An hour or two at Salisbury back in 1986 was full of interest. Steam may have been gone for almost twenty years, but the station and environs still had a very steam feel to them, and there was plenty of loco hauled trains, both passenger and freight.
Locos were mainly class 33 and class 50, though class 59s were also starting to appear around this time. 'Thumpers' still worked the Portsmouth trains.
Today of course all lines to and from Salisbury are still diesel worked, but there's not as much variety and far fewer loco hauled trains. I always found Salisbury to be the most interesting destination when using the Runabout and Rover tickets, and I seemed to find myself there 3 or 4 times each week when using those tickets!
Salisbury railway station is located in the city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, Wessex, 83.75 miles (135 km) south-west of London Waterloo. It is operated by South West Trains (SWT) but also served by First Great Western (FGW). Salisbury is the crossing point of two routes: SWT's West of England Main Linebetween London Waterloo and Exeter St Davids, and FGW's Wessex Main Line between Cardiff Central and Portsmouth Harbour/Brighton. In the past it was also served by trains to destinations such as Ilfracombe, Padstow and Plymouth.
There have been three different railway stations in the city of Salisbury, built by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) from 1847 and the Great Western Railway (GWR) from 1856, as well as two further railway stations at Wilton, two and a half miles away.
London and South Western Railway
The LSWR opened their Milford station on the Eastern side of the city in 1 March 1847, with the opening of their branch line from Southampton to passenger traffic. For nearly a decade this was the only rail route to the city, until 30 June 1856 when the GWR opened their branch line from Westbury, and 1 May 1857 when the LSWR extended their main line from London to Andover.
On 2 May 1859 the LSWR opened a new station on the south side of the Great Western station, west of Fisherton Street, to coincide with the opening the first section of the Salisbury and Yeovil Railway was opened as an extension of the LSWR's line. As the two railways were built using different gauges through goods traffic had to be unloaded and transhipped in a transfer shed; a footbridge was opened in 1860 linking the two stations to allow passengers to change trains. The LSWR station had a single long platform served by trains in both directions and a second bay platform was provided at the London end.
In the 1870s the LSWR opened a second platform east of Fisherton Street for services towards London; it had an entrance from the street and was linked to the old platform by a subway. It too had another bay platform for trains to the East.
The LSWR station was again enlarged between 1899 and 1902 and the 1870s platform east of Fisherton Street could then be closed. Two new platforms serving three tracks were opened between the GWR platforms and the original LSWR one, reached by a subway from the LSWR's new station offices which were built on the west side of their original building of 1859.
In the early morning of 1 July 1906 an overnight boat train derailed in Salisbury station, killing 24 passengers and 4 railwaymen.
Great Western Railway
The (GWR) opened their 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge Salisbury branch line from Westbury on 30 June 1856. The terminus was on the north side of Salisbury on the west side of Fisherton Street. Isambard Kingdom Brunel provided a brick-built station with a wooden train shed to cover the tracks.
The GWR converted their line to 4 ft 8 in 1⁄2 (1,435 mm) standard gauge in 1874 and four years later a connecting line was laid between the two railways which allowed wagons to be shunted between the two stations. In 1896 a through service between Cardiff on the GWR and Portsmouth on the LSWR began operating over a junction line at Salisbury.
On 12 September 1932 the GWR's passenger trains were transferred to the LSWR station, and the two railways were in common ownership by British Railwaysfrom 1 January 1948. Brunel's passenger buildings now house the Salisbury Railway Social Club. In October 2008, English Heritage gave the station building Grade II listed status.
The former Salisbury Milford station was used as a goods station until it was closed in 1967 and demolished in 1968. Goods traffic was also handled in goods sheds at the west end of the station – north of the GWR station and south of the LSWR station – and also on the 460 yards (420 m) Market House branch from the east end of the LSWR station which opened in 1859. A new LSWR marshalling yard was opened on the site of the old platform east of Fisherton Street after it had closed in 1902, but the main LSWR goods depot was kept at the old Milford station until 1967. The former GWR station remained in use as a goods depot and was used until about 1991 as the base for British Rail's exhibition trains.
Motive power depots
An engine shed, water tower and turntable were erected on the Milford site from the January 1847 as the line was then open for freight traffic. A replacement engine shed was built by the LSWR at Fisherton Street in 1859. The GWR also built a small engine shed adjacent to their station in April 1858. This was demolished in 1899 to allow expansion of the LSWR station, and a replacement built on the north side of the line. This was closed by British Railways in 1950.
A large new and well equipped engine shed was opened by the LSWR on 12 January 1901. This remained in use until the end of steam in southern England on 9 July 1967. The shed lay derelict for some years before being demolished.
The sidings around the former GWR station were redeveloped in the 1960s as Salisbury TMD where South West Trains maintain their fleet of DMUs.
The approach road from the city is accessed from a road junction on the south side of the railway bridge across Fisherton Street, which leads into a one-way parking lot with 287 spaces. The large building on the right of this approach is the old LSWR buildings of 1859, which now houses the Salisbury signal panel. Immediately next door is the red brick building of 1902, now the main entrance where the ticket office and buffet are located.
The main platform adjacent to the entrance is platform 4 which is mainly used for trains towards Exeter and Cardiff, as is platform 3 opposite. This is one side of an island platform, the opposite side of which is platform 2 which is used by trains to London Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour. Platform 5 is a bay platform at the west end which is no longer used by passenger trains, and terminal platform 6 is an eastwards extension of platform 4 and is predominantly used by local services to Southampton.
Beyond platform 2 is another disused platform, formerly platform 1. Behind this are the sidings of Salisbury TMD where the trains form the West of England Main Line are maintained. At the east end of this is an old water tank and the brick offices which once served the GWR station.
Alongside the station is Salisbury Depot, where South West Trains maintain their fleet of diesel multiple units.
South West Trains operate frequent services from London Waterloo through Salisbury to Exeter St Davids, and from Salisbury to Chandlers Ford via Romsey andSouthampton Central. There are also a few services from London Waterloo to Bristol Temple Meads.
First Great Western operate regular services between Cardiff Central, Newport, Bristol Temple Meads, Southampton Central, Portsmouth Harbour and Brighton