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Author Topic: The Bristol area in 1962  (Read 662 times)
Robin Summerhill
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« on: November 13, 2022, 01:16:09 pm »

My thoughts recently turned to 1962 when my interest in railways was kindled as a 10 year old, and where you could regularly go behind steam traction from Bristol back then.

There were a few London trains that were steam-hauled but generally only as a result of diesel failures. There was plenty of steam on the Midland main line, especially on the stoppers. The express trains were supposed to have been all-diesel from the end of the summer service, but failures of Peaks was commonplace, especially over the following winter which saw withdrawn Scots and Jubilees pressed back into service as the Peaks froze up in quantity

The Hymeks were being introduced at the time and when sufficient numbers were in service they took over the Paddington to Gloucester/ Cheltenham and the Worcester services, but in September 1962 most were still steam-hauled. So you could get from Bristol to Paddington with guaranteed steam haulage if you went via Gloucester (with a change of stations from Eastgate ton Central via the long connecting footbridge), or via Worcester Shrub Hill

It was possible to go from Bristol via four routes; the S&D (Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway) via Templecombe and Salisbury, or via Poole and Southampton, or on a Salisbury or Portsmouth train, but if you started on a train coming from Cardiff you would need to start from Stapleton Road, Bristol’s unchallenged second station in those days

Things were very different in 2022

If anyone wishes to correct this old man’s memories, or amplify or add to them, please feel free to do so

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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2022, 08:40:15 am »

Thanks for sharing that, Robin.

It hadn’t occurred to me that Bristol Parkway took over Stapleton Road’s role as the interchange for South Wales. I can just remember Stapleton Road as it was when it had its platform buildings. All very different now!

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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2022, 04:40:15 pm »

Thanks for sharing that, Robin.

It hadn’t occurred to me that Bristol Parkway took over Stapleton Road’s role as the interchange for South Wales. I can just remember Stapleton Road as it was when it had its platform buildings. All very different now!

In 1962 the area of land that would become Bristol Parkway was part of Stoke Gifford marshalling yard

Looking back to 60 years ago it is amazing, looking at today’s railway, how many freight facilities there were. Within a virtual stone’s throw from Temple Meads there was Bristol Goods right next to what is now platform 1 (well, on the other side of the through line that led to Bristol docks via Redcliff tunnel), St Phillips Marsh (now the site of the HST (High Speed Train) depot), Pylle Hill, Kingsland Road and Avonside Wharf

Avonside was the central Bristol Midland Railway facility that was accessed from Lawrence Hill junction adjacent to Barrow Road engine shed. It was worked by a 204hp shunter (later class 03) but had previously been the job for 2 ex-L&Y pugs 51217 and 51218. 51217 was scrapped after dieselisation but 51218 was stored out of use at Barrow Road for some time, presumably because if the diesel failed they had nothing else that could get down there!

Bristol docks were accessed via Redcliffe as mentioned above, and also from the Portishead branch at Ashton

Further afield there was East Depot, West Depot, Stoke Gifford, Westerleigh and the maze of lines at Avonmouth. But the list didn’t end there; smaller numbers of sidings that might not quite be described as a yard existed at Lawrence Hill, Ashley Hill, a coal concentration depot at Filton, Fishponds, Mangotsfield, Yate, and Fry’s private sidings in Keynsham to name but a few

Unimaginable in 2022

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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2022, 05:08:05 pm »

Well I have just learnt about the Redcliffe Tunnel, so thank you for posting that.

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