Weston Clevedon & Portishead Railway Home

Copyright © 2004-2016

Paul Gregory  

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By the late 1860s, the three small towns of Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon and Portishead all had railway connections, but there was no direct link between them, and of course roads were very poor.

First proposed in 1884, building of the Weston to Clevedon section started in 1887 but wasn’t completed until 1897. Construction took so long that some sleepers were rotten by the time the line opened! It was laid in standard gauge and classified as a Light Railway. The Portishead extension was completed in 1907.

The railway was always short of money, and most of the locos and rolling stock were bought second-hand from various sources, making a very motley collection.

Most of the 19 stations were just halts with no platforms and only a hut for shelter. Where there were platforms, they were usually made of wood. Stories abound of times when the train would stop for blackberrying, though it was said that it went so slow, that you could pick them while in motion.

The railway was affectionately known as the WC&P, though the official abbreviation now is WC&PR. From 1911 until 1931, the railway came under the management of the ‘Light Railway King’ Col. H F Stephens.

The Second World War was the last straw for the struggling railway which closed in 1940, and the track was all removed for the war effort by late 1943.

Little sign of the railway’s existence survives now, but there are still things to see and short stretches of the route can still be walked (see The line today). It’s a fascinating history worth exploring.

In Nov 2006, the WC&P Railway Group was formed.

This site has maps of the route of the line, details of all of the stations with photos, aerial photos, locos, carriages etc, current photos of what’s left, and a lot more.......  

More detailed history .....