Bournemouth West
1874 - 1965

The Branksome triangle permitted through working from east of Bournemouth which finally utilised the station's expanded capabilities and with that growth of holiday traffic increased its usage, but with all that came the stations's achilles heels. The first was that the station was still a quiet place to be for the bulk of its life with frenetic activity on only a few days of the year which, in turn, showed up its other major shortcoming in the form of a narrow throat: i.e. the amount of traffic that could be safely handled was limited by its entry/exit point as there were no runround facilities provided within the confines of the station complex itself.
Platform 5 plays host to rebuilt Bulleid pacific 34008 Padstow in this sun-drenched view captured in the summer of 1961. There's a distinct lack of human activity apparent which was typical of this station even in the peak summer season other than on Saturdays when the inter-regional and extra Southern traffic created a periodically frenetic atmosphere.

Note the overhead girders to prevent the canopies lifting off in high winds and also the absence of a crossover facility at the head end of the station.

photograph by Michael Blackbourn
Used with permission

Bournemouth West
There was a small complex of carriage sidings to the north side of the tracks as they climbed towards Branksome but that still meant that a large proportion of incoming traffic had to be shunted from the station to those sidings via the constricted throat area. Some of the locomotive movements were avoided by using gravity for the movement of stock from the sidings to the station but that certainly had dire consequences on at least one occasion when, in August 1956, this author witnessed what happened when the brakes weren't manually applied and the parcels office was summarily demolished as a result.
Bournemouth West The previously mentioned throaty complex at the country end of the station is clearly shown here behind the imopressive signal gantry at the platform end. The departing engine on the right is an unidentified Maunsell 'U' class mogul.

Also of note is the steep gradient up towards Branksome which was, of course, always attacked from a standing start and more often than not without the benefit of a banking engine.

photograph by Michael Blackbourn
Used with permission

The bystanders have been moved away from the platform edge and an intent crew await the swing of the starting signal arm to signify the start of the harsh climb from the platform end whilst they control the considerable weight of the up Bournemouth Belle on the drawbar, although this is almost certainly the lighter mid-week version of that train.

The loco is rebuilt Bulleid Merchant Navy pacific 35001 Channel Packet.

photograph by Michael Blackbourn
Used with permission

Bournemouth West
Bournemouth West, unlike its better known sibling at Central, was blessed with the presence of two named trains as the Pines Express from the Midland region was also a six days per week visitor which produced considerable variations in motive power.
That motive power included both Midland and S & D 4-4-0s, Midland/LMSR 0-6-0s Stanier class 5s, a variety of Standard classes including the last 9F 92220 Evening Star and the redoubtable S & D 2-8-0s as well as sundry other classes that were tried on the S & D from time to time with varying degrees of success.
Label Bournemouth West had a small claim to fame as it was one of only four LSWR stations that had luggage labels which specified the station of origin on them. The other such stations were Waterloo which comes as no surprise, Ilfracombe and Southampton West.

With a single exception, that to Waterloo, all were to destinations on the LBSC, Midland, North Eastern and Great Western Railways.The examples shown here are of two types with the earlier style, the station of origin is at the left side, at the top and the later style with the station of origin in the centre.

The labels were originally printed on white paper but exposure to the elements on site and the natural process of deterioration have led them to this discoloured state.

On the right we see the distinctive form of Pullman brake No. 65 awaiting the arrival of 35001 from Bournemouth mpd as the Bournemouth Belle's train engine.

The running-in board is visible on platform 4 and a departing S & D train hauled by a BR Standard class 4MT is just visible at the edge of the frame.

photograph by Michael Blackbourn
Used with permission

Bournemouth West
The end came for Bournemouth West station on 4th October 1965 and all remaining services, the S & D traffic was already known to be ending soon, terminated at Central which, unexpectedy, found that it could cope.
All was not lost however. The eastern side of the triangle between the two Bournemouth stations is still in situ although abandoned where railway use is concerned. The western side of the triangle from Branksome is in frequent use as the feeder line for the Bournemouth Train Care depot which is roughly on the site of the erstwhile carriage sidings. There is no vestige of the station site remaining.
What goes around comes around. The line to Bournemouth West started out as a branch from Poole and that's how it has become today, albeit sans station at the end of the branch.
The Directory of Railway Stations; R.V.J.Butt; Patrick Stephens, 1995
A Southern Region Chronicle and Record; R.H.Clark; Oakwood Press, 1964
Bournemouth to Evercreech Junction; V.Mitchell & K.Smith; Middleton Press, 1987

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