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Author Topic: Westbury: the out of use platform face  (Read 731 times)
Mark A
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« on: November 11, 2022, 03:47:44 pm »

Apologies as this will presumably have been done to death. It feels that about 1 in 5 times I use Westbury I end up wondering how much grit that missing platform throws into the oyster that is Westbury's timetable. Last night being one of the one in fives.

Making a connection from Exeter back to Bath, passengers alighting at 3 sent to platform 1.... where a little late running was shortly to result in a train from Portsmouth being scheduled to pull alongside the platform and come face to face with a train from Cardiff doing the same from the opposite direction - the information system announced them as arriving within a minute of each other.

Intending passengers waited, looking surpisingly unpuzzled. Behind them, though it was a warm evening, the stiff breeze caused the wires making up the fence at the edge of the disused platform to emit an occasional mournful howl, appropriate in the circumstances.

The signalling system sat and thought about the conundrum for five minutes before a late change of plan triggered an announcement for the expected platform change to Platform 3 for the Bristol. The suprisingly buoyant number of passengers trooped patiently back down the stairs, through the underpass and back up again.

In this case I don't think anything was delayed - the timekeeping of the Portsmouth train was for some reason a bit ragged for its entire journey and Westbury didn't contribute anything additional, so the grit didn't go into the timetable and was only cast to the passengers in terms of an additional platform change - and Westbury does have lifts. There must be a number of people that see that platform and think: 'There's a line there... why didn't they put it alongside?'

Mark

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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2022, 05:10:50 pm »

Here are seven reasons!

1. It's the freight reception line and jealously guarded by the freight people - they don't want those pesky passenger trains blocking their heidi-hole.

2. I understand that lots of signalling cables are buried in the stones and would not wear well if trains ran on top of them

3. There is consultants money to be made in coming up with a solution, refining it, updating it and gripping it. Wirh a bit of luck, that will take so long it will be out of date by the time it is completed and the work and charges can be done a second or third time.

4. Not worth doing until Westbury is resignalled and electrified.

5. With the removal of duplicated SWR» (South Western Railway - about) trains from Bristol to Salisbury, is a extra platform really needed ;-)

6. It makes the signallers job much more interesting to have to juggle just 3 plaforms

7. Passengers need the mental and physical exercise.


The above have varying degrees of validity!
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2022, 07:00:33 pm »

Apologies as this will presumably have been done to death.

The subject certainly hasn't - but those responsible for this dastardly deed should certainly should have been !

A similar closure exercise was carried out at Salisbury platform 1 - they just blocked off the passenger subway and that was it. The line/platform is still used, mainly by ECS (Empty Coaching Stock), even the platform number is still available if needed. The platform could be re-opened for passenger use at minimal cost.

When (the old) Westbury P1 was taken out of use a huge sum of money was spent (wasted !) to ensure that this platform could never be put back into passenger use. The track was lifted and moved (even though freight trains were using it as it was), a high fence (that East Germany would have been proud of) was erected along the platform edge, even the "old" number of the Platform was re-used elsewhere (another East German ploy). All that was missing were the hungry Alsatians.

Some 7 or 8 years ago the re-opening of this platform was mooted - the cost quoted then was £10.5M..............it's probably double that now !

To call this Westbury closure short sighted is way wide of the mark - it borders on the criminal..................!
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Mark A
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2022, 01:41:40 pm »

a high fence (that East Germany would have been proud of) was erected along the platform edge

That fence. If it's 1985 vintage it'll be coming round for replacement, and a few of the platform edge slabs are starting to need reseating.

What Westbury needs is reinstatement of the platform. What it *doesn't* need is a replacement fence, as the first choice for the replacement would be a zinc-plated palisade fence the length of the station which would give Westbury the prizon aesthetic of certain other stations*.

By the way, given that this is Westbury station, pre-first world war OS (Ordnance Survey) mapping doesn't much resemble the present day station, but find a good 25" 1936 map of Westbury Station here:

https://maps.nls.uk/view/106030000

Mark

*Ascot, anyone?
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Witham Bobby
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2022, 10:41:15 am »

I know the service was markedly different back then, but in the 1970s, before the rationalisation and the coming of Wx Panel, I don't know how the bobbies at Westbury North and Westbury South 'boxes would have coped with only three platforms.  Having spent a few shifts in both of these great  and very busy boxes, I recall well that the Down Salisbury platform was routinely used to run-round the Merehead to Botley stone trains, and the stone workings and passenger trains seemed to get along just fine with each other
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2022, 06:25:49 pm »

Apologies as this will presumably have been done to death.

The subject certainly hasn't - but those responsible for this dastardly deed should certainly should have been !


When (the old) Westbury P1 was taken out of use a huge sum of money was spent (wasted !) to ensure that this platform could never be put back into passenger use.

To call this Westbury closure short sighted is way wide of the mark - it borders on the criminal..................!

I do not think that we should look for “malice aforethought” when we consider the situation at the time.

