Chippenham railway station

Coordinates: 51°27′45″N 2°06′55″W / 51.4625°N 2.1154°W / 51.4625; -2.1154
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National Rail
Chipenham station entrance 2011.jpg
The station buildings, seen from the southwest
General information
LocationChippenham, County of Wiltshire
Coordinates51°27′45″N 2°06′55″W / 51.4625°N 2.1154°W / 51.4625; -2.1154
Grid referenceST920737
Owned byNetwork Rail
Managed byGreat Western Railway
Other information
Station codeCPM
ClassificationDfT category C1
Original companyGreat Western Railway
Pre-groupingGreat Western Railway
Post-groupingGreat Western Railway
Key dates
31 May 1841Opened
2017/18Decrease 1.890 million
 Interchange Decrease 21,585
2018/19Increase 1.972 million
 Interchange Decrease 21,088
2019/20Decrease 1.937 million
 Interchange Increase 29,117
2020/21Decrease 0.373 million
 Interchange Decrease 6,709
2021/22Increase 1.124 million
 Interchange Increase 24,205
Listed Building – Grade II
Designated22 June 1978 (1978-06-22)
Reference no.1268119
Legacy SystemLBS
Legacy System number462213
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Chippenham railway station is on the Great Western Main Line (GWML) in South West England, serving the town of Chippenham, Wiltshire. It is 93 miles 76 chains (93.95 mi; 151.2 km) down the line from the zero point at London Paddington and is situated between Swindon and Bath Spa on the GWML.[1] The Wessex Main Line diverges from the GWML to the southwest of Chippenham and runs to Trowbridge via Melksham.

It is managed by Great Western Railway, which also operates all the trains that call.

Only two platforms at the station remain in use; the platform by the main entrance is now disused.


Station entrance (1989)

The main line of the Great Western Railway (GWR) was authorised in 1835, and opened in stages:[2] the section from Hay Lane westward to Chippenham opened on 31 May 1841.[3][4] The final section of the line, between Chippenham and Bath, opened on 30 June 1841.[5]

Chippenham was soon served by other lines. The Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway (WS&WR) was authorised in 1845 and the first section opened on 5 September 1848; this ran from Thingley Junction, west of Chippenham, to Westbury, and the WS&WR was absorbed by the GWR in 1851.[6][7] The Calne Railway was authorised in 1860 and opened on 3 November 1863; this company remained independent for some years, until absorbed by the GWR in 1892.[8][9]

In 1858 the station was expanded and gained a goods shed and an engine shed.[10] A railway connection was laid to Chippenham Gas Works in 1906; this connection closed in 1932. Chippenham engine shed closed in March 1964 and services on the Calne branch ended in 1965. Chippenham East and West signal boxes closed on 21 August 1966. As from 1 February 1976 the original down platform was taken out of use and services travelling west used the south side of the island platform.[11]


The original station building at Chippenham was built to Isambard Kingdom Brunel's design and opened in 1841.[12] With the subsequent opening of new lines to Salisbury and Weymouth, the station was not adequate to meet the increased demand and was redesigned by J H Bertram in 1856 to 1858; it is a Grade II listed building, constructed in Bath Stone ashlar with a bay window at one end and a wing at the other making a long, low composition.[13][14]

Platform view in 1989. The footbridge carried a public right of way over the railway, and has since been replaced with a taller bridge providing access to the two operational platforms.

Platform 1 is used for westbound Great Western Main Line services towards Bristol Temple Meads, the West Country, South Wales and is also used for Wessex Main Line services towards Southampton Central. Platform 2 is used for eastbound services towards London Paddington and Cheltenham Spa. On the disused platform there is cycle storage, a seating area and a café.[11]

There are two footbridges at the station, although until 2016 one only carried a right of way over the railway. This bridge was replaced with a new one providing steps and lifts on both platforms, opening in January 2016.[15][16][17] This work was funded under the Department for Transport's Access for All scheme, although the bridge required replacement as part of the project to electrify the Great Western main line, as it was too low for the overhead wires to fit underneath. The footbridge was closed for two weeks in September 2016, eight months after opening, due to drainage issues.[18] It had also been criticised as no lift was provided to the car park to the north of the station, although provision was made for its installation in the future. In 2022, work to install the third lift began.[19][20]

Beside the station is a Grade II listed K6 Red telephone box.[21] In the old station yard to the south of the railway (now a car park) there is a Grade II listed Brunel-designed stone built office.[22] In the northern station yard (also now a car park) is another Grade II listed building, partly in random stone but mainly weather-boarded on a timber frame with a pitched slate roof. It is an early weighbridge house and coal merchant's office dating from around 1840, and may have belonged to Rowland Brotherhood's engineering works.[23] The Grade II* listed Chippenham viaduct, also designed by Brunel, is detailed below.


