Lavington Station – a new photo

Railways are always popular so it is probably no surprise that there are many photos of Lavington Station. The station was sited close by where the main road between Devizes and Salisbury crosses the railway – technically this is in the parish of West Lavington but the station served all of the Lavingtons including Easterton. A permissive path – the cinder path – was made alongside the embankment so that people from Market Lavington had a mud free walk to the station.

Our new photo shows trains as well as the station and poses a few questions for us. We hope a railway  enthusiast will be able to provide answers.

Lavington Railway Station - busy with trains

Lavington Railway Station – busy with trains

The photographer was standing on the plank construction down platform. We are looking approximately due west.


Gas lamps? Radio mast? Can anyone put us right please?

Let’s break the photo down a bit and pose our questions. We’ll start on the left.

We have a fine lamp but can anybody tell us what fuel it used? If it was gas, then where did the gas come from?

And what was that structure outside the station which looks to be some kind of radio mast. When was it built? When did it vanish? And just what did it do?

Lavington Station building and yard

Lavington Station building and yard

Here we see the main station building. The Lavington sign is too sideways on to read and the only sign we can make out is the one which indicates ‘gentlemen’. There is a bicycle and members of staff. Is that an early railway enthusiast on the far end of the platform? Can anybody make out enough of the train apparently departing? It appears to have passenger carriages, but the end vehicle looks odd. Do tell us about it. And is that a large goods shed visible just under the footbridge?

The train standing at lavington Platform is.... Can you help us?

The train standing at Lavington Platform is…. Can you help us?

The train standing at the up platform appears to have a very mixed rake of carriages. maybe somebody could tell us about them and date the picture for us. It’s a shame we can’t read the route board on the near coach.


Is that a gas tank on the roof?

 These two carriages could have the numbers 3458 and 7098 although they are not clear and so may be mis-read. Does that help anybody to tell us more? And what is that tank on the roof of the leading carriage? Our guess is gas storage for carriage lighting.

So we have a photo which is delightful in itself, but we hope to learn more from it – with your help.

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5 Responses to “Lavington Station – a new photo”

  1. Tim Says:

    The ‘mast’ outside the station is just another lamp I think, with either a tree or crease in the photograph above it making it look taller

  2. Richard Kelham (@RichardKelham) Says:

    Though I cannot tie in the numbers you quote, the carriage with the tank on the roof is a slip coach, possibly diagram F12 number 7092, the tank being used to ‘store’ a vacuum so that the guard could control the brakes after slipping from the rest of the train. As this is an up train it is probably being worked back to London in an ordinary train. Alternatively, if this is a war-time photo, it could be in use as a normal brake composite carriage.

    The other carriage is a ‘Toplight’ 3rd. These were built in two lengths: 56/7 foot long and 70 foot. The train is in the crimson lake livery applied between 1912 and 1922 – so this could be a WW1 period photo.

  3. Chris Leigh Says:

    In the third picture, the train heading away from the camera is a goods train and the wooden vehicle at the back is a guard’s brake van, known on the GWR as a ‘Toad’. At its other end it would have an open verandah where the guard would stand when operating his handbrake and/or the sand lever, to assist in stopping the goods wagons.
    The Gents toilet which is signposted would be entered through the door in the end of the building. The ‘Ladies’ would be reached from inside the building, there being a separate Ladies Waiting Room with ‘ensuite’ access to the loo. I recently purchased, at auction, the LADIES ROOM door plate from Lavington station. It is cast iron and unrestored, so still carries the paint which it did when removed from the door after the station closed in 1966. (Chris Leigh, author, GWR Country Stations)

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