. However, it remained a quiet wayside station and local traffic was never heavy. In the 1960s it was gradually run down, with goods traffic ceasing in 1964 and staff withdrawn in 1970 just before closure. Fortunately, most of the buildings survived to be restored and used by the railway that you see today, but the large wooden building on Platform 2 has been added to accommodate the WSR booking office, shop and café.