Everybody involved with railways at the time, including most of its’ staff, were aware that passenger numbers were falling, and had been doing so since the 1920s. No one at the time could have envisaged the complete reversal of that trend which did not begin until 10 years later”

 They had no reason to “make damn sure that it would never reopen” because nobody at the time thought it ever would. If anything they thought the reverse would have been true, and more platforms could close
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Clan Line
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2022, 12:47:26 pm »

Apologies as this will presumably have been done to death.

The subject certainly hasn't - but those responsible for this dastardly deed should certainly should have been !


When (the old) Westbury P1 was taken out of use a huge sum of money was spent (wasted !) to ensure that this platform could never be put back into passenger use.

To call this Westbury closure short sighted is way wide of the mark - it borders on the criminal..................!

I do not think that we should look for “malice aforethought” when we consider the situation at the time.

Everybody involved with railways at the time, including most of its’ staff, were aware that passenger numbers were falling, and had been doing so since the 1920s. No one at the time could have envisaged the complete reversal of that trend which did not begin until 10 years later”

 They had no reason to “make damn sure that it would never reopen” because nobody at the time thought it ever would. If anything they thought the reverse would have been true, and more platforms could close


As you say - passenger numbers (and revenue) were falling. Why didn't they just stop using the platform as they did at Salisbury ? why move the track ? why build a fence ? why renumber the remaining platforms ?  Why spend huge sums of money to do something that just did not need to be done ?
It shows a cavalier attitude to spending public money if nothing else - if not "malice aforethought", perhaps gross incompetence. If they had money to spare they could have done something with the overbridge, which now has a weight restriction on it causing half the HGV traffic to go on a tour of the Wiltshire countryside to get to the trading estate.

If you are going to "quote" my post to disagree with it - perhaps you could quote what I actually said, not what you thought I might have said.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2022, 02:16:26 pm »

The first links goes to the Westbury resignalling notices covering the introduction of the panel box.
At the same time the track at the east end of the station was remodelled, see CRS link and scroll down to Westbury.
The track alteration concerning platform 1 was done at this time, as the photographs for 1984 show, and was part of the wider remodelling for the stone traffic I presume. There were changes to the track layout from Heywood Road Jct.

As far as I remember the fence was a later addition, probably relating to a safety audit.

https://www.signallingnotices.org.uk/notices_detail.php?n_id=96

http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk/witham-to-westbury.html
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Witham Bobby
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2022, 04:35:32 pm »


As you say - passenger numbers (and revenue) were falling. Why didn't they just stop using the platform as they did at Salisbury ? why move the track ? why build a fence ? why renumber the remaining platforms ?  Why spend huge sums of money to do something that just did not need to be done ?


There were two lines running parallel with that platform, to the south west of it.  There was the platform road itself, the Down Salisbury, and next to that was the Down Goods Reception road, which is, more-or-less, the one that got retained in the 1984 rationalisation and resignalling
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2022, 08:42:27 pm »

Apologies as this will presumably have been done to death.

The subject certainly hasn't - but those responsible for this dastardly deed should certainly should have been !


When (the old) Westbury P1 was taken out of use a huge sum of money was spent (wasted !) to ensure that this platform could never be put back into passenger use.

To call this Westbury closure short sighted is way wide of the mark - it borders on the criminal..................!

I do not think that we should look for “malice aforethought” when we consider the situation at the time.

Everybody involved with railways at the time, including most of its’ staff, were aware that passenger numbers were falling, and had been doing so since the 1920s. No one at the time could have envisaged the complete reversal of that trend which did not begin until 10 years later”

 They had no reason to “make damn sure that it would never reopen” because nobody at the time thought it ever would. If anything they thought the reverse would have been true, and more platforms could close


As you say - passenger numbers (and revenue) were falling. Why didn't they just stop using the platform as they did at Salisbury ? why move the track ? why build a fence ? why renumber the remaining platforms ?  Why spend huge sums of money to do something that just did not need to be done ?
It shows a cavalier attitude to spending public money if nothing else - if not "malice aforethought", perhaps gross incompetence. If they had money to spare they could have done something with the overbridge, which now has a weight restriction on it causing half the HGV traffic to go on a tour of the Wiltshire countryside to get to the trading estate.

If you are going to "quote" my post to disagree with it - perhaps you could quote what I actually said, not what you thought I might have said.


I presume you mean the point when (I said damn sure when you wrote ensure. I apologise for that – sloppy writing on my part – but at the time your comment had been included in my mental file of people who say similar things, starting with my adoptive father 60 years ago! In his case he was complaining about the slight retiming of a Bristol to Bath GP stopper that made it unusable for workers at Carson’s factory at Mangotsfield. In his view the railway was making damn sure they couldn’t use it as part of their malicious plot  “ to run the line down with the intention of closing it” (even though this was after the Beeching report had been published and it was already on the list...)

But ever since then I have encountered similar conspiracy theories revolving around management malignancy for all manner of nefarious reasons. So once again I apologise for lumping your post in with all the other examples I was thinking of!

Anyway, Witham Bobby has now revealed more information about Westbury
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