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Salisbury to Exeter Stations (Page 1)
SR target sign The Salisbury to Exeter Line
Stations since the 1967 singling
SR target sign
Introduction Index to Stations Background History Signalling Signal-Boxes

Introduction

This is the first of two pages which describe the intermediate stations on the former London & South Western Railway (L&SWR) (later Southern Railway (SR)) line from Salisbury to Exeter since the reduction of much of this former main line to single-track in 1967. This page covers all locations from Wilton South to Yeovil Junction and the other page covers Sutton Bingham to Exeter Central. Any location on either page can be accessed directly from the Index below.

Other pages in RailWest deal with the background history of the line and the 1967 singling, the changes to the signalling arrangements and the individual signal-boxes.

Index to Stations

Sutton Bingham to Exeter Central

Axminster Exeter Central Pinhoe Sidmouth Junction Wilton South
Broad Clyst Feniton St James's Park Sutton Bingham Yeovil Junction
Chard Junction Gillingham Seaton Junction Templecombe  
Crewkerne Honiton Semley Tisbury  
Dinton Milborne Port Sherborne Whimple  

WILTON SOUTH station was closed to goods traffic on 6-July-1964 and passenger services ceased on 7-Mar-1966. The station therefore was already out of use by the time of the 1967 alterations, when it became merely the end of the double-track section from Salisbury. The signal-box remained in use until 1981, when it was closed and control of the area transferred to the new panel box at Salisbury. (Subsequently Wilton signal-box was dismantled and later re-erected at Medstead & Four Marks station on the Mid-Hants Railway.) Some of the station buildings survive on the Up side in commercial use - click for views from the rail and road sides.

Former Dinton station building and up platformDINTON station was closed to passengers on 7-Mar-1966 and to general goods traffic on 18-Apr-1967. However a number of sidings were retained for access to the various Ministry of Defence depots in the vicinity of the station, along with a section of the former up line westwards to a depot at Chilmark. All these were taken out of use eventually on 2-Nov-1994 and subsequently much of the trackwork has been removed. The former Up platform remains in existence complete with the station buildings, which are in private ownership.

Tisbury station looking westTISBURY is now the first station down the line from Salisbury that is still open, but only for passenger traffic - goods facilities were withdrawn on 18-Apr-1966. Only the former Up platform is in use, as the track here is still single-line. The unwanted Down platform and adjacent land were sold off to form part of an industrial site, with the result that when a new passing-loop was opened in 1986 it had to be built to the east of the station because of the lack of room. The original station building still remains in use on the (up) platform. The signal-box was closed in 1967, but the building still stands at the Yeovil end of the platform and is used by railway engineering staff.


SEMLEY station was closed to goods on 5-Apr-1966 and passengers on 7-Mar-1967. The former station buildings and signal-box remain on the Up side, both in residential use. The goods shed also survives and the goods yard is used as a scrap yard.

GILLINGHAM is the next station down the line and it is also the next passing loop. Both platforms are in use here, with the original station building still standing on the Up platform. Apart from the loop lines there is a goods siding on the Up side which was retained to serve a fertilizer depot. There was also an Engineers siding on the Down side, but this was abolished in 2011/12 as part of the signalling alterations at that time. The station used to be controlled from a signal-box just beyond the Yeovil end of the Down platform, but that was reduced to ground-frame status in 2012 and retained merely to control the Up siding access. The Up loop was signalled for bi-directional running after the initial singling and the Down loop is now bi-directional also after the 2012 alterations.

Gillingham station in September 2012
Gillingham station looking east from footbridge Gillingham station looking west from footbridge Station building at Gillingham on Up platform Station building at Gillingham on Up platform Station building at Gillingham viewed from road side Looking down the line from west end of Gillingham station
Looking Up (east) from footbridge Looking Down (west) from footbridge Station building on Up platform Station building on Up platform Road side of station building Looking Down from west end of station

TEMPLECOMBE station was well-known originally as the interchange point with the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway, but when that line closed in 1966 the main-line station was closed also. The ensuing demolition was so extensive that only the goods shed (now in commercial use), signal-box and former main-line platforms now remain from the pre-1967 period. A short siding trailing into the Down line was retained for Engineers use.

