Bournemouth Central

In the mid 1980s the need came to replace the Reps and TCs and new low cost technology now permitted the line between Bournemouth and Weymouth to be electrified - albeit with compromises. Twenty four 5 car units of 23 metre Mk3 hauled coach stock design (but with power operated swing plug doors) were selected, publicised as "Wessex Electrics" and designated class 442. However despite the new body shells the long Southern tradition of re-using equipment prevailed since the 4 Rep traction motor and control equipment was far from life-expired. This required Reps to be withdrawn before the 442s became available and led to again to interesting temporary formations being used. Full electric services to Weymouth commenced on 16th May 1988. Because of the restricted power supply between Bournemouth and Weymouth (caused by the low cost nature of the electrification scheme) only one unit could work this end of the line. Thus dividing and joining of trains in the station is still common. The mid 1980s also saw a short term revival of the Bournemouth Belle using VSOE stock. This premium rate service ran on Saturdays between May and September in 1985 and 1986.

The extensive glass canopy and end panels were expensive to maintain and led to the removal of glass from the central sections by the early 1960s. The station buildings were allowed to dilapidate to an alarming degree resulting in proposals for the station to be demolished and be replaced by a more functional structure. Such plans were thwarted by the local authority and by 2000 the station and canopy had been gratefully restored to magnificent effect. Today the station continues to be a busy place with a mix of London, local, regional south coast and long distance services. A visit merely to view the stunningly restored buildings and canopy is highly recommended.


photograph by Alan Robinson

The final photographs contrast the changed rolling stock over four decades. Here 35027 heads up the down Bournemouth Belle on 15th May 1965. Next stop Bournemouth West - although this terminus has less than five months left before closure.

421397 On 28th April 2001 4 Cig 421397 is the 4:23 p.m. stopping service to Southampton. The origins of the design of these Mk1 coaches stem from steam days!

photograph by Colin Duff

Unlike these - the Mk3 design class 442 Wessex Electrics which now rule the Bournemouth road. A 10 car up service has been formed of one unit reversing in the station and another joining on the rear from Weymouth. A single unit is in the down platform.

photograph by Colin Duff

Wessex electrics
Virgin Voyager Taken in summer 2002 is the new Virgin non-tilt Voyager in Bournemouth Central. This was taken from a Waterloo-Weymouth service, hence the reflection.

photograph by David Glasspool

On 25th May 2005 Class 59 59005 "Kenneth J Painter" passes through the station with a train of bogie aggregate wagons.

photograph by Nick Beck

Virgin Voyager A four car Class 220 Voyager arrives from Edinburgh.  As can be seen, the palms have given way to weeds and scattered rubbish, with the station often getting criticism in the local press as a result!

photograph by Nick Beck

After a quick layover in the adjacent sidings, the Voyager forms the next service to the North - depending on the time of day, the destination can be Leeds, Newcastle or Edinburgh.

photograph by Nick Beck

Virgin Voyager

All photographs are copyright

First | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | Last

This page was last updated 16 July 2006

SR Target

Valid CSS!    Valid HTML 4.01!