A new replica railway signal box celebrating Burnham-On-Sea’s rail heritage has been formally uneviled.
The new wooden signal box has been installed in Old Station Approach at the same spot where Burnham-On-Sea’s railway station was once located.
The opening of the new building took place on Saturday (8th September), led by Rev Richard Allen from St Andrew’s Church and Ann Popham of Burnham’s Railway Heritage Group, alongside the Mayor, Mayoress and 30 residents.
A ribbon was cut to mark the opening by a former member of the railway staff who worked at Highbridge’s railway station signal box.
The Mayor said: “This signal box is a wonderful addition to the town’s railway memorabilia – and I congratulate Ann and the team for introducing it.”
“It will be there for future generations to learn about Burnham’s railway history and will hopefully bring more visitors into the town.”
The keys were handed over to Burnham and Highbridge’s Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Bill Hancock and Frances Hancock, by the Railway Heritage Group, as pictured below.
The date of the unveiling was scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of Burnham’s summer railway excursions ending on 8th September 1962.
The new railway signal box, which has been funded by fundraising and a National Lottery grant, is available to hire for community groups and local charities.
Inside the building, the Mayor and Mayoress were the first to sign the visitors book and browse over the railway history material and visitor information.
In recent years, other railway items installed in Burnham include a set of railway buffers, a station name board, a signal, information board, and a rail-themed weather vane.
“It’s hoped that the new signal box will be used as a pop-up shop selling charity or community group items such as tombola tickets, theatre tickets, programmes, flags, poppy wreaths, wood turning items, cards, crafts, paintings, portraits, books and games,” said a spokesperson. Those interested should contact Burnham and Highbridge Town Council on 01278 788088.
The railway station in Burnham’s Pier Street was opened on 3rd May 1858 with the name ‘Burnham’ and it was not until 12th July 1920 that the suffix ‘on-Sea’ was added.
The station closed to regular passenger traffic in October 1951, although summer excursions continued until 8th September 1962.