Bournemouth Central

It was not financially viable in the 1960s to extend the electrification to Weymouth. This resulted in a quandary of how to maintain through services and the solution devised was novel. Tests in the mid 1960s had proved that high speed main line push pull operation was both feasible and safe. The result was to have a high powered EMU (4 Rep) at the London end pushing trailer units (4 TC) to Bournemouth where the trailers would be detached and the pulled to Weymouth by a push-pull equipped diesel electric locomotive (class 33). The operation in the up direction was would be the reverse. The down platform extension (platform 4) was often used to hold the diesel loco between workings. Thus dividing of trains in Central station continued into its electric age. Electrification saw a significant acceleration of the service from Waterloo and clock face operation. Slow services were operated by 4 Vep EMUs and for the first time the up bay platform came into regular operation for such services to terminate in the station. After a period of interim operation using some interesting combinations of TCs and Electro Diesel (class 73 & class 74) locomotives due to the non availability of 4 Rep units (some of which had been delivered from York works to the Southern without traction equipment which then had to be fitted locally) the full electrified service commenced on 10th July 1967. However due to continuing availability problems, including late delivery of the 4 Veps from York, the electric timetable was not fully effective until well into 1968.

Bournemouth had long been a destination for trains from places further north than London. Such services terminated at Bournemouth West and reached the town either by the Somerset and Dorset route or the GWR/WR via Basingstoke and Oxford. From 1st July 1910 the LSWR collaborated with the GWR to run a Bournemouth - Birkenhead service which at times contained coaches for Manchester. A well known long distance named train was the Pines Express between Bournemouth and Manchester (at times with coaches for Liverpool and Sheffield) via the Somerset and Dorset route. When Bournemouth West station closed such (by then termed) inter regional services were terminated at Central station. The last Pines Express via the S&D was on 8 September 1962 and thereafter it was routed via Oxford. From 4th October 1965 the Pines started from Poole however the whole service was discontinued on 4th March 1967. However many long distance services, indeed as far as Edinburgh, have survived - today they are operated by Virgin Cross Country.

MPD Here is the beloved grandstand view of the MPD from the down platform extension taken on 18th April 1963. The Bulleid MN class Pacific is 35020 Bibby Line.

photograph by Alan Robinson

Activity at the western end of the station seen on 12th August 1964. BR Standard Class 5 73114 is at the down end of the up platform 2.

photograph by Alan Robinson

MPD Nº35013 Blue Funnel Certum Pete Finem waits for the right away at the western end of the station.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Today the trackwork is very different at this end of the station and the view is interrupted by the over-bridge carrying the ring road.

photograph by Colin Duff

Road bridge
Grandstand Today the "grandstand" - dissected by the road bridge - is used as protection for bicycles rather than shelter for railway enthusiasts. The view now is only of the car park.

photograph by Colin Duff

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This page was last updated 16 May 2009

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