Posts Tagged ‘signal box’

Lavington Station in the 30s

March 7, 2014

It’s a regular question at the museum.

‘Where was Lavington Station?’ people ask.

Nothing of the actual station remains but there are tell-tale signs. One is that a building which looks like a former pub stands at the point where the main A360 road between Devizes and Salisbury passes under the railway just north of West Lavington. The other, for those who venture along the road that runs parallel to the railway next to that bridge is that there is a scrap yard right alongside the railway. The former pub was once the Station Hotel although for a while, after the end of the railway it was given the unlikely name of The Chocolate Poodle. A scrapyard seems to be quite a common use for former goods yards.

The station building was along the road that now leads to the scrapyard. The platforms, made long to cope with military traffic, reached across the road bridge.

All that has gone, but in today’s photo we see the station in the 1930s.

lavington Station in the 1930s

Lavington Station in the 1930s

As is usual in photos of the station, the expensive infrastructure is devoid of passengers. The track looks beautifully maintained with no sign of any weed growth but there is a complete absence of any activity.

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That’s blown up a bit large, but what a polite sign. ‘Passengers are requested to cross the line by the bridge’.

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Lavington Signal Box

Beyond the station we can see the West Signal Box which outlasted the station but has gone now.

Near the signal box there is a mass of points and crossovers.

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Heading off to the left, a track leads to the goods shed although it would appear that access was only from the up (London bound) track on the right.

This photo shows a siding on the right curving away behind the signal box. This line does not appear in other photos and we are not sure what its purpose was. But surely, somebody who reads this will be able to tell us.

Western Emperor

January 25, 2014

If people have an image of Lavington Station in their mind at all, they probably think of trains hauled by Castle or King class steam locos racing through whilst the more humble, local trains wheezed their way along hauled by more humble ex GWR engines.

Yet the station outlived steam traction in the west, so towards the end of Lavington station it would have been diesel locos racing through with the expresses and diesel trains growling along with the locals.

Because the railway network retained a regional flavour, the Western Region was able to indulge in that age old game of ‘let’s be different’. Whereas the rest of the UK went in for diesel engine locos that generated electric current to drive the engine along, in the Western Region they chose diesel engine locos that used a hydraulic transmission system.

Most people would say that those Western Region locos, introduced during the early 1960s were amongst the most handsome of diesels. They certainly delivered more power than the diesel electrics of the same weight.

The most powerful class were dubbed the Westerns. All 73 of them had a name of ‘Western something or other’. The first was Western Enterprise. These diesels ended up generating almost as much fanaticism as their steam predecessors.

And here is one of them, number D1036, Western Emperor, passing the signal box at Lavington. The goods shed can be seen in the background.

Western Emperor passes Lavington Signal Box in about 1965

Western Emperor passes Lavington Signal Box in about 1965

This picture is dated at around 1965, a year before the station closed. It is interesting to note that the train has just passed an old GWR lower quadrant semaphore signal.

These days, of course, there are no stopping trains and what are now elderly, high speed trains carry passengers bound for distant places. Those passengers won’t realise there ever was a station, signal box and goods shed here.