The Anonymous Widower

The Proposal For Stonehenge And Wilton Junction Station

This article on the Salisbury Journal is entitled Wilton Railway Project On Track As Bid Submitted.

It starts with this paragraph.

An application to reopen the railway station in Wilton has reached the third round of the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund.

There are also more details in the February 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

The following sections give more information and some of my thoughts.

Station Name

The station appears to be called Stonehenge and Wilton Junction in all the articles and reports.

Station Location

This page on the TransWilts web site, says this about the station.

Wilton is at the junction between the Salisbury to Bristol line and the Salisbury to Exeter line.
It is 7 miles to Stonehenge Visitor Centre. A consultants report by Atkins shows an economic case and a developer for housing at the site has been identified. Station cost is in the order of £15m.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The Wilton Park-and-Ride site at the top of the Map.
  2. The railway going South-East and North-West across the map is the Wessex Main Line, that links Salisbury and Bristol.
  3. The railway going South-East and West across the map is the West of England Main Line, that links Salisbury and Exeter.
  4. Both routes are double track.

It would appear that the new station would have platforms on both rail lines through the station.

Station Design

If Atkins reckon the station can be built for £15 million as I quoted earlier, it can’t be a very grand station.

The Modern Railways article says this about the station.

A park-and-ride facility at the station would reduce congestion in the centre of Salisbury. Improving London services in the proposal improves the cost-benefit ratio, so what is now envisaged is a four-platform station, with platforms on both the TransWilts and the Yeovil to London lines. The thinking is that the new station could work in tandem with the lengthening of the Tisbury loop and other proposals for possible expansion on the South Western route to Exeter that was floated in the latest Network Rail Continuous Modular Strategy.

My feelings are that a radical approach could yield an efficient station with a smaller number of platforms.

Train services through the station could include.

  • GWR – Cardiff Central and Portsmouth Harbour – Hourly – Transwilts Lines – Also calls at Salisbury
  • GWR – Great Malvern and Brighton or Southampton – Hourly – Transwilts Lines – Also calls at Salisbury
  • SWR – London Wareloo and Exeter – Hourly – Yeovil and London Lines – Also calls at Salisbury

There is also talk of extending the Transwilts hourly service between Swindon and Westbury to Salisbury and then on to Southampton via Romsey.

This would do the following.

  • Create a link to Southampton Airport.
  • Give the new station a Turn-Up-And-Go service to Salisbury.
  • The fourth service would mean that three services called on the Transwilts platforms and one service called on the Yeovil and London platforms.

So why not have one large platform between the two pairs of lines?

  • It would have a tunnel connecting it to the buses and the car parking.
  • One large lift would take passengers with limited mobility to the platform.
  • The Southern face of the platform, would handle all trains running on the Yeovil and London line. A single platform can easily handle an hourly fast service in both directions.
  • The Northern face of the platform, would handle all trains running on the Transwilts.
  • Three trains per hour (tph) in both directions, could probably be handled with some innovation and a long platform.

Why complicate everything with four platforms?

Link To Stonehenge

I haven’t been to Stonehenge since the 1950s, although I have observed it from traffic jams on nearby roads many times.

Surely, there is a chance here to connect the new station and the World Heritage Site with a zero-carbon battery or hydrogen bus.

As the distance between the station and Stonehenge is only about seven miles, it would probably be the easiest way to get large number of visitors to the unique site.

We probably need more well-planned zero-carbon bus links to historic, tourist and other important sites.

 

 

 

March 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 5 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Shepton Mallet (Mendip Vale)

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This article on Rail Technology News is entitled Shepton Mallet Railway Station And Services Could Be Restored Under New Vision.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

National rail services could be restored to a Somerset town after the local authority unveiled a new vision for the rail route.

Shepton Mallet’s current nearest mainline station is Castle Cary which is over seven miles away, but new stations and a bypass have been proposed in a business case from Mendip District Council for major new transport projects.

In the Wikipedia entry for the East Somerset Railway, this is said.

On 25 March 2007, the East Somerset Railway announced that it had received a £7,500 grant from Shepton 21 Group, a local organisation, set up to regenerate the area around Shepton Mallet. The money was to be spent on conducting a feasibility study into extending the line towards Shepton Mallet, with a possible new terminus at Cannards Grave, on the outskirts of Shepton Mallet

This Google Map shows the South-Eastern edge of Shepton Mallet.

Note.

  1. The scar of the disused railway passing East-West through the town.
  2. Mendip Vale station on the East Somerset Railway on the Eastern side of the map.
  3. The Cannard’s Grave area of the town, with what appears to be a new road system.

Would it be possible to extend the East Somerset Railway to a new Parkway station in the Cannard’s Grave area?

It certainly looks the most likely plan.

This map clipped from Wikipedia, shows the route of the railway.

The railway may be only 2.5 miles long, but it does provide a connection for the important Merehead Quarry to the UK rail network.

The tracks to the Quarry and Shepton Mallet join up to the South West of the quarry before joining the Heart of Wessex Line, that connects Bristol Temple Meads and Weymouth stations via Bath Spa, Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury, Frome. Castle Cary and Yeovil.

Passenger Train Services

This Google Map shows East Somerset Junction, where the branch line joins the Heart of Wessex Line.

Note.

  1. Frome, Westbury, Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads are to the North East.
  2. The double-track railway going South-West is the Heart of Wessex Line to Castle Cary, Yeovil and Weymouth.
  3. The East Somerset Railway is the single-track joining from the West.

