13th September, 2018 by East Somerset Railway in The Railway
Our Heritage Lottery funded project at Cranmore Station achieved a further milestone during August. The erection of a building in the same style as the former waiting room took place on the down platform and this will eventually become a 'Discovery Centre', depicting the history of the railway and its links to local industry. Local builder, Trotmans, completed the first phase of the reinstated platform wall in June and cast the foundations for the new building. Poultons (Dorset), a Shaftesbury based company who specialise in wooden frame bespoke buildings won the contract to design and build the new 'Discovery Centre' utilising all the available historical photos of the former waiting room which was demolished over 50 years ago. We are delighted that the station now has the former waiting room back in its old position and we are well on the way to recreating the country station atmosphere which existed in the years prior to its demolition. All credit must go to our two main contractors for the quality of their workmanship, their enthusiasm and also completing the works on time and to some very tight budgets.
This phase of the project has also been facilitated by a number of volunteers, including those who cleared the bramble jungle behind the platform retaining wall in this summers’ searing heat, so that it could be re-pointed (it was in remarkably good condition for its age). Many thanks to Colin Girle from the Sentinel Diesel group, who provided considerable help by shunting wagon loads of materials back and forth from the tanker sidings to keep the job on schedule and Clive Moore who has done the civil engineering design and construction supervision. Thanks are also due to the loco crews who tolerated a little extra shunting of wagons carrying building materials on operational days too.
The next stage of the project will involve fitting out the building with lighting and heritage displays, the creation of a temporary path from the Signal Box to the new platform, improvements to the track crossing at the Signal Box end and the installation of some temporary fencing for visitor safety.
In support of the next stages, Lisa Pool, our new volunteer Education Officer has been busy on the oral history side of the project and is leading on developing heritage displays, along with Mel Knight and Fran Barley.
Thanks to Bob McLetchie at CTMS we have also obtained about 40 metres of wrought iron spear fencing which originally came from a large house near Frome and was available at an attractive price. Bob very kindly arranged for the purchase, collected and delivered it to Cranmore and we hope to refurbish this for eventual use between the new building and the Signal Box. Although this addition was scheduled for the next phase of the project in 2019, we now have an early opportunity to add another of the missing heritage features to enhance the new platform. In addition we recently had an offer from a former volunteer (from the 1980's) to recreate the station name board in glass fibre, which should be maintenance free.
We aim to complete the project by December this year and will keep you updated on progress and the grand opening ceremony!
By Gary Amos, Volunteer Project Manager