Frome Railway Station

Somerset, United Kingdom | C.1850

Photo Credit: @litemporium

Chugging through pastoral views, Frome railway station mainly serves a rural area of the county of Somerset in England. The rail line is operated by Great Western Railway and is located on a branch line of the main rail that is 2.4 kilometer long.

Frome Station was originally operated by the Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway. They planned to link the Great Western Railway (GWR) at Chippenham with Weymouth. The plans were authorized in 1845, but GWR acquired the line in 1850. The new rail reached Frome in the first year of construction and was completed in 1857.

Freight traffic commenced from Frome in 1854.  The original track was a broad gauge line – referring to the wide width of the rails – it was converted to standard gauge in 1874 later opening to passenger traffic in 1875. For the remainder of the 19th century, the GWR’s principal route from to London’s Paddington station was indirect, and passengers needed to use a separate line to get into the city. The GWR directors finally announced in 1895 that construction would commence on new lines that would create direct routes.

Between 1925 to 1956, train traffic was reduced from approximately ten trains per day to three trains between Radstock and Frome, with no service on Sundays. The line to Radstock was formally closed in July 1988. Only the first part of the branch remained open to carry aggregate freight trains from Whatley Quarry.

The Frome Station was refurbished in February 2014, and later that year a plaque was installed at the station commemorating a journey between Frome and London in 1912 by Leonard Woolf to propose marriage to writer Virginia Stephen. The proposal was initially refused until a change of heart. This heartfelt risk was the start of one the greatest literary partnerships of the twentieth century.

The two intellectuals went on to become a literary powerhouse. Virginia Woolf was known for her groundbreaking novels such as “Mrs. Dalloway” and “Orlando”. These works inspired numerous writers who followed after her. The couple additionally established the Hogwarth press in their personal living room and published the celebrated works of T.S. Eliot and produced translations of Chekhov and Dostoevsky. This academic relationship was unique for the time, and the brief train ride from Frome to London was simply one piece in their story.

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