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Author Topic: Chippenham station and track layout  (Read 990 times)
Robin Summerhill
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« on: May 05, 2020, 10:49:09 am »

A query has arisen elsewhere over when the old down main platform at Chippenham was taken out of use.

I have always been under the impression that it happened at the same time as the Multiple Aspect Signalling programme was being carried out in 1970/71 (this was at the time when the then new Bristol Panel box was opened). Others are of the opinion that the old down main platform was still in use until 1976, and the track to the current down main platform (currently platform 1) had previously beeen lifted.

My theory is not evidenced relying solely on memory, and theirs appear to rely on newspaper articles, neither of which could be said to be 100% reliable!

It did strike me that if the "1976 theory" was correct that would probably have involved changes to signalling, and not just a simple case of slewing the track from one platform to another.

Do any of the learned and wise on the foum know what actually happened?
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bradshaw
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2020, 12:26:05 pm »

According to R A Cooke's Track Layout Diagrams Section 21 Bath and Westbury p12 the down line was SLEWED to the island platform on 1st February 1976.

See attached image
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Zoe
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2020, 12:33:52 pm »

I have always been under the impression that it happened at the same time as the Multiple Aspect Signalling programme was being carried out in 1970/71 (this was at the time when the then new Bristol Panel box was opened).
Chippenham would have been resignalled a little earlier than that (as part of the late 1960s Swindon MAS scheme).
« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 12:39:45 pm by Zoë » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2020, 12:35:08 pm »

According to R A Cooke's Track Layout Diagrams Section 21 Bath and Westbury p12 the down line was SLEWED to the island platform on 1st February 1976.

Presumably as part of the HST introduction allowing for higher linespeeds?  Interesting to see that it doesn't look like there were ever three through platforms as I had always assumed.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2020, 12:48:11 pm »

Thanks for the information.

I will be very useful indeed as the Friends of Chippenham Station are putting together a display to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the station in 2021. Its always important to get the facts right in such things because somebody will soon point out any errors when it goes up in the Waiting Room!
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bradshaw
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2020, 02:07:48 pm »

We lived in Chippenham c1950, the house was on New Road just up from the station. Still have hazy memories of seeing the gas turbine at the station and a trip to Calne. We left in 1951, moving to Crewkerne.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2020, 02:33:58 pm »

According to R A Cooke's Track Layout Diagrams Section 21 Bath and Westbury p12 the down line was SLEWED to the island platform on 1st February 1976.

Presumably as part of the HST introduction allowing for higher linespeeds?  Interesting to see that it doesn't look like there were ever three through platforms as I had always assumed.

I think you need to go back further



A query has arisen elsewhere over when the old down main platform at Chippenham was taken out of use.

I have always been under the impression that it happened at the same time as the Multiple Aspect Signalling programme was being carried out in 1970/71 (this was at the time when the then new Bristol Panel box was opened). Others are of the opinion that the old down main platform was still in use until 1976, and the track to the current down main platform (currently platform 1) had previously beeen lifted.

Do any of the learned and wise on the forum know what actually happened?

My understanding is that prior to the HSTs coming in as the major service providers, Bristol bound trains called at what is now the empty platform by the booking office.  There were basically two bays (ending in what are now back to back buffer stops) at what is now the platform for trains to Bristol ... at some point an extra inset on the London end of that provided a further bay and you can still see that in the canopy.

Come the HSTs, the double-bay stuff was taken out, the platform widened at the Bath Spa end and the through track re-aligned to allow for HSTs to go through very fast - after all, there will never be a time that all trains call at Chippenham, will there?  The re-alignment and widening of the platform means there is no longer room for two independent tracks once you get towards the end of the platform, but I believe it would be possible to put in a local platform for a three car local train.   There's even a yellow line for you to stand behind already provided, and a useful gate to allow access to the local train from inside or outside the "passenger only" area depending on how 'selective door' is used!
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RA
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2020, 04:41:50 pm »

Chippenham station has seen numerous alterations over the course of its history. The original station, opened in 1841 and built in an Italianate style, was heavily altered after the completion of the route to Weymouth and Salisbury in the 1850s. An island platform was built, creating a down direction bay and a train shed was provided. A bay for Calne services was provided at the up end of the island platform. The train shed was removed in the early 1900s and replaced with the canopies that are still there today. At the turn of the century, the down bay platform was converted to a through line, however being controlled by both West and East signal boxes required special working arrangements. To negate this, the bay was soon re-established by the erection of back-to-back buffer stops, with the line to the east of the buffers becoming a siding with the curious name of 'New Found Out' (NFO).

The excellent post by Bradshaw shows the dates for the closure of the various sections of infrastructure at Chippenham.

Chippenham was resignalled with Multiple Aspect Signalling, coming under the control of Swindon PSB as part of Stage 2 (Wootton Bassett to Thingley) of the Swindon resignalling scheme in December 1966.

The slewing of the track to the island platform required the demolition of a wooden station building. A refreshment room stood behind the buffer stops of the Calne bay, adjacent to what would have been the NFO siding. This was demolished in 1975. This allowed the former Calne bay to be completely infilled, as it had already been partially infilled with a ramp down to a barrow crossing leading to the east end of the original down main platform following the Calne branch closure. This allowed the down main line to be slewed across to the island platform, allowing a complete HST formation to be accommodated at the platform. What is now the down main line is,  to the west of the original footbridge, the location of the down bay. East of the footbridge is the location of the NFO siding.

