Gloucester railway station

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Gloucester National Rail
Gloucester
The station platforms and old footbridge since replaced
Location
Place Gloucester
Local authority Gloucester
Coordinates 51°51′54″N 2°14′20″W / 51.865°N 2.239°W / 51.865; -2.239Coordinates: 51°51′54″N 2°14′20″W / 51.865°N 2.239°W / 51.865; -2.239
Grid reference SO836185
Operations
Station code GCR
Managed by First Great Western
Number of platforms 4
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures and station information
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03   0.748 million
2004/05 Increase 0.810 million
2005/06 Increase 0.876 million
2006/07 Increase 0.943 million
2007/08 Increase 1.014 million
2008/09 Increase 1.158 million
2009/10 Decrease 1.145 million
2010/11 Increase 1.217 million
2011/12 Increase 1.247 million
2012/13 Increase 1.304 million
History
1840 Birmingham line opened
1844 C&GWUR opened
1851 G&DFR opened
1975 Former MR station closed
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Gloucester from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
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Gloucester railway station (formerly known as Gloucester Central station) is a railway station serving the city of Gloucester in England. The station was originally built as the terminus of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway in 1840, but the arrival of the (broad gauge) Bristol and Gloucester Railway and Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway in 1844, and then conversion to a through station for the South Wales Railway in 1851 resulted in a very complex layout. Subsequent closures and rationalization have left Gloucester with a station that is located off the main Bristol-Birmingham line, meaning trains that call at Gloucester usually have to reverse. Only trains that continue along the Gloucester to Newport Line do not have to reverse.

History[edit]

A 1910 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Gloucester (shown here as G.W. STA)

The railway development at Gloucester was very complex involving four different railway companies and five distinct railway stations. The first company onto the scene was the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway, which was a standard gauge line opening 4 November 1840. This line from Cheltenham was built by the Birmingham and Gloucester railway on a formation built by the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway (see below). The first station was a terminus built on land near the cattle market. This was seen as a temporary structure to be replaced by a more permanent structure nearer the docks when more finance was available, but this never happened and this structure determined the site of the station today.

The Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway (C&GWU) opened a 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge line from Swindon to Gloucester on the 8 July 1844, and built their station adjacent and to the north of the Birmingham and Gloucester station. The line from Gloucester to Cheltenham was upgraded to mixed gauge so that the C&GWU could share tracks to Cheltenham, which meant trains had to reverse at Gloucester.

At the same time as the C&GWU opened, the Bristol and Gloucester Railway also opened a broad gauge line from Bristol to Standish Junction a few miles south of Gloucester, and shared the tracks of the C&GWU into Gloucester station. In 1845, the Midland Railway, which had already bought the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway, also absorbed the Bristol and Gloucester Railway. Similarly, the Great Western Railway had taken over the C&GWU, which resulted in a jointly-owned (MR & GWR), mixed-gauge station from which trains ran on shared mixed-gauge track both northwards and southwards from Gloucester.

In 1847, the GWR opened the Cheltenham Loop line which completed the triangle junction east of the station. This allowed GWR trains to avoid the reversal at Gloucester, but so as to allow GWR passengers to access Gloucester, a link line was built to a station on the loop called the Gloucester T station. Carriages were detached from trains at the T station, turned on turntables and taken into the main Gloucester station. This operation was not very successful and so was abandoned, along with the loop line, in 1851. Hereafter, GWR trains from London to Cheltenham continued to reverse at the main station, a practise that continues to this day.

On the 19 September 1851, the Gloucester and Dean Forest Railway and the South Wales Railway opened a line southwestwards from Gloucester towards the Forest of Dean, Chepstow and South Wales. A new, 2-platform through-station was built immediately north of the existing station, although this was rebuilt in 1855 with a longer, single platform after it was found the original station was too small.

Gloucester Railway Stations
1840
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station
1844
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station
to Bristol and Swindon
1851
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station and line to South Wales
to Bristol and Swindon
1854
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station and line to South Wales
Tuffley Junction
to Bristol and Swindon
1896
to Cheltenham
Gloucester (GWR) and line to South Wales
Gloucester (MR)
Tuffley Junction
to Bristol and Swindon
1975
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station and line to South Wales
to Bristol and Swindon


On 22 May 1854, the Midland Railway opened a new, standard gauge railway between Gloucester and Standish Junction, thus avoiding running on the ex-CGWU line into Gloucester. This new line paralleled the old route as far as Tuffley, where the Tuffley Loop swung into Gloucester and looped back onto the main Bristol-to-Birmingham line. The MR also rebuilt the old 1840 station, lengthening platforms and adding new buildings, but because this was still a terminus and the Tuffley Loop headed eastwards, trains still had to reverse in and out of the station. This anomaly was not sorted out for another 40 years until the MR opened a new station on 12 April 1896, south-east of the existing station, on the Tuffley Loop. The old station was demolished, to be replaced by sidings, and the new MR station was linked to the GWR station by a 250-yards-long, covered footbridge.

