Minehead Railway Station is the largest on the railway and is the headquarters of the West Somerset Railway PLC.
The original station, consisting of one platform with a stone station building and a goods shed was opened on 16th July 1874. The Engine Shed, of wooden construction, was built by the Bristol and Exeter Railway Company at Watchet in 1862 and subsequently moved to Minehead. This was closed in 1956 and demolished in 1959.
The next major event in the station’s history was in 1905 when a second platform face and a signal box were brought into use. In the 1920’s an extension to the original station building was built onto the seaward end and in 1934 the station was re-modelled. A new signal box and water tower were built and the platforms lengthened to their near quarter mile extent. At the same time the 200ft long station canopy was added.
The Minehead Branch was closed by British Railways in January 1971 and the WSR PLC took over the line in 1975.
Since taking over the former goods shed has been converted into a locomotive workshop and depot and the former locomotive yard on the other side of the station became a Somerset County Council car park. The parcels office in the main building is now the ‘Buffer Stop’ shop, with the previous booking office and waiting rooms taking on a new role as offices.
The present booking office, at the seafront end of the station, was constructed in the mid 1980’s using parts of the former fabric of Cardiff Central Station. During 1998 a new, and enlarged, engine shed was constructed adjacent to the former goods shed, partially funded by the European Community, and a traditional bookstall,‘Reader’s Halt’, constructed on the platform by us, The Friends of Minehead Station (FoMS).
The Station Complex is now Grade II listed by English Heritage. In 2007 a major development of the County Council’s car park area took place which enabled the installation of a turntable once again and included a cafe facility.
Since it’s beginning in 1997 FoMS has carried out many projects on the Station, as well as routine maintenance including refurbishment of the small canopy from the Booking Office to the Gent’s Toilet, reinstated a number of missing chimneys, fully resurfaced the platforms and refurbishing the toilets to mention a few.
We have recently installed new fencing at the front of the Station at considerable cost,have repaired the wooden roof light over the Gent’s toilet and erected a new timber building beyond the accommodation block to provide much needed storage space. In addition we have financed repairs and painting of the large canopy over platforms 1 & 2.