Building of the railway began in 1887 but due to various legal and financial problems, progress was very slow, and the time limit of the Act expired requiring further Acts to be passed on 25 July 1890 and December 1891. Due to these delays some of the track had to be re-laid before the line opened because sleepers had rotted. The section between Weston and Clevedon finally opened on 1 December 1897.
The track along the Boulevard in Weston-super-Mare was taken up before the line opened due to complaints from the council.
The extension to Portishead had been planned from the beginning, but financial constraints delayed its construction. It required another Act of Parliament, which was passed in August 1899, There were many objections to the proposed extension, one of which was that the line was to run through the streets in Clevedon.
These objections were overcome, but a man with a flag had to lead trains across the street at 4 mph.
The extension to Portishead was built as a light railway and opened on 7 August 1907.
To get to its interchange station with the GWR branch there, trains had to use a archway through the White Horse pub!
As sung (not quite) by Alma Cogan.
The finances of the railway were always precarious becoming serious by 1905. It entered receivership in 1909 and was in decline up to the outbreak of World War II, not helped by the increase in road traffic. It had relied on the transport of stone from the Black Rock quarries and the decline in this business made things worse. The railway spent 31 of its 43 years in the hands of receivers.
The line closed in 1940. First Bus X5 is the modern replacement.