For anyone who may be interested, the location of the demolished wooden building is easily identifiable today. The canopy at the eastern end of the current down platform stops abruptly and retreats away at a right angle away from the edge of the down platform. This was where the building was situated. The filled in Calne bay is also identifiable for the same reason with the canopy only covering half of the island platform at the eastern end of the station. The former Fish Dock and the former Parcels Dock are also still extant at the east end of the station near the current taxi rank.

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Zoe
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2020, 04:56:07 pm »

Chippenham was resignalled with Multiple Aspect Signalling, coming under the control of Swindon PSB as part of Stage 2 (Wootton Bassett to Thingley) of the Swindon resignalling scheme in December 1966.
I don't have the notice to hand, but seeing as Swindon PSB (and the associated Chippenham remoted interlocking) were not comissioned until 1968, presumably the new signals were initially controlled more locally (possibly by Thingley Junction)?
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RA
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2020, 05:03:57 pm »

Chippenham was resignalled with Multiple Aspect Signalling, coming under the control of Swindon PSB as part of Stage 2 (Wootton Bassett to Thingley) of the Swindon resignalling scheme in December 1966.
I don't have the notice to hand, but seeing as Swindon PSB (and the associated Chippenham remoted interlocking) were not comissioned until 1968, presumably the new signals were initially controlled more locally (possibly by Thingley Junction)?

Well spotted. Should say stage 6 (Hay Lane to Thingley and Hullavington) March 1968 instead. I had a pile of notices in front of me and read the date from the wrong one. D'oh!

Stage two was the abolition of Chippenham East SB and the closure of Langley Crossing box.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 05:12:39 pm by RA » Logged
MalcolmFromChipp
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2021, 11:19:54 am »

I am new to this and may have just issued a reply in the wrong way! Anyway, here it is. Sorry if it appears multiple times.

Only just spotted this and I imagine you have all the info you need, but I?ll still add my contribution. The track was indeed slewed across on 01 February 1976; I was there in person to watch it. Here is some background information.

The work was undertaken in order to iron out a tight reverse curve on the Down Main line at the west end of the station. This reverse curve caused a speed limit of 90mph. With the introduction of the new HST, 125mph was required and so the solution was to slide the track across. This removed the problem and allowed the full line speed to be realised.

This was the only reason for the work; the former platform 1 having already been extended through the site of the old West signal box in order to accommodate 12 coach trains. Incidentally, the platform extension was achieved by reusing prefabricated concrete platform sections recovered from Box Mill Lane Halt. These were removed from Chippenham within weeks of the track slew taking place.

The line through Chippenham (Wootton Basset to Box) was resignalled for the coming of the HST; signals re-spaced for the higher speeds, additional signals provided to shorten long block sections, and bi-directional signalling provided for additional flexibility. Some of this was installed prior to the track slew while the remainder was completed a while afterwards.

Because Chippenham had already been significantly rationalised before anyone thought about the track slew, the track slew itself didn?t require any signalling alterations except for three relatively simple adjustments. The bay platforms and associated connections had already been removed a few years before, leaving only a simple ground frame controlled connection to the down side yard. When the track was slewed, this connection was abolished and so the ground frame circuitry had to be removed from the signalling system.

The next signalling adjustment was to a signal at the west end of platform 1. This colourlight repeater signal (SN72R) had been provided only a couple of years (or so) before, in readiness for the overall signalling upgrade. When the track was slewed, this signal was moved sideways to follow the track. This signal was later to become a full stop signal and renumbered SN70 as part of the completion of the signalling work.

The third signalling alteration involved the relocation of the barrow crossing and the associated white light indicators. As the lights were driven by the signalling system, moving them from the east end of platform 1 to the west end caused a change to the track circuit (train detection) sections that controlled them.

Much of the platform face wall of the old Weymouth bay (which became the new Down platform) had to be rebuilt as a new concrete block wall, located further out to meet the new track alignment. This made the island platform noticeably wider at the west end. Only a short section of original red brick platform wall remains visible, located under the platform canopy. The east end, as already noted by others, was widened due to the infilling of the Calne bay and the removal of the old up-side buildings.

Finally, the two footbridges were raised by a couple of feet in order to increase headroom, the new track was slightly higher, greater aerodynamic clearance was required, and unobstructed sighting of the new signal at the west end was necessary.

Overall, it seemed to be a lot of work just to raise the speed limit but in those days two out of three trains ran through Chippenham non-stop and so it made complete sense. Also, dozens of these speed raising projects were undertaken between Paddington and Bristol (including the Badminton line), and lots of seemingly minor speed improvements added-up to a considerable time saving overall.
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bobm
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2021, 11:24:23 am »

Thank you very much for that information - it increased my knowledge of the station area.

Welcome to the forum!
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MalcolmFromChipp
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2021, 03:12:10 pm »

Thank you for letting me join. I hope my info will be useful.
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2021, 03:15:34 pm »

Thank you for letting me join. I hope my info will be useful.

Fascinatingly useful - thank YOU and welcome.  Please join in with other topics too (or start some if you wish) - we're a friendly bunch for the most part, and our backroom team happy to hep with questions you may have of us.
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