Looking west from the platform at Templecombe towards start of double track in 2004In 1983 the station was re-opened to passenger traffic, largely as the result of much pressure and work by a local group which continues to support the station. The former Up platform was refurbished and brought back into use - this platform is actually on the single-line, as the double-track re-commences about 100 yards further to the west, and therefore the platform served trains in both directions. Passenger access to the platform was gained initially by a foot-crossing of the single-line at the Yeovil end - the Engineers siding was cut-back to stop short of this crossing.

To provide covered waiting accommodation for passengers the operating floor of the signal-box was divided in half, with a waiting area created at the Salisbury end - the signalman doubled as booking-clerk, selling tickets via a hatch in the dividing partition. In 1988 a new waiting room was opened on the platform, but the booking-office arrangements continued as before. In 1990 the foot-crossing was closed (except for disabled access) and replaced by a footbridge about midway along the platform, using an ex-LB&SCR structure formerly at Buxted on the Uckfield line.

Templecombe station in September 2004
Templecombe station looking east Templecombe station looking west from the footbridge Templecombe station looking west along the platform The garden at Templecombe station View of former goods shed at Templecombe
Looking east Looking west Looking west View of garden Former goods shed

The signalling alterations in 2012 resulted in closure of the signal-box for signalling purposes. To avoid the need (and expense) to man the station simply in order to safeguard those passengers who might need to use the foot-crossing to the existing platform, it was decided to provide a replacement platform on the Down side. In an unusual move, a supporting structure was erected in the gap between the single-line and the former Down platform (which had remained largely intact but unused since 1966), and a new platform surface was constructed above this structure and the old platform. The new platform was brought into use later in 2012 together with a small waiting shelter.

(Note: in October 1999 the road underbridge immediately beyond the Salisbury end of the platforms was replaced. The new bridge was only wide enough for the single line and was aligned with the former Up platform, so it was not possible in 2012 simply to slew the track across to the old Down platform. The construction method for the new platform was chosen so that it could be removed relatively easily in the event that double-track is reinstated through the station and the underbridge widened again at some future date.)

It is intended to provide a new ticket office and waiting room on the Down side and it was announced in late 2013 that work on this should be completed in Spring 2014. In the meantime the ticket office in the former signal-box remains open on Mon-Sat mornings only. When this ticket-office is closed then a gate is locked at the Down side entrance to the footbridge, preventing access to the former Up platform, waiting room and toilets.

Templecombe station in June and September 2012
Templecombe station looking east from the footbridge Templecombe station looking west from the footbridge Templecombe station looking east along the new platform Templecombe looking west along the new platform Train arriving at Templecombe between the old and new platforms
Looking east Looking west Looking east Looking west Train passing garden

MILBORNE PORT station lost its goods services relatively early on 6-Nov-1961, at which date also it became an unmanned halt until final closure on 7-Mar-1966. The former station buildings on the down side remain in private residential use.

SHERBORNE station has retained both platforms in use on the double-track section. The original station building remains in use on the Up platform, but the building on the Down platform is a replacement dating from circa-1960. Under the original singling work this station was the limit of the double-track from Templecombe, the line onwards to Chard Junction being singled on 7-May-1967 using the former Up line. However on 1-Oct-1967 the old Down line was restored to use and double-track working was extended to Yeovil Junction. The Up line is signalled for two-way working all the way through from Templecombe to Yeovil Junction.

After 1967 a siding was retained for Engineers use in the former Up yard with a connection off the Up line, but this was removed in later years. At the Salisbury end of the station there is a level-crossing with barriers, which (after closure of the signal-box in 1970) used to be controlled from an adjacent control point worked by the station staff. However the control point was abolished during the 2012 signalling alterations and CCTV provided instead to enable the crossing to be controlled from Basingstoke ASC. The former signal-box was in commercial use for many years, but eventually was demolished in 2011. The former goods shed still remains in the old goods-yard in commercial use.

