Bournemouth Central

With the Southern Railway having a close working relationship with the British Pullman Car Company having a prestigious resort such as Bournemouth as the destination of a premium service was a clear business prospect. Previously the LSWR included Pullman coaches in Bournemouth trains between 1890 and 1910. The all-Pullman Bournemouth Belle was introduced on 5th July 1931. Initially it ran at weekends throughout the year and weekdays during the summer, from 1936 it ran daily. Bournemouth West was the terminus for the Belle though it made a call at Central to drop off passengers in the down direction and pick up on up services. Normal services to the resort were also favoured. From the 1938 summer timetable the Bournemouth Limited service introduced two 11 coach trains of refurbished Maunsell stock, this stock also saw the introduction of Bulleid's bright malachite livery with sunshine lettering. One train formed the Bournmouth Limited, dep Bournmouth West 8:20am, return dep Waterloo 4:30pm whilst the other set formed an un-named train dep Waterloo 12:30pm, return dep Bournmouth West 5:37pm.

The next major change to the station and its services came with the end of steam operation on 9th July 1967. It had long been the Southern's ambition to extend its electrified system to Bournemouth and this was finally achieved under British Railways in 1967. Prior to this Bournemouth West station closed on 4th October 1965. An EMU depot was built on the former approaches to the West station though the leg of the triangle towards Central was removed requiring a reversing movement to gain access. The site of Bournemouth West station was occupied by a ring road development. The through roads at Central were also removed in 1966. The end of steam operation also saw the last Bournemouth Belle service on Sunday 9th July 1967, however this had been diesel hauled by the Southern's borrowed Brush type 4s (subsequently class 47) for the final months. However this was not the first time that the Belle had been diesel hauled since the service had use of the SR's experimental diesel locomotives between 1952 and 1954. The locomotive depot closed and was razed to provide a car park. The site of this depot and also the down platform extension have subsequently become dissected by a road overbridge. The Central suffix was dropped from the station's name from 10th July 1967 although to many who were bought up in the steam age it will forever be Bournemouth Central.

41316 Ivatt 2-PT/2-FT 41316 on station pilot duty on 21st June 1966. Some thirty of these ex-LMS design tanks were allocated to the Southern Region working areas as far flung as London, the south coast and the Withered Arm.

photograph by Ray Soper

Nº35003 Royal Mail waits for the road with the up "Bournemouth Belle" on the same date.

photograph by Ray Soper

34088 34088 213 Squadron, minus nameplates, runs light engine through the station on 21st June 1966.

photograph by Ray Soper


photograph by Alan Robinson

Bulleid WC class 34105 Swange and Drummond M7 class 30379 were on shed on 10th April 1963.


photograph by Alan Robinson

The lack of a nameplate on rebuilt BB class 34052 Lord Dowding indicates this picture was taken in the latter days of steam - 6th March 1966.

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This page was last updated 4 May 2003

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