(Yatton 4.6.2014 all copyright Rail Thing/Steve Sainsbury)
Spent a couple of hours at Yatton this afternoon, just snapping. I've been through the station many times by train, but this was the first time I'd actually stopped off there. In contrast to Bedminster, Saturday's outing, there is still plenty of infrastructure left, including the iconic Clevedon bay canopy. Nothing particularly interesting went through, though a DMU showing 'Manchester Picc' on the front destination blind and 'Crewe' on the back was amusing.
I was chatting to a bloke on his way to Bangkok who remembered travelling on the Clevedon branch, which neatly takes me on to the history of this station. I often see it flying out of Bristol airport and it's clear from a few thousand feet up that the station was a junction with lines neatly curving off both to the left and right. The short branch to Clevedon closed in 1966, a truly stupid closure. It would be packed today and Clevedon would be a lot busier for it. The other line connected a string of towns to both Yatton and Witham on the Frome to Taunton main line. It served the toens of Axbridge, Cheddar and Shepton Mallet, and the city of Wells. It closed three years earlier than the Clevedon branch, and again would be a very busy route today. Both lines need to, and undoubtedly will, be rebuilt and link back to the Network. But for now Clevedon remains in deep sleep and the longer Cheddar Valley line has a temporary use as the 'Strawberry Line' cycleway and footpath. I'm getting a bike in September when my brother-in-law emigrates to Taiwan, and look forward to taking it along this cycleway.
In fact Yatton has a lot of ex-railway promise in the area. As well as the two lines mentioned above, there was the superb Weston, Clevedon and Portishead line, closed in 1940, which I'd also like to explore. There is also the even more obscure ORIGINAL Weston-Super-Mare branch, which will be a real challenge! Plus a closed miniature railway in Weston, a revived one in Clevedon and - soon - the reopened Portishead branch. Expect more reports and pics in the fiuture!
Further information (from Wikipedia)
Yatton railway station, on the Bristol to Exeter Line, is in the village of Yatton in North Somerset, England. It is 12 miles (19 km) west of Bristol Temple Meads railway station, and 130 miles (209 km) from London Paddington. Its three-letter station code is YAT. It was opened in 1841 by the Bristol and Exeter Railway, and served as a junction station for trains to Clevedon and Cheddar, but these lines closed in the 1960s. The station, which has two platforms, is managed by First Great Western, the seventh company to be responsible for the station, and the third franchise since privatisation in 1997. They provide all train services at the station, mainly hourly services between Bristol Parkway and Weston-super-Mare, and between Cardiff Central and Taunton.
The station is located in the north end of the village of Yatton, North Somerset, just west of the B3133 road between Clevedon and Congresbury. The station is on the Bristol to Exeter Line, 130 miles 28 chains (209.78 km) from London Paddington and 11 miles 77 chains (19.25 km) from Bristol Temple Meads. It is the fourth station along the line from Bristol. The station is oriented along an axis at 57 degrees to the meridian.
There are two platforms, on either side of the two tracks through the station. The southern platform, platform 1, is 162 metres (177 yd) long and serves westbound trains (towards Weston-super-Mare); the northern platform, platform 2, is 121 metres (132 yd) long and serves eastbound trains (towards Bristol). The line through the station has a speed limit of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h). Access to the two platforms is step-free from car parks on each side of the station, accessible via short roads from the B3133. There is an uncovered footbridge between the two platforms, but disabled passengers must go the long way round via the B3133. A ticket office is provided on platform 2, staffed every morning except Sundays. Ticket machines are available, allowing the buying of tickets for on-the-day travel, and collection of pre-bought tickets. There are waiting rooms on both platforms, with toilets on platform 2, but none suitable for wheelchairs."Next train" dot matrix displays and an automated public-address system announce approaching services.
There is a car park on each side of the station, managed by APCOA, with a total of 80 spaces. Parking costs £2.10 for the day at peak times and bank holidays, £1.40 at other times, with stays of up to 21 days available at a price of £2.10 per day.There are bus stops nearby on the B3133. Cycle storage is available on the access roads.
The station is the start point for the Strawberry Line, a foot and cyclepath built mostly on old railway land to Axbridge. The start of the path is marked by a 6 metres (20 ft)-high arch. The Strawberry Line Café, run by a local community group, is located on platform 1, and is open most days from 7:30 am to serve commuters.
Just beyond the station, to the west, are a pair of relief lines to allow slower trains to be overtaken. There are also some cross-over points, allowing trains to terminate on the westbound relief line and then return eastwards.