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Written by Wayland Smith - 29 Jan 2005
last update by Tim Squires - 15 Apr 2012
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Location notes
A metal footbridge spanning the main Taunton to Exeter line close to Taunton town centre and station.
Railway type and traffic
First Great Western HSTs and Cross Country Voyagers average 1-2 per hour in each direction, XC HSTs are lesser in number, but do turn up daily. FGW 150s and 153s can also be seen, 143s can come through but are very rare.
Various movements from Network Rails HOBC depot at Fairwater yard can be seen here, these trains are usually very long, and operate on an almost daily basis, usually top and tailed with FL 66s.
Other freight movements are sparse, but DB 66s on oil trains are seen weekly, as is the Colas log train, test trains are also fairly regular.
Environment
40 steps is a well used footbridge spanning a wide track formation close to the west throat of Taunton Station. It is situated 1/4 mile from the station in a residential / light commercial area.
Road directions
From the M5, junction 25:
Head towards Taunton on the A38 dual carriageway. At the second roundabout turn left away from the over bridge and follow the ring road around the south of the town centre. At the divergence of 'A' roads, bear left taking the A3027 towards Staplegrove and Norton Fitzwarren. This again takes you away from the station.
About 800m after the junction, before crossing the railway, take a right turn into Chip Lane and park along the street underneath the 40 steps footbridge. This is also the road that leads into the Royal Mail sorting office.

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Taunton, 40 Steps map co-ordinates
Parking
There is usually ample parking in Chip Lane which is a dead end road leading to the Royal Mail depot. It is also visible from the footbridge.
Public transport
Leave Taunton by the main entrance by the ticket office in the subway. Cross the main road directly outside the entrance. It may be necessary to use the pedestrian crossing up the road if traffic is busy. You need to head up the road directly opposite the station though, which is Railway Street. Follow this a short way around to the right and take a second left into Cyril Street.
Walk up this road approximately 200m where the footpath onto the bridge joins from the left.
Total distance approx 500m.

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Amenities
There are plenty of takeaways/cafes in Taunton, and the station has a full range of amenities.
Accommodation
There is plenty of accommodation available close to the centre of Taunton.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Taunton, 40 Steps

Googly map
Streetmap links
Taunton, 40 Steps general view map
Taunton, 40 Steps close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Taunton, 40 Steps



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Photographic notes
The Great Western main line runs roughly east to west at this location, so generally up trains suit morning light, down trains are best done in the evening.
The disused formation is so wide that shots can be taken from all four angles around the bridge. Down trains taken from the south of the line require a 120+mm lens to overcome an inconveniently placed signal.
Generally quite open this location holds light well. It also offers interesting glints and sunsets in the evening. There can be little warning of fast up trains approaching under the girder road bridge. However the points and station starting signals for the up road are visible from the bridge.
There is not a great amount of noise, but the bridge is quite busy with pedestrians and the use of tripods can be a little problematic. It is also quite exposed and therefore windy.


General views - All photographs © Wayland Smith unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking west - Image Tim Squires


Fig 1 - Looking west - <i>Image  Tim Squires</i>


Fig 2 - Looking east - Image Tim Squires


Fig 2 - Looking east - <i>Image  Tim Squires</i>


Fig 3 - Looking west - Image Tim Squires


Fig 3 - Looking west - <i>Image  Tim Squires</i>


Fig 4 - Looking east - Image Tim Squires


Fig 4 - Looking east - <i>Image  Tim Squires</i>


Fig 5 - Looking east



Fig 5 -  Looking east

Down train in the morning viewed from the south side of the line looking towards the station.

Fig 6 - Looking east



Fig 6 - Looking east


Fig 7 - Looking west



Fig 7 - Looking west

Up train in the morning also from the south side of the line.

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