Thursday, 19 July 2012

Bristol Temple Meads

The other day I had to go to Bristol for a work meeting and took the train. It's a fair chug down from Blackpool to Bristol, involving changes at Preston and Birmingham New Street.

As I got off the train onto the platform at Bristol Temple Meads I thought my luck was in and that a steam train was in the station. It turned out to be a static display of old coaches bearing adverts for the Dartmouth Steam Railway in Devon. This used to be known as the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway so what Paignton have done to be so ignobly dropped from the name I'm not sure - the train still starts from there.

Bristol Temple Meads has an interesting history, being the original western terminus of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Western Railway (GWR). The original station has changed a lot, being expanded twice and having extra platforms slotted in when the broad gauge (7 feet and a quarter inch) track originally used by Brunel was converted to standard gauge of four feet eight and a half inches.

It has platforms numbered from 1-15. Passenger trains do not use platform two and platform 14 does not exist. Some of the signage refers to an older platform numbering system. Altogether my sort of station!

Temple Meads refers to a nearby church built originally by the Knights Templars and "Meads" being an old word for meadow - the area around the station was meadow at the time of building.

Large version of the photo: temple meads

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