West of England Main Line

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West of England Main Line
Templecombe 159004.jpg
Templecombe station
Overview
Type Suburban rail, Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Stations 22
Operation
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) South West Trains
Depot(s) Salisbury TMD
Rolling stock Class 158 "Express Sprinter"
Class 159 "South Western Turbo"
Technical
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
West of England Main Line
0.00 London Waterloo
South Western Main Line
47.76 Basingstoke
50.26 Worting Junction
To Southampton
Oakley
55.56 Overton
59.08 Whitchurch
Didcot - Winchester
Hurstbourne
To Southampton via Longparish
To Southampton via Andover Town
66.24 Andover
Red Post JunctionTo Cheltenham
72.61 Grateley
To Bulford Camp
Idmiston Halt
Porton
To Southampton
83.48 Salisbury
To Westbury
Wilton South
Barford St Martin Viaduct
Dinton
Fovant Military Railway
96.18 Tisbury
Tisbury West
Semley
105.23 Gillingham
Gillingham Viaduct
Buckhorn Weston Tunnel
S&DJR, Bath - Bournemouth
111.99 Templecombe
Milborne Port
Sherborne
118.05 Sherborne
Castle Cary to Weymouth
To Yeovil Town
122.60 Yeovil Junction
Sutton Bingham
131.41 Crewkerne
Crewkerne Tunnel
Hewish
Chard Junction
139.44 Chard Junction
Chard Branch Line
Broom
Axminster
144.51 Axminster
To Lyme Regis
To Seaton
Seaton Junction
Honiton Tunnel
154.70 Honiton
Roundball Halt
To Sidmouth
River Otter Viaduct
159.30 Feniton
Feniton
163.03 Whimple
Cannaford
Broad Clyst
Pinhoe
168.55 Pinhoe
Whipton Bridge Halt
Exmouth JunctionTo Exmouth
Mount Pleasant Road Halt
Blackboy Tunnel
170.90 St James Park
171.38 Exeter Central
St David's Tunnel
To Penzance
172.15 Exeter St Davids
Red Cow Crossing
Cowley Bridge JnTo Taunton
To Barnstapleand former route to Plymouth

The West of England Main Line is a British railway line from Basingstoke, Hampshire to Exeter St Davids in Devon, England. Passenger services run between London Waterloo station and Exeter. Despite its historic title, it is not today's principal route from London to the West of England: Exeter and everywhere further west is reached more quickly by First Great Western services from London Paddington. At Salisbury, the line intersects with the Wessex Main Line.

History[edit]

When all sections had been incorporated into the London and South Western Railway, they consisted of the following:

  • Basingstoke to Salisbury
    • Basingstoke to Andover, opened 3 July 1854
    • Andover to Salisbury, opened 1 May 1857
  • Between Salisbury and Exeter:
    • Salisbury — Yeovil opened 2 May 1859
    • Yeovil — Exeter opened 19 July 1860
  • Branches:
    • To Yeovil Town joint station with the GWR
    • To Chard joint station with the GWR
    • To Lyme Regis from Axminster
    • To Seaton from Seaton Junction (closed)
    • To Sidmouth from Sidmouth Junction (also alternative route to Exmouth)
    • To Exmouth from Exmouth Junction near Exeter

The line was downgraded by being singled for long sections west of Salisbury by British Rail. This restricts the number of trains on this section, but passing loops have been added to alleviate this problem.

Route[edit]

Trains between London Waterloo and Exeter run on the South Western Main Line as far as Basingstoke. The West of England Line diverges from this at Worting Junction, a short distance west of Basingstoke. Some sections of the line between Salisbury and Pinhoe are single-track.

Current operations[edit]

A Class 159 arrives at Axminster with an Exeter St Davids to London Waterloo service

Passenger services are currently operated by South West Trains using Class 159 and Class 158 trains. They generally run half-hourly from London to Salisbury, and hourly to Exeter. The Network Rail South West Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy (March 2006) recommended building an extended section of double track from Chard Junction to Axminster, plus a passing loop at Whimple. However, Network Rail's Route Plan,[1] is silent on the Whimple loop. The Axminster Loop is centred on Axminster station, and does not extend to Chard Junction as originally proposed.

An hourly service runs between Exeter and London Waterloo (almost clockface except for a few early morning services) from[2] 12 December 2010. Stations between Exeter Central and Honiton (Pinhoe, Whimple and Feniton) retain a two-hourly service, with services calling at Pinhoe, or Whimple and Feniton, with few services calling at all three stations, however in the Winter 2013/Spring 2014 timetable services will altered and the calling points will be Exeter, Pinhoe, Whimple and Honiton or Exeter, Feniton and Honiton. Some services in the afternoon and evening will call additionally at all three stations. South West Trains no longer runs beyond Exeter from December 2009.

The line is not electrified (except for the SWML portion).

Typical off-peak services in trains per hour are:

Between London Waterloo and Basingstoke, trains call at Clapham Junction and Woking.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Route 4: Wessex Routes". Route Plans. Network Rail. 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2008. 
  2. ^ "Table 160: London to Salisbury and Exeter" (PDF). Electronic National Rail Timetable. Network Rail. December 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 

Bibliography[edit]