Pensford Rail History

This page is dedicated to the history of Pensford railway station and viaduct.

The Bristol and North Somerset Railway used to run through Pensford. The line was opened in 1873 initially serving Bristol to Radstock, with services later being extended to Frome. Pensford Station was located in Station Approach and was opened on 3rd September 1873. In 1898, the platforms were extended and a new signal box opened at the southern end of the “up” platform. The line ran almost due south from Bristol to the Somerset coalfield towns and was 16 miles long. The principal traffic was coal and local commuter traffic. Pensford Viaduct is 330 yards long. Its impressive arches still exist today. The station was closed to passengers on 2nd November 1959 and to goods on 15th June 1964.

Click on the images to enlarge

Staff of Pensford Station, probably in the early1930’s.
Staff of Pensford Station, probably in the early 1930’s.Β  It is believed that at one time there were 17 staff who worked on the station. This photograph was contributed by Gerald Penney who was born in 1942 and brought up here. His father Jesse Penney, is on the left, but we do not have names for the others. Please let us know if you can identify any.
Mary Jewell, signal woman at Pensford with stationmaster Mr Fred Smewin
Image courtesy of Roger Flower. His cousin, Mary Jewell, was the signal woman at Pensford through the war. Here she is with stationmaster Mr Fred Smewin who kept a strict watch on things.
Only one train could be in a section at any one time
Being a single line for most of the route, safety was paramount, controlled by the block system. Using the key taken from the machine, only one train could be in a section at any one time. Image courtesy of Roger Flower.
Image courtesy of Roger Flower.
Mary and Daisy Jewell
Here is Mary Jewell again on the signal box steps with her sister Daisy Jewell who was a porter on the station. Image courtesy of Roger Flower.
Mary loved her job and lodged with Roger Flower’s grandmother Polly Jewell in the little cottage in Publow Lane. Image courtesy of Roger Flower
At the end of the war when the men returned home, Mary received this letter from Mr Smewin saying her services were no longer required. Image courtesy of Roger Flower.
31st October 1959, the last day of passenger trains.
Roger took this picture when he was just 14 on 31st October 1959, the last day of passenger trains. Rushing to get the picture he caught his trousers on the barbed wire fence you can see, and ripped them badly, getting into trouble when he got home. Goods trains, mostly coal, continued until 1964, with the occasional special running for enthusiasts when it finally closed a few days after the Great Flood in July 1968. Image courtesy of Roger Flower, formerly of Westleigh, Publow.
Pensford Viaduct
Pensford Viaduct
The Travellers Rest
The Travellers Rest just up the main Bristol Road from where the old Pensford station used to stand was previously called the Railway Hotel
This house is located in Station Approach and was once the Pensford Stationmaster's house
This house is located in Station Approach and was once the Pensford Stationmaster’s house

Mr Wyatt, who lived at Salters Brook and later became the Chairman of the Parish Council in the late ’60’s and a District Councillor, was for his working life, the Signalman at the Pensford Station.Β  In 1968 he had the job of showing Prince Philip around the village following the disastrous flood and can be seen in in BBC film footage of the event.
Tim Veater [Source: Facebook]

Railway bridge crossing the A37 (Pensford Hill) looking south from Station Approach
Railway bridge crossing the A37 (Pensford Hill) looking south from Station Approach
Railway bridge over A37 (Station Approach) looking North to Bristol
History of Pensford railway
See more about the history of Pensford railway here
Pensford Viaduct from village
See more about the history of Pensford Viaduct here

Publow with Pensford Parish Council Official Website

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