In 1901, the Cheltenham Loop, now known as 'the Gloucester avoiding line', was re-instated, primarily for goods traffic, but also for passengers from 1908. Between 1914 and 1920, the GWR station was expanded with a second long platform north of the running lines, two centre tracks for through movements and bay platforms. The two main platforms were also split in two with a scissors crossing in the middle. In 1951, the Western station was renamed Gloucester Central and the Midland station renamed Gloucester Eastgate to avoid confusion.

The station in 1962
Two 0-4-2Ts employed on the auto-train service to Chalford in 1962

By the mid-1960s, plans were floated to rationalise the stations - the 1914 upside platform at Gloucester Central was reduced to a parcels-only platform and Gloucester Eastgate was reduced to two platforms. There was also a proposal for an entirely new station on the triangular junction east of the existing stations, to avoid the troublesome reversals, but this was not taken further. Even then, although the through-platforms of Gloucester Eastgate on the Bristol-Birmingham (former Midland Railway) line avoided the still-current problems with trains having to reverse direction, it was seen as a hindrance because the Tuffley Loop line had five level crossings, which caused a lot of traffic problems in town. Therefore, in 1975, Gloucester Eastgate and the Tuffley Loop line were closed and all operations were concentrated at Gloucester Central. This station was redeveloped and re-opened in 1977 with new station buildings and an extended platform at 1977 ft, long enough to take two Inter-City 125 trains then being introduced to the Western Region. In 1984, the 1914 parcels platform was brought back into use as a passenger platform and a new footbridge was opened to provide access.

Gloucester's second station, Gloucester Eastgate, was connected to the Central station via a covered footbridge until Eastgate station was closed.

On New Year's Eve 2010, a fire broke out in the booking office due to arson and the ground floor was severely damaged.[1] The booking office was closed for over a year while the station was refurbished and a temporary ticket office was erected to the right of the entrance. In May 2013, the new booking office was reopened by Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester[2] and new lifts were installed. Further redevelopment is being planned after complaints that the station does not give a good impression for visitors to the city.[3]

Description[edit]

At 1,977 feet 4 inches (602.69 m) Gloucester has the second longest railway platform in Great Britain, just behind Colchester (2034 ft, 620 m). This platform was lengthened as part of the 1977 rebuilding work and was intended to handle two Inter-City 125 trains at the same time. These trains were just coming into service on the Western Region London Paddington to Cheltenham services at this time and all services were handled by the same platform.

The ticket office just inside the station entrance is open for most the day, seven days a week. Snacks and drinks are served in the café on platform 2.

Services[edit]

The station is served by several operators.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Lydney   Arriva Trains Wales
Maesteg - Cardiff - Cheltenham
  Cheltenham Spa
Newport   CrossCountry
Cardiff - Nottingham
  Cheltenham Spa
Lydney
Stonehouse   First Great Western
London/Swindon - Cheltenham
  Cheltenham Spa
  First Great Western
Cheltenham - Swindon - Westbury
 
Cam and Dursley   First Great Western
Great Malvern/Gloucester - Westbury
  Terminus or
Cheltenham Spa
Historical railways
Haresfield
Station closed
  Bristol and Gloucester Railway
Midland Railway
  Terminus
Terminus   Birmingham and Gloucester Railway
Midland Railway
  Churchdown
Station closed
Stonehouse (Burdett Road)   Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway
Great Western Railway
  Cheltenham (Malvern Road)
Line and station closed
Terminus   Ledbury and Gloucester Railway
Great Western Railway
  Barbers Bridge

References[edit]

  • Oakley, Mike (2003). Gloucestershire Railway Stations. Dovecote Press. ISBN 1-904349-24-2. 
  • Smith, Peter (1985). An Historical Survey of the Midland in Gloucestershire. Oxford Publishing co. ISBN 0-86093-301-6.