Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gone But Not Forgotten

I found these two contrasting photographs of Wincanton Station recently and thought that I would share them with you.
The station was situated on the much-lamented Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway and was, roughly, half-way between Bath Green Park and Bournemouth West. Indeed, as a child, it was my local station and I have fond memories of commencing many a happy journey from here. 
The top picture was taken in July 1961 and is a great shot that shows the down line under engineers occupation. This work had to be restricted to Sundays when much of the S&D was closed for the day. The engineer's train can just be seen through the Goods Shed and consists mostly of ballast wagons with a coach at the front of the formation acting as mess. The loco in charge was one of the S&D 7F 2-8-0's.
The lower picture, meanwhile, shows the station exactly six years later, in July 1967 - 16 months after the closure of the line. The station still looks quite respectable here and largely undamaged but the growth of weeds along the trackbed indicate that time has all but run out for this location and, in fact, the site is now occupied by a large housing estate!  
These two photographs show, quite clearly, the staggered nature of the platforms - they overlapped by only 120 feet. They were also of very different lengths with Platform 1 (the up platform) being 450 yards long while Platform 2 was much shorter at only 240 yards.
The elevated, 14 lever signal box, which can been seen on Platform 1, controlled access to the fairly extensive goods yard and sidings wherein both cattle, for the nearby market, and horses for the local racecourse were loaded and unloaded. 
The adjacent Cow and Gate milk factory (now also closed) also had its own two-road siding from where it would send its milk and dairy products by rail to London and the north.
The station opened in November 1861 and was part of the Dorset Central Railway, even though it was actually in Somerset.
The station closed, along with much of the rest of the S&DJR, on March 7th 1966.

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