West Somerset Railway
The Railway Station
Tel: (+44) 01643 704 996
Postcode for Sat Nav: TA24 5BG
Minehead Station is located close to the sea front and a short walk from the town centre. There is a large public car park adjacent to the station, but note that this is not owned by the West Somerset Railway. Please check your train times and purchase sufficient parking time to complete your return journey.
The main entrance to the station is by the end of the line near the sea front and has easy level access; there is also an entrance from the car park. The booking office is beside the main entrance and leads onto Platform 1 beside the main station building. There is level access to the Buffer Stop Shop, selling a large range of specialist books and DVDs, model railway sets and accessories, a range of West Somerset Railway clothing and souvenirs, postcards, greeting cards and postage stamps. For the younger visitor there is an extensive selection of Thomas and Friends merchandise. The middle part of the building contains railway offices, including the Information Office, beyond which are the toilets including, round the corner, a disabled accessible toilet. Baby changing facilities are available. Platform 1 is a quarter of a mile long and to the right is the shorter Platform 2 – station announcements and platform staff will tell you from which platform your train will depart. Between the two platforms is Readers Halt, a second hand book stall selling railway books and a wide range of general fiction and non-fiction books, pictures and DVDs. The money raised by Readers Halt funds the maintenance of Minehead Station, which is carried out by the Friends of Minehead Station.
Just beyond Platform 2 is the turntable which is used to turn locomotives during special events and galas. It is also demonstrated on selected other days, as shown on the notice beside it. Overlooking the turntable and with level access is the Turntable Café, which offers a selection of hot food, freshly-made sandwiches, cakes, biscuits, confectionery and snacks to eat in or take away. Food is fresh and, where possible, locally sourced. Mugs of tea and filter coffee are available, plus a selection of freshly made speciality coffees and teas.
From the end of the station approach road turn right for the sea front and beach, turn left for the town centre. Information about what to see and do in Minehead is available in the What to See and Do Guide.
Minehead station was opened in 1874 when the original West Somerset Railway was extended from Watchet. The original station was quite small, with a single platform 400ft in length, a small goods shed and yard on the sea side. Facilities were gradually extended as the holiday traffic grew and included the addition of a bay platform, an extension to the station building and the extension of the main platform to its present length in 1933. A signal box, loco shed, turntable and sidings were added in the yard on the town side, now the council car park, and the signal box was replaced and relocated as the station grew. At the far side of the car park is a small brick building which was once the stables for railway horses used for distributing goods to the local area. Latterly it has been used as a boxing club.
As the railway was run down in the 1950s and 1960s the original loco shed, turntable and signal box were removed. The goods shed was closed but fortunately was not demolished and in the preservation era it has been converted and extended to become the West Somerset Railway’s main locomotive shed and workshops. These are not generally open to the public, but there is an excellent view of the locomotive yard from Platform 1. The present Minehead signal box was formerly at Dunster and was moved along the railway to its present position in 1977. A turntable was rescued from Pwllheli, on the Cambrian Coast line in North Wales, and brought in Somerset in 1979, but it was not until 2008 that it was finally installed at Minehead. The present booking office at the front of the building dates from the 1980s and was constructed by volunteers, paid staff and participants in a job creation scheme using internal woodwork and windows from the old booking office at Cardiff Central (formerly General) station.