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Author Topic: Calne branch - past, present, future  (Read 21053 times)
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« Reply #45 on: January 17, 2023, 08:53:28 »

When I walked it, I was puzzled by a sign that said that the path might be closed from time to time. (I can't recall the exact wording.) A passer-by said that this was to facilitate safe shooting of game. A bit of a bummer for a walker having to find a diversion.

(Two years ago I was walking on a right-of-way near South Warnborough in North Hampshire and came across a temporary notice-board inviting people to ring a loud bell, which would alert people to pause their shooting of game; after several hundred yards then rang another bell to give the "all clear".)
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« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2023, 09:47:25 »

When I walked it, I was puzzled by a sign that said that the path might be closed from time to time.

I suspect it might be a permissive path - not a public right of way, but a path the public are allowed to use.  My understanding is that such paths are closed from time to time (perhaps for one day a year) in order to prevent them actually becoming rights of way from being in continual use for 20 (or is it 40) years, to the detriment of future owners of the land over which they pass.

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« Reply #47 on: January 17, 2023, 13:13:57 »

Yup. Another permissive route is the 'Colliers Way' between Midford and Wellow south of Bath The agreement with the landowner is that it is closed for around ten separate days in winter, announced well in advance with notices on site so people can plan. Dates here:

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« Reply #48 on: September 19, 2023, 08:11:25 »

On this day in history – Saturday 18 September 1965, the last passenger service ran on the branch line between between Chippenham and Calne, although the official closure date was the following Monday 20 September. The last steam service to use the line was a Great Western Society railtour in September 1964 and the last freight service the month after. This photograph from Phil Kelley’s collection shows a steam railmotor working on the Calne branch line, with a clerestory coach as a trailer.

The closure of the branch line resulted in closure of the station at Calne and the halts at Black Dog and Stanley Bridge. Black Dog Siding (later renamed as Black Dog Halt) was originally built exclusively for the use of the Marquess of Lansdowne who lived at Bowood House nearby. One of his ancestors had been Prime Minister. The Marquess had his own compartment on the coach used on the five mile branch.

In later life the family relented and allowed the general public to use their halt although it didn't appear in public timetables until 1952. Even then passengers wishing to join trains had to give a hand signal to the driver and those wishing to alight had to inform the guard beforehand.

A siding at Black Dog to cater for the family's racehorses to be taken in horseboxes to various race meetings was one condition imposed on the GWR (Great Western Railway). The Halt had its own stationmaster until 1930 when the post became a Grade 1 porter's job.

From 1930 to 1960 Mr Douglas Lovelock who lived in the station house looked after the halt and its traffic. As the Lansdowne family contributed to the building and maintenance of the station house, fuel and half of the wage bill, the incumbent had to be interviewed for the job by the Lansdowne family as well as the railway.

Much of the traffic on the line was due to the C & T Harris meat products factory at Calne and the presence of a nearby RAF (Royal Air Force) airfield and camps with up to 20,000 service personnel and their families.


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