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Then and Now


Salisbury station continues to be am important junction on the main line from London to Exeter. It is joined by the Southern line from Romsey to the east whilst the Great Western Railway had a presence, being the terminal for their line from Bristol and Westbury. Salisbury had a large steam locomotive shed but this was demolished after the end of steam in 1967 and the land is now derelict and overgrown. However there are still extensive servicing facilities for the trains using the London to Exeter route, the location of these facilities being on the site of the old GWR station.

There are a few steam era reminders, principally the water tower and the ticket offices from the old GWR station. More on this below.

This set of pictures looks at a brief visit on Friday 12 May 1967, together with some contemporary views.

My visit in 1967 involved catching the 7.18am train from Waterloo. This was a semi-fast service to Salisbury and a BR standard locomotive was usually rostered.

On this occasion it was BR Standard Class 5 no. 73037.

On 15 March 1998 the Mid Hants Railway (under the banner of Daylight Railtours) ran their Standard 5 to Salisbury and I took this occasion to replicate the 1967 shot.

Apart from the cleanliness of 73096, the main difference over the years is the replacement of semaphore signals with colour lights.

I had a very memorable run on the 7.18 in November 1966 on my way to the Isle of Wight. The story plus a photograph can be found here.


After servicing, 73037 is at the London end of the station waiting to leave with a parcels train.

The large running in board in the 1967 photograph has gone, replaced by an even larger advertising hoarding.

The 2017 shot shows 66-165 waiting to leave with a UK Railtours excursion to Waterloo. (This train is featured on another page here). The GWR water tower and buildings to the right are survivors from the steam age. These buildings are what's left of the old GWR station which was adjacent to the Southern Railway one. Designed by Brunel, the former passenger buildings were Grade II listed in 1972 and continue in non-railway use today. They can be glimpsed in the view below.

34072 "Tangmere" departing from Salisbury on 5 August 2004. 

Another view from the London end of Salisbury station.

The 1967 shot shows Battle of Britain locomotive no. 34089 "602 Squadron" arriving light engine. This engine was the last to receive an overhaul at Eastleigh Works in October 1966 - an event that attracted media coverage. By May 1967, the engine had lost its nameplates but still looked fairly respectful.

Move forward to 30 September 2000 and West Country no. 34016 "Bodmin" arriving with a Daylight Railtours excursion from Alton to Okehampton. 

Over the years most of the sidings in the background have disappeared and by 2016 the land is very overgrown but the old yard lamp survives (see the picture below). The other 1960's infrastructure, the semaphore signal and signal boxes have been swept away.  

Photo taken on 15 October 2016

Published 19 May 2017

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