Photo By D J Norton


I suspect my father's interest in Highbridge was based around the fact that the Midland Railway had an involvement in the Somerset and Dorset Joint Line from way back in 1875.  This is a line than seems to have a lot of interest today and there are two websites that may be of interest - The Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust and The Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust.  Whether these organisations are working for the same aims or not is not that clear!

For a history of the line I recommend The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway site.  There is an excellent page about Highbridge here.

Highbridge (G.W.) Stn - 23/5/63

Highbridge GWR Station 1963
Of course, there was more that just the S&DJR station at Highbridge as this picture of the old GWR station shows.  The bridge seen to the left was where my father took the picture immediately below.

Dave pointed out the small signal to the centre of the picture and said that it, "is the GWR Backing signal, used for shunting wrong line to authorise the driver to proceed to the next signal but not beyond."

N. End of Highbridge GW Stn - 23/5/63

N End Highbridge GWR Station 1963
For this wonderful colour view, my father is now stood besides the GWR station seen in the picture above and is looking north.  Under the bridge is what appears to be a goods shed.  The office outside the shed has a sign saying, "G W R Goods Office".

Highbridge Crossing - 23/5/63

Highbridge Crossing 1963
I guess this is what Highbridge was most famous for - the crossing of the S&DJR line over the ex-GWR line to Bristol.  This view is looking towards Bristol and shows the S&DJR line passing under the road bridge from bottom right to top left.

Highbridge Crossing - 23/5/63

Highbridge Crossing 1963
An excellent view of the crossing looking towards Burnham-on-Sea.

E End of Highbridge (S&D) Stn - 23/5/63

East end of Highbridge (S&D) Station 1963
This eastern looking view shows the S&DJR line heading off to Glastonbury.

E End of Highbridge SDJ Stn - 23/5/63

East end of Highbridge (S&D) Station 1963
A similar view to that above but taken from further down the platform, closer to the site of the crossing.

SDJ Building Highbridge Stn - 23/5/63

S&DJ Building, Highbridge Station 1963
Having walked to stand adjacent to the signal seen on the right of the picture above, my father has turned about 150 degrees to his left to take this picture of the 1854 S&DJR station building.

SDJR Notices, Burnham Branch, Highbridge - 23/5/63

S&DJR notices Highbridge Station 1963
My father always had an eye for railway signs and these probably were of interest due to the way references to the S&DJR had either been 'removed' (i.e. painted white!) or adapted.  The date on the sign on the right is August 5th 1903.

Home Signal, Burnham Branch, Highbridge - 23/5/63

Home signal, Burnham branch, Highbridge 1963
I asked about the signal with the large S and Dave got in touch with the following information:
"The S arm was subsequently used mounted separately lower down the post on a standard 'home' signal as a 'shunt ahead' signal. If down (clear) it meant 'you can pass the above 'home' signal at danger but only for shunting purposes'. Several companies appear to have adopted variations on this S marked arm for this purpose".

Dave recommended the Railway Signs and Signals of Great Britain and The Signal Box sites.

Chas Burrell 2877 Highbridge - 23/5/63

Chas Burrell traction engine, Highbridge 1963
OK, nothing to do with the railways but what a lovely picture.  Chas Burrell had an interesting history as explained on Wikipedia.