Bournemouth Central

Despite not being the terminus for most services the Central station was a hive of activity with down trains being split into Bournemouth West and Weymouth portions on the down side and similarly joined on the up side. Curiously throughout steam days it was always the tradition that the Weymouth portion would be at the head of the train in both directions, this requiring the sets to be re-marshalled in Clapham Yard at the London end before they returned west. In LSWR days up trains would be joined in the following sequence. The Bournemouth West portion would be the first to arrive hauled by the main train engine. This locomotive would then uncouple and hold east. The Weymouth portion would then arrive on the through line and be reversed onto the portion standing in the platform. The Weymouth locomotive would then uncouple and depart and the main train engine be coupled back on. By BR days this sequence had changed to a more involved operation. The Bournemouth West portion, containing the catering cars, would again be the first to arrive and the station pilot locomotive, usually a M7, would couple up to the rear. The loco bringing the train from Bournemouth West would uncouple and depart. When passengers had joined the train the pilot would pull the train back into a long siding adjacent to the locomotive depot. The Weymouth portion hauled by the main train engine would then arrive and the station pilot would then propel the Bournemouth West portion back onto the end. The coupling operation would frequently be bumpy and noisy with the coaches' buckeye couplings not always engaging on the first attempt due to the curved track through the station.

The station was slightly rebuilt in 1928. The down bay platform was abandoned in December 1927 and the "B" signal box closed on 8th July 1928 so that the down platform could be extended to take two 12 coach trains. This happened at pretty much the same time as the up platform at Exeter Central was similarly extended. A new 60 lever signal box "Bournemouth Central" above the new canopy was provided and this remains in operation today. There was a scissors crossover to the down through road adjacent to the box so that a connecting Weymouth local could be held in the down extension whilst a full length Bournemouth West service was handled in the main platform which then overtook the local via the scissors crossover. This platform extension became a boon to railway enthusiasts as it offered a covered, almost "grandstand", view of activities in the busy locomotive depot opposite.

A look along the loco roads towards the engine shed taken on 12th August 1964.

photograph by Alan Robinson

Loco roads
Behind the scenes A privileged behind the scenes view on 3rd June 1967.

photograph by Alan Robinson

35027 Port Line was on shed on 15th May 1965.

photograph by Alan Robinson

Port Line on shed
73086 Standard Class 5 73086 The Green Knight in the platform on 21st June 1966.

photograph by Ray Soper

73086 again, as she re-starts her train from Bournemouth.

photograph by Ray Soper


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This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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