Month: January 2021

FOSS memberships now due

2020 was a very different time on the railway and not one that we would like to see repeated.

FOSS members continue to support the station and we have used the shut down to do several much needed jobs on the railway so that we can reopen as soon as it is safe to do so and we very much look forward to seeing you all again soon at our wonderful station.

  • The cattle dock work has continued and looks impressive.
  • Further work was completed in the garden including a new covered bench table as well as a new table.
  • The vegetable garden at the end of the station has been cleared with a new path added, a work areas and compost bins.  Ahhh, the good life!
  • We have also completed various projects needed to keep the station in good order such as painting the waiting room etc.
  • The line was weeded by hand.
  • A new historic running-in board has been mounted in the waiting room and there is some more information and photos about this later on.
  • New running-in boards and notice boards have been fitted.

As you will all be aware, the railway has had a very difficult time financially and following the changes to our constitution, we were able to make a donation to the PLC following their appeal to ensure their viability, without which Stogumber Station could not operate.

This, together with the lack of running days this year has put us in a very precarious position although a couple of very generous donations have enabled us to continue with our restoration work.  However, the longer the railway is closed, the more unlikely it is that we can recoup  the losses that  have been made.  We still have quite a bit of expenditure to meet before we can open including restocking the café as we could not just carry the stock throughout the year because of the sell-by-dates. We also have to ensure that the station is Covid safe before we can open.

This year more than most, we are reliant on your membership to ensure we can reopen.

For the full letter, details on how you can join FOSS and the minutes of the AGM please send a request to info.stogumberstation@gmail.com .

Nameboard letters

We are pleased to produce Robin’s report in full.

The stations along the Minehead branch originally had Bristol and Exeter Railway style single-piece cast iron station signs as still exist at Dunster and Williton but from the 1890’s these were progressively replaced with Great Western Railway’s ‘house style’ of metal letters screwed onto a wooden backing board.  This was a very flexible system as it allowed any station name or notice to be created and easily repainted.  Letters came in a variety of pre-cast sizes from 2inch high up to 12 inches for the largest signs.  They are in a distinct style or ‘font’.  In GWR days the letters were white painted against a black background.  When the painters came round after British Railways (Western Region) took over, the livery changed to chocolate and cream.

Stogumber’s distinct and clear nameboard can be seen in the photo of a family group waiting for a train in the first photo from the Tony Harden collection.  Its date is uncertain but it must be before May 1964 when Leigh Loop signal box closed.

When closure came in 1971 the letters were removed from the board by unknown hands but they didn’t go far!

In 2019 Station Master Bob Preston was approached by a local couple who had found some metal letters, spelling S-T-O-G-U-M-B-E-R in an outbuilding of the house in the village they had bought and thought they might be ‘railway’.

Indeed they were!  And after a period of discussion, the station was very pleased to accept them as a donation.  RAMS  stepped in to assist and produced a replica of the backboard and the letters were restored to place, care being taken not to remove their (at least) 50-year old cream paint.

As an historical artefact, they have not been left out in all weathers but have been give a protected place in Stogumber’s waiting room with a notice telling their story.  Perhaps, as the Railway comes back to life in 2021, readers might like to stop off at Stogumber to view the letters as well as indulging in one of the station’s now-famous cream teas.

Robin White

letters now back at the station :

In the waiting room – photograph courtesy of Robin White
How they use to look – photograph courtesy of the Tony Harden Collection