Sherborne station circa-2000
Sherborne station looking east towards level-crossing Looking down through Sherborne station from the level-crossing Station building at Sherborne on Up platform Sherborne station building viewed from the road side Sherborne station looking west from footbridge Looking up through Sherborne station from Yeovil end
Looking Up (east) to level-crossing Looking Down (west) from level-crossing Station building on Up platform Road side of station building Looking Down (west) Looking Up from west end of station

YEOVIL JUNCTION station has the most complex arrangements on the line and it is also the station which has been subject to the most change. The station had been rebuilt by the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR) in 1907-9 with the platforms served by loops off the main through lines. The rear face of the Up platform served as a bay line for the connection to Yeovil Town station, but the rear of the Down platform was only a siding. Passenger access to both platforms was by means of a footbridge at the west (Exeter) end which extended right across the Up Bay to the station access road.

Also to the rear of the Down platform was the separate Clifton Maybank goods station, built originally by the Great Western Railway (GWR) and served by a short branch from their line between Yeovil Pen Mill and Weymouth. As the GWR originally was broad-gauge, a transhipment shed was provided to enable goods to be transferred between broad-gauge GWR and standard-gauge L&SWR wagons. The Clifton Maybank branch was closed in 1937 and the remains of the goods yard taken over by the Southern Railway. The sidings were removed from the transhipment shed and subsequently it was converted into a store. 

Under the 1967 scheme severe rationalisation took place and as far as the main line was concerned the station was reduced merely to a single platform without any signalling. The new single line followed the course of the former Up Local and served the south face of the old Up platform. The former Down platform was taken out of public use and in due course that part of the footbridge which spanned the tracks between the two platforms was removed, along with the steps down to the Down platform. The Up Through was removed and the tracks that were left on the Down side were relegated to sidings for the Engineers Department. On the north side of the single line lay the goods yard and connecting line to Yeovil Pen Mill station, and these continued to be worked by the former Yeovil Junction 'A' signal-box, but this no longer controlled the main line. These arrangements came into force on 7-May-1967.

With the re-introduction of double-line working to Sherborne on 1-Oct-1967 the layout was modified again. The signal-box was re-equipped and re-opened to control the whole station. A new connection at the east end of the station from the single line to the line at the rear of the platform allowed the north face of that platform to be restored to passenger use as a bay line. Another connection was brought into use at the west end of the station between the main and bay lines, but this was facing to Down trains on the main line and therefore did not permit through running onto the bay line. Through running was possible now onto the Pen Mill link via an existing connection at the east end of the platform.

One flaw with the layout design was the fact that the station platform was on the single-line, which meant that - in the event of an Up train running late - any Down train had to sit outside the station unable to offload any passengers. This became an all-too-frequent problem at times and eventually a further revision of the layout took place on 26-Mar-1975, when the bay line was converted into an Up Loop by reversing the direction of the connection at the west end of the station. The station now boasted a proper passing-loop, serving both faces of the old Up platform. The south (Down) face remained signalled for bi-directional working, any Up trains using it having to cross to the Up Line to Templecombe at the east end of the station.

A further revision of the layout came into effect on 12-Dec-1977, but this was confined mainly to a rationalisation of the connections at the Salisbury end of the station and did not affect the overall arrangements. Later again the Up Loop became bi-directional. Under the 2012 alterations the signal-box was closed and subsequently demolished.

One other development at Yeovil Junction in recent years has been the establishment of the private Yeovil Railway Centre, aimed at the servicing of main-line steam locomotives. This is situated in the old Down yard and includes the original locomotive depot turntable, which fortunately had been retained by British Rail for turning Engineer's rolling-stock, and also the former Clifton Maybank transhipment shed. This centre has been the site of a number of enthusiasts events, as well as being a calling-point for many steam-hauled excursions. Additional historical information and contemporary photographs of this station can be found on the Yeovil Junction pages of the Southern E-Mail Group website.

Yeovil Junction station in July 2006
Yeovil Jcn station looking east from the platform Yeovil Jcn station looking west along the platform The old Down platform and YRC yard at Yeovil Jcn station The turntable and former Clifton Maybank goods transhipment shed at Yeovil Jcn station Looking west from Yeovil Jcn station footbridge
Looking east from the platform Looking west along the platform Former Down platform and YRC yard Turntable and former transhipment shed Looking west from footbridge

Chris Osment 2004 & 2013
Apologies to the contributor of the Dinton, Sherborne, Tisbury and Wilton South pictures, as name and date details have been lost.

Next page for Sutton Bingham to Exeter Central

Introduction Index to Stations Background History Signalling Signal-Boxes