The East Somerset & Cheddar Valley Railways
Official railway publications tended to use the term ‘Wells Branch’ to refer to the GWR route between Yatton and Witham. In fact, the line originated as two entirely separate branches, both terminating at Wells and ultimately joined by a short length of Somerset & Dorset Railway metals. At one time, Wells hosted three separate stations on three independent lines, all within half a mile of each other.
The Somerset Central Railway was first to arrive in the city of Wells with a standard gauge line from Glastonbury in March 1859. Three years later, the East Somerset Railway opened its broad gauge branch from Witham to Wells, worked from the outset by the GWR. To the west, the Cheddar Valley & Yatton Railway reached Wells in April 1870. Establishing passenger train connections between the three stations, serving both broad and standard gauge lines, proved a nightmare for the Board of Trade inspectors.
The author unravels the intricacies of the developments at Wells and goes on to describe the relatively straightforward history of the branch as it served other communities such as Axbridge, Cheddar and Shepton Mallet. Throughout the line’s life it tended to be worked as two branch lines to Wells, although there were through trains, some completing a Bristol to Bristol round trip. Apart from passengers, a year round staple traffic was stone from Sandford, Doulting and Dulcote, and from the Foster Yeoman quarries at Merehead, still in operation today. Also, tons of strawberries were carried from Cheddar and Axbridge in the summer months, giving rise to the route’s nickname, the ‘Strawberry Line’.
The ‘Strawberry Line’ cries out to be modelled. The station buildings west of Wells enjoyed the Bristol & Exeter Railway’s decorative legacy and are depicted in a range of scale drawings prepared by the author, whilst most of the photographs used have not previously been published. The detailed views of the various railway buildings, coupled with track layout and signalling plans, plus notes about private traders, all contribute to give a full picture of the line and its operation. Those who lived along and knew the railway in particular will find much here to enjoy and interest them, and the book provides a fitting record of this picturesque cross country route.
Hardback, 272 pages, numerous photographs, plans, maps
Most orders are dispatched within two-three working days of receipt of cleared payment. If there is going to be a significant delay (more than 10 working days), we will contact you and, where possible, give you an estimated dispatch time.
Please be aware that advance orders will be sent as soon as the relevant book has been published.
When placing your order, please ensure that you add the correct full shipping address to your order. This includes house number, street name, zip code/post code. If parcels are returned on account of an incorrect shipping address we will contact you to seek the correct address and also ask that you pay a contribution towards posting the parcel to you a second time. Similarly, if a parcel is returned to us because the local mail service is unable to deliver it (or you do not collect it from the designated collection point), we will contact you and ask you for a contribution towards the cost of shipping to you for a second time.
All orders over £20.00 are post free to all UK addresses. For orders of £20 or less, a £1.50 postage fee will be added. These are normally sent via Royal Mail 48 Hour (the business equivalent of 2nd class mail) which is not tracked. If you require tracking for your, tracking options are available for a small fee. If the service that you require is not shown, please get in touch with us and we can quote for your desired service.
Large, bulky or high value orders may be split in to multiple consignments or sent via courier. There is no additional charge for this and you will be advised at the order fulfillment stage if this happens.
Overseas orders are charged based on weight, and postage will be automatically calculated at checkout. For a postage quotation, please add the items you want to your cart and proceed to the checkout. All orders are usually sent via Air Mail - this is not tracked. If you required your order to be tracked or sent by a different service, please contact us, preferably before checkout.
Royal Mail will only accept parcels up to 5kg in weight (2kg for Canada). If you are ordering multiple items that exceed these limits, please contact us first so that we can advise you of the appropriate shipping rate.
Due to the high volume of parcels going missing, we are no longer able to send untracked orders via third party mail handling services such as Parcel Motel. We are able to send untracked parcels to bona fide PO Box addresses, friends and family members and to work addresses.
Some countries charge import taxes and other taxes such as VAT; we suggest that in these cases, you asked for your order to be tracked so the local taxation authorities can trace your parcel.
Please note that courier services are unable to deliver to PO Box addresses. If you usually use a PO Box address, you will need to supply an alternative address if you require shipping by courier.
Shipping to the European Union
From 1 July 2021, all EU countries will be imposing VAT on all imports. In the UK, books are zero-rated for VAT proposes so there is no VAT to deduct from the prices quoted on are website.
Therefore all of our shipments to the EU will be held by the relevant customs authority until the customer pays any VAT that is due. We understand that if no payment is received by the relevant customs authority after 30 days, the package will be either returned or destroyed. Rail-Books will not be liable for any loss resulting from the destruction or return of goods where VAT has not been paid.
Updated: 1 July 2021