Devizes railway station


Devizes railway station
Devizes
Location
Place Devizes
Area Wiltshire
Operations
Line Devizes Branch Line
Original company Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway
Pre-grouping Great Western Railway
Post-grouping Great Western Railway
Platforms 3
History
1857 Opened
1966 Closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
A B C D–F G H–J K–L M–O P–R S T–V W–Z
Portal icon UK Railways portal

Devizes railway station was the railway station serving Devizes in Wiltshire, England. The station was on the Devizes Branch Line, in between Pans Lane Halt and Bromham & Rowde Station.

Contents

Conception

The idea of having a railway station in Devizes was first conceived in 1830 before the Great Western Railway had begun to construct their main lines. Devizes was regularly considered by GWR as a main stop on its London to Bristol Line but lost out to Swindon due to its lack of population and growth in the previous decade, expansion of only 5000 to 6500 in size. A station in Devizes was needed to support industry and agriculture in the town as the only other way out of the town was the Kennet and Avon Canal, opened in 1810, which has 29 locks and took 6 hours just to leave Devizes.

Although included in several plans for railway lines including the Thingley Junction to Westbury line and the Staverton and Bathampton line, the financial backing required wasn't available and the fact that Devizes is so high above sea level made it impossible and so as a result Devizes was left without a station. In 1846 it was decided the Devizes line would run from Holt Junction to Hungerford. In 1854 work finally commenced on the Devizes Branch. It was built in 1857 by the Wiltshire, Somerset and Weymouth Railway, an independent company, though they were heavily backed by the Great Western Railway. Its route required a tunnel to be dug directly underneath Devizes Castle.

Opening

Devizes railway station opened on 1 July 1857, 21 years after its initial conception and one week ahead of schedule, much to the annoyance of the locals who were preparing a celebration. After starting with 7 trains a day services were reduced to four a day, most probably due to overinflated claims of traffic before it was built. Although Devizes opened as a branch line it was soon recognised as a stop on the route to London and received all kinds of traffic including passenger, freight goods and express trains. Devizes was later returned to Branch status in 1900 when the GWR opened the Stert and Westbury Railway between Patney and Chirton railway station and Westbury which by-passed the steep gradients of Devizes and got from London to Plymouth faster.

Closure

Devizes Station and the Devizes Branch Line was closed in 1966 under the Beeching Axe. Its failure to gain main line status, which would have saved it, was blamed on its low population, awkward geography and reduced traffic due to competition from the Chirton to Westbury line.

Today there is little trace of a railway station in Devizes. The roadbridge over the old Pans Lane Halt station and the footbridge at Devizes remain. The track was removed many years ago and is now covered by undergrowth. The tunnel built under Devizes Castle has been bricked up at one end and is a commercial property at the other end. And in place of Devizes Station now there is a public car park and a new property development, both located on Station Road.

Although Devizes was denied a railway station due to its stagnant population, today the population has grown to 14,000 which could warrant its re-establishment. However much of the vital land agreements and rights of way were sold off reducing the chances of reinstatement.

References

  • [1]
  • [2]
  • The Railway Magazine, October 1957

See also

Coordinates: 51°21′08″N 1°59′57″W / 51.35231°N 1.9991°W / 51.35231; -1.9991


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