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Bridgwater Railway Hotel

The former Railway Hotel in Bridgwater

One of the scandals of recent times is the neglect of our railways in Somerset. From the time of Dr Beaching’s cuts when branch lines were axed during the 1960s to the modern era of stations without ticket offices or even a member of staff, the railway stations in this area have been neglected.

Back in the day of course it was a different matter. Those were days when Bridgwater not only had a railway station it could be proud of but it also had a Railway Hotel. The Railroad (late the Railway Hotel) dates to the early Victorian period when John Richards was first recorded as having been the landlord in 1839 to 1840.

William Read held the fort from 1897, the year of the Jubilee, all the way into the 1920s having seen troops embark from the station bound for the Great War and a few years earlier the war in South Africa. It has now gone and is currently the site of a garage.

The station is the second busiest in Somerset, handling more than 346,000 passengers per year according to the Office for Rail and Road.

The Bridgwater Major Transport Infrastructure Board, which was created by Somerset County Council, announced details in August 2018 of a £1.2M scheme to improve the station, funded by money from the Hinkley Point C programme.

Do you recall the days of the Railway Hotel? Do you feel the station should once again have a hotel? Should more trains stop at Bridgwater? Email your thoughts and memories to harryfmottram@gmail.com

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