There is no direct access to and from the branch from the South-West. But then all of the quarry traffic needs to go to and from via the junction at Westbury.

In Westbury Station – 30th July 2020, I discussed the development of Westbury station.

This was my conclusion.

Could Westbury station develop into a zero-carbon rail transport hub for Wiltshire?

    1. It has an hourly train service between London Paddington and Exeter St. Davids.
    2. It has an hourly service between Bristol Temple Meads and Weymouth.
    3. There are hourly services to stations like Bath Spa, Bradford-on-Avon, Bristol Temple Meads, Chippenham, Dorchester, Frome, Swindon, Taunton, Trowbridge and Yeovil

It could be electrified to charge battery electric trains as they pass through.

Perhaps, an hourly service between Westbury and Shepton Mallet Parkway stations could be added to the services?

  • I estimate that Westbury and Shepton Mallet Parkway stations are about 13.5 miles apart
  • With an intermediate stop at Frome, I estimate that it would be a twenty minute journey.
  • A shuttle would need just one train and could run a passenger-friendly clock-face timetable.
  • A two-car diesel multiple unit would probably be good enough to open the service.
  • The service could be fully-integrated with all the other services passing through Westbury.

It would also be a shuttle service, that could be run using a battery electric train charging at Westbury station.

Vivarail’s Pop-up Metro

The route could be ideal for Vivarail’s Pop-up Metro.

  • It is 27 miles for a round trip.
  • I’m sure space could be found for charging at either Shepton Mallet or Westbury.
  • A two-car train would be large enough.

it could be an extension to the Transwilts local system.

Conclusion

I like this proposal.

  • The only infrastructure required is the Park-and-Ride station at Shepton Mallet Parkway.
  • Much of the route is currently used by heavy freight trains.
  • I doubt that the East Somerset Railway will object.
  • I’m sure, that a diesel multiple unit could be found for the shuttle.
  • The passenger services will have good connections at Westbury station.

In a future zero-carbon world, it could be run by battery electric trains, charging at Westbury station.

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Newly-Decorated White Horse Room In Westbury Is Open For Bookings

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Wiltshire Gazette And Herald.

This is the introductory paragraphs.

A disused room at Westbury Railway Station has been transformed into a office area and community space.

The community rail partnership, TransWilts, has announced the completion of work to refurbish and redecorate the Westbury White Horse room.

It is an interesting concept and I’ll be interested to see how it all works out.

June 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

A Cheering Community Rail Story From Wiltshire

This article from the Wiltshire Times is entitled Station Scheme Gets Under Way.

The article talks about Melksham station and how the Transwilts Partnership and Great Western Railway are improving the station.

  • A new community cafe, 53 car parking spaces and a bus interchange will be provided.
  • GWR will lease land from Wiltshire Council and lay out and manage 75 parking spaces.
  • Transwilts appear to be funding the community cafe.
  • Car park improvements will be paid for by new parking charges.
  • Passenger numbers have grown from 10,000 in 2013 to more than 75,000 last year.
  • GWR have doubled the number of carriages on the route.

The last two points, must mean that everybody involved must be doing something right.

I’ll finish with this quote from Dan Okey of GWR.

We believe very strongly in community rail and in this route and we want to see it continue to grow.

This partnership between GWR and the local comminity rail partnership, could and should be copied elsewhere.

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

An Extension To TransWilts

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Maynard visits proposed Westbury-Salisbury extension to TransWilts line.

This is said.

The proposed site of a new station at Wilton that would connect Westbury and Salisbury was visited by rail minister Paul Maynard yesterday, as the MP travelled on a special GWR 1005 Swindon to Salisbury service to mark the role that community rail was playing in the region.

I like the concept of TransWilts, which I wrote about in A Trip Around Wiltshire.

I think it just shows how rail can be developed in rural counties. According to the article, TransWilts carried 20% more passengers last year.

March 4, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Is Community Rail A Good Thing?

This article from the BBC is entitled TransWilts rail service made permanent by government.

It would certainly appear that the revived fifty kilometre service across Wiltshire has been a success.

The line may not be as spectacular as Settle-Carlisle, but like that famous line, Transwilts seems to show that Community Rail lines work.

September 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Station For Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is difficult to get to by public transport. Not that I ever have, as although I’ve been past the monument many times, the only time I’ve been was in the last year at Primary School, when we had a field trip to Dinton in Wiltshire. In those days you could walk unhindered amongst the stones and I do feel that any trip now would be an anti-climax.

But according to this article in the Salisbury Journal entitled Designs for new Wilton Parkway project unveiled, it’s going to get a lot easier to get to Stonehenge. The article says this.

Designs for a new railway station at Wilton have been unveiled.  The vision for Wilton Parkway has been outlined in a brochure, which includes architects impressions of what the site could look like, which would be built adjacent to the existing Salisbury Park and Ride in Wilton.

It would be on the Salisbury to Bristol line and part of the Trans Wilts route which will run north to south in the county.  The brochure says it would “provide new capacity for passengers to access the National Rail Network using direct trains to London, Southampton, Swindon, Bristol and Cardiff” and support sustainable access to Salisbury with a highly attractive five minute journey time”.

The new station would also “offer a fast, high capacity rail-bus link to the World Heritage Site at Stonehenge”.

This is an early artists impression of the station.

Wilton Parkway Station

Wilton Parkway Station

It would appear that one of the driving forces behind this new station is Transwilts, which is the local Community Rail Partnership.

Hopes are that the station will open in 2019. I hope they’ve checked for bats, newts and Nimbys!

October 3, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment