Templecombe - and the railways

[Junction Map] [Station photos] [S&DJR former Engine Shed & Yard] [Throop Road Site] [Current Train timetable]

Although little more than a village , Templecombe used to be of considerable importance in the south western railway network.  The London & South Western Railway (LSWR) running, east to west, from Waterloo to Exeter intersected, at Templecombe, with the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway (S&DJR) running north to south, from Bath Junction to Bournemouth.  Consequently Templecombe grew up with two stations: Templecombe (Lower) on the S&D line, and Templecombe (Upper) on the LSWR/Southern line.  The two railways were connected by a spur which left the S&D mainline  and continued along an embankment straight towards the LSWR/Southern line before curving into a bay platform on the Southern station.  From March 1870  S & D trains commenced to use the bay platforms of the upper station.  The lower station closed in January 1887 leaving only a lower platform open for trains on the S&D line.  In reality this platform was rarely used for passenger traffic and most trains stopping at Templecombe used the Southern station (Upper).  Trains on the LSWR/Southern line were not affected, continuing to use the through lines as normal.      

The Templecombe spur line - connecting the S&D mainline to the upper station
The 6.5 a.m. Bristol to Bournemouth, with the train engine still attached at the far end, is drawn backwards down the spur line from Templecombe station (Upper). Once over the trailing points north of No. 2 junction, the train came to a halt, and the engine nearest the camera was detached. The train then resumed her journey to Bournemouth, transitting the single-line in the middle foreground dropping under the Southern line.

The situation did, however, lead to a bizarre arrangement for trains calling at Templecombe from the S&D main line.  Down (south bound) trains left the main line at No. 2 junction and ran up the spur straight into the bay platform at the station.  Prior to leaving, another engine was attached at the rear of the train which was then pulled backwards - with the train engine still coupled. 

Once the train had reached a point north of No.2 junction, the engine which had drawn the train backwards was uncoupled and the train set off again on it's journey southwards.

Up trains scheduled to call at Templecombe, came to a stand beyond No. 2 junction.  another engine was then attached to the rear of the train and drew it backwards up the spur line into the station - the train engine remaining coupled at the front throughout the process.  Upon departure the train set off down the spur, rejoining the S&D mainline at no. 2 junction and continuing on her way non-stop.  The engine which had drawn the train backwards having been previously uncoupled and left behind in the platform.

The two railways co-existed in this way until 1966, when the S&D was finally closed for good as part of the 'Beeching' cuts.  The Southern (upper) station was itself closed later in the same year as part of the same plan, and Templecombe was left with it's railway heritage in tatters.  All was not lost however, a local group was formed with the aim of getting the station re-opened.  The Templecombe Station Promotion Group (TSPG) efforts were finally successful and a limited service was provided from 3 October 1983.  Part of the original signal box was adapted as a waiting room, with the signalman issuing tickets.  Re-opening was originally for a three year trial period only, but the service proved so successful it was upgraded and has now become permanent.  A waiting shelter was provided in 1988 and a new building added to this in 1990, when a footbridge was also added.

Since its re-opening the people of Templecombe have strived to ensure that it will never close again, by actively using it and participating in it's upkeep.  The TSPG re-aligned itself to become the Templecombe Station Support Group (TSSG) and was responsible for a lot of the support work carried out.  Due to their hard work and effort the station won the 'Best Kept Small Station' award more than once.  More recently, the station has been looked after and cared for by the Friends of Templecombe Station (FOTS).   The 'award winning station' has accrued further honours under their stewardship and in 2016 was awarded "Best Small Station" Nationally - in the Southwest Trains "Pride Awards" won "Best Small Station" and also won 3rd prize in the Acorps "Teamwork Award" for painting the footbridge.


Templecombe Station in 2016 guise
Only the signal box of the original station and a single line remain.


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