• Sandford Station

Sandford Station Railway Heritage Centre, Somerset

Sandford Station Railway Heritage Centre is situated in the former booking office building of Sandford and Banwell station, a stop on the famous Strawberry Line.

The iconic building, sensitively restored as part of a newly developed retirement village, was built in 1869 and offers a rare opportunity to visit an early Bristol and Exeter Railway station. One of the only remaining of its type to be open to the public, its counterparts have been demolished or converted to dwellings. Sandford Station Railway Heritage Ltd., a registered charity, has transformed the ticket office and waiting rooms by creating an authentic experience of a by-gone era for its visitors.

£12,000 from Viridor Credits has enabled the group to tell the story of rail transport and social history and bring the station back to life in an attractive and informative way. Since opening in June 2010, visitor numbers have been high with many local people, family groups, walkers and cyclists from the Strawberry Line and also enthusiasts with railway connections, dropping in to share their stories. The 'living history' at the centre truly showcases the railway station which was in operation at the heart of the local community for almost 100 years. It also provides a venue for visual displays relating to the station and branch-line and a growing collection of artefacts, archive photographs and documents.

"We were keen that the building should be preserved and used as an exceptional example of local industrial history and national heritage. Visitors young and old enjoy the experience. It is an excellent resource and provides a great educational opportunity for local schools." Neville Brenchley, chairman of Sandford Station Railway Heritage Ltd.

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