In 2004, the station received an award to recognise its safety and security. The award, which lasted for two years, followed a passenger survey which found that 98% of the passengers through Chippenham said they felt 'safe' or 'very safe' whilst on the premises. The station is monitored by 24-hour CCTV and is alarmed.[24]


A First Great Western service from London Paddington

The station has frequent eastbound services to London Paddington; and westbound services to Bristol and Bath, with some extensions to Devon, Taunton, and South Wales. Currently, these trains run every half an hour in both directions and extensions to stations further afield westbound are made regularly.[25]

The "TransWilts" line from Swindon via Chippenham to Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury has trains every two hours each way on weekdays and six each way on Sundays. Two southbound weekday trains continue through to Southampton Central, and two in the other direction to Cheltenham Spa.[26]

Chippenham station connects to the Wessex Main Line via Melksham.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Bath Spa   Great Western Railway
London – Bristol
Melksham   Great Western Railway
Wessex Main Line
  Historical railways  
Line open, station closed
  Great Western Railway
Great Western Main Line
  Christian Malford Halt
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Terminus   BR (Western Region)
Chippenham and Calne Line
  Stanley Bridge Halt


There are plans to electrify the Great Western Main Line, originally for completion by 2016,[27] but delayed until at least 2019.[28] As of April 2020, completion through Chippenham is still awaited.

Train operator Go-Op included Chippenham in its 2016 and 2019 plans for a service from the west of England to the West Midlands, via Oxford.[29][30]

The Chippenham Station Hub project aims to improve the appearance of the station's forecourt and increase parking provision by building multi-storey car parks, releasing land for development.[31] There are seven phases, with Phase 1, the refurbishment of the booking office, having been completed and Phase 2 (redevelopment of Sadler's Mead car park) being in progress as of 2020.[32][33]

Engineering works[edit]

Northwest of the station is an engineering works, established on a smaller site north of the station in 1842 by Rowland Brotherhood to support the Great Western Railway, and later supplying equipment to the worldwide rail industry. From 1894 it was home to the company which in 1935 became Westinghouse Brake and Signal, manufacturers of railway air braking and signalling equipment. Westinghouse was acquired by Hawker Siddeley in 1979, then sold to BTR in 1992. After BTR merged with Siebe to form Invensys, Westinghouse Brakes was sold in 2000 to Knorr-Bremse, who opened a new factory at Bowerhill, Melksham.[34][35]

The signals business remained at Chippenham and became Westinghouse Rail Systems, within Invensys Rail Group. This business was sold to Siemens in 2013 and became part of Siemens Rail Automation.[36] Proposals submitted in 2016 for redevelopment of the site include homes, shops and a hotel as well as business space.[37]

Chippenham viaduct[edit]

Chippenham viaduct
Coordinates51°27′40″N 2°07′09″W / 51.46121°N 2.11921°W / 51.46121; -2.11921
OS grid referenceST 91815 73588
CrossesA420, New Road
OwnerNetwork Rail
MaterialStone, brick
No. of spans9
DesignerIsambard Kingdom Brunel
Opened1841 (1841)
Listed Building – Grade II*
Designated22 June 1978 (1978-06-22)
Reference no.1267956
Legacy SystemLBS
Legacy System number462388

Immediately west of the station lies the Grade II* listed Chippenham viaduct designed by Brunel and completed in 1841.[38] The first arch, over New Road, appears to have been modelled on the Roman triumphal arch. It has a 26-foot (8 m) span and is flanked by two smaller pedestrian arches of 10 feet (3 m), and extended to the west by a later brick arcade, making a total of nine arches. All is surmounted by a heavy cornice and parapet. The north side is faced with Bath stone ashlar with some brick patching, while the south side is in blue brick following widening in the early 1900s.[39][38] Chippenham Civic Society has placed a blue plaque on the viaduct, which it refers to as the "Western Arches".[40]


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