The West Somerset Mineral Railway was a standard gauge line that served the iron mines of the Brendon Hills in West Somerset. The line took ore from the mines to the port of Watchet from where it was shipped across the Bristol Channel to South Wales, where it was taken to the iron furnaces of Ebbw Vale. The line was in two halves. The lower half ran south to a place called Comberow, and was both a passenger and a freight line. At Comberow was a magnificent incline which rose 800 feet and connected to the upper half of the line. Passengers were carried up the incline and along the upper half of the line in open trucks at their own discretion. The upper half of the line served most of the mines. The incline was steam-powered. The mines became uneconomic to work by the early 1880s and the line continued for a few years just carrying passengers and local freight. The passenger traffic was light once the mines had closed. There was a short revival 1907-09 when mining was restarted for a short period. There are plenty of remains to see of this railway today, and its route shows up prominently on maps and aerial photos. The harbour at Watchet continued as a commercial port until quite recently, but nowadays is purely a leisure facility.
Bibliography: Roger Sellick, The West Somerset Mineral Railway and the story of the Brendon Hills iron mines, 2nd ed. 1970