Two Burnham-On-Sea history enthusiasts have this week launched a project to return a piece of the town’s railway heritage to the seafront.
John Strickland and Terry Temlett, pictured, are planning to restore an old railway buffer stop – identical to one that used to be located in Burnham’s Pier Street until the 1960s – and get it located on an area of stones outside the Reed’s Arms as a reminder of the town’s rich railway history.
The launch of the project comes after an offer was made to Burnham and Highbridge Town Council of a buffer stop that is currently based at the former Royal Ordnance Factory near Woolavington.
John told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “There is nothing left in the form of a lasting memorial to this part of the town’s heritage. Indeed, you are a ‘local’ and know where to look, there is nothing left of the former railway to see.”
“The Town Council is very keen to install this railway artifact, which is almost identical to the one that used to be at the locomotive head shunt near the jetty.”
He added: “We want to place it in a prominent position, near to the former station, as a lasting and fitting memorial. We already have had a meeting with the County Council’s Highways department and they were supportive about the plan as well, though we will need to get formal authority.”
“We would also very much like to get it installed and unveiled on Saturday September 8th, 2012 – which is the 50th anniversary of the day and date of the last passenger train in Burnham. It would be do fitting if the official unveiling of the buffer stop memorial could happen on this day.”
“If this belated chance to form a lasting reminder of the town’s railway is to be realised, some financial and material help will be very much needed.”
“The buffer stop has been donated free of charge, but it needs to be moved, cleaned, installed and painted.”
John appealed: “If this project brings back happy memories of days gone by, perhaps readers of Burnham-On-Sea.com will be stirred to offer some much needed help and encouragement.”
“Required first of all is someone, or a company, who has the equipment to break-out a length of concrete which is holding one side of the buffer stop and preventing its removal.”
“Our second requirement will be to lift and transport the buffer stop, either to the final site, or to somewhere to be cleaned and painted. It weighs about two tons but could be split in two parts for moving.”
“The third requirement will be for piece of timber to replace the rotting buffer beam, and our fourth need is for cleaning and painting materials. Finally, at some point, some willing muscle will be required!”
Financial donations will also be gratefully received towards the project and a dedicated project bank account has been set up at HSBC, The Buffer Stop Memorial Project, account number 11301578, sort code 40-13-32.
For further details about the project and how to help, contact John on 01278 788680 or Terry on 01934 512943.
Pictured: (From Top) John and Terry holding the plans at the location where the buffers will be sited; How the original buffers looked outside the Queen’s Hotel (now the Reed’s Arms); A view of the railway track stretching along Pier Street; The buffers in Woolavington that have been donated to the Town Council; and, how Burnham Railway Station looked in the 1960s (with the lifeboat station and TA8s cafe on the right)