In our Autumn 2020 newsletter we included a ‘Name the station’ picture quiz. The feedback we received was that the quiz was too hard. Our members know their stations very well, but the pictures were printed in small format in the traditional FoSBR colours of black and yellow!
So, we’re reproducing the quiz on the website in glorious technicolor. There are no prizes. The answers, including brief descriptions of these local landmarks, can be found at the bottom of the page.
From which local stations were these pictures taken?
Click the ‘+’ sign to see each answer, below:
The green dome sits on the Wills Factory No 1 building on East Street.
This tobacco factory replaced a previous factory in Redcliffe Street, and opened in 1886 with a high tea for the 900 employees in the Cigar Room. Demand soon outstripped the capacity of the factory, it doubled in size and was then superceded by further factories. Factory No 1 is being re-modelled into “urban homes”.
This “Welcome to Yate” sign upon exit from the railway station features a tree, an aeroplane and an armadillo on a skateboard.
Yate Town Council tell us that the talented mammal represents the local Armadillo Youth venue and the Peg Hill Skate Park.
The aeroplane represents the local Parnall aircraft manufacturer. Parnall began aircraft manufacture in Bristol’s Park Row in 1916. In the 1920s, manufacturing was centralised at a factory in Yate. The site was a target for Luftwaffe in WW2 and 52 people were killed during German air raids.
The anchor is a detail from the plaque on the wall of the former Seaman’s Mission opposite the station on Portview Road. The full wording is:
“Merchant Navy Association, Bristol. This plaque, laid in the year 2000, is to commemorate seafarers from around the world who lost their lives at sea and used this home formerly known as the Flying Angel for rest, comfort and prayer. This memorial is dedicated to them.”
The Seaman’s Mission opened in 1925; it contained a large concert hall for recreation, refreshment rooms, skittle alley and dormitories for seaman between ships. Adjoining the main building was the Seaman’s Chapel. The building closed in 1982 and was converted into flats.
Bill Guilding created the iconic platform mural in 1999. It is a portrait of the Easton community, depicting 30 life-size figures waiting for a train.
Historical figures are painted in black and white, including portraits of famous locals: WG Grace the cricketer, Raj Ramohan Roy, and Ben Tillett the Trade Union founder.
The façade of the Royal Hotel was matched by the façade of the (now-defunct) Argyll Hotel on the opposite side of Manvers Street. These two buildings were designed to make a formal entrance to the street leading from Bath Spa railway station to the city centre.
The last first floor window of the Royal Hotel on Railway Place was once a doorway leading to a footbridge which went directly to platform level at the station. This was demolished in 1936.
This railway buffer is the end of the line at Severn Beach.
Of course, this was not always the end of the line. The railway used to continue through the village, crossing the South Wales Main Line just above the entrance to the Severn Tunnel, then curving back around via Cross Hands and Pilning Low Level to join the main line east of Pilning.
“Off the Rails” is the name of the station café/bar at Weston-super-mare. The sign reads:
“8 How many minutes to the platform. How many steps until your train? Or take time Off the Rails in the bar with a different wait and measure.”
A TripAdvisor review says “Very railway!” which is surely the ultimate compliment. Let’s hope Off the Rails survives the pandemic.
The curved roof sits on top of the Clifton Down Shopping Centre, built in the 1980s on land that was previously railway sidings and a coal yard.
In late 2020 Sovereign Housing Association purchased the shopping centre, with a view to redeveloping the site as mixed use to contain “affordable and market housing” alongside the retail offer.
The horse and cart sits in the Cotham Gardens play area.
Cotham Gardens was one of the first public gardens created in the Bristol on land donated to the council by the Fry family. The new park, already planted with many mature trees, was opened in 1881.
The striking tree avenue along Lovers’ Walk was planted in 1884. The railway line through Redland opened in 1874, but the station itself did not open until 1897 after a petition from local residents. (Campaigning does work, honest!)
Filton Abbey Wood
The Ministry of Defence Abbey Wood building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996. Filton Abbey Wood station opened the same year, being the third station on this approximate site (after Filton and Filton Junction). We have waited 25 years for another new station to open locally, and our hopes may be realised with the completion of Portway Park & Ride in December 2021.
The lady with blue hair is part of the mural painted by Silent Hobo on the old station building now used by Period Fireplaces.
Interestingly, Montpellier station opened in 1874 (with two ‘L’s), but in 1888 the station’s name changed to Montpelier (one ‘L’)!
Beyond the “HALT” sign, Avoncliff Aqueduct is visible.
Avoncliff Aqueduct carries the Kennet and Avon Canal over the River Avon and the railway between Bath and Bradford-on-Avon. Generally the canal runs to the left bank of the Avon; however, between Avoncliff Aqueduct and its sister Dundas Aqueduct, the canal runs along the right bank of the Avon, thereby avoiding the steep sides of the river valley at Limpley Stoke, and the need to cross the Midford Brook and the River Frome.
Nailsea & Backwell
This CrossCountry HST is approaching Nailsea & Backwell.
The station hit the headlines in 2013 when an escaped cow walked along the tracks through the station, halting services for 2 hours. Headline writers had fun with this story: “Moove it”, “Cattle Class” and so forth. (The cow was safely escorted off the line.)
St Andrews Road
The coal loading tower at St Andrews Road was constructed in the mid-1990s. Coal from Royal Edward and Royal Portbury Docks could run on a conveyor system to the loading tower, coal from west of the river running through a tunnel under the River Avon.
Coal trains delivered to now closed coal-fired power stations at Didcot and Aberthaw. The UK Government has indicated that the few remaining coal-fired power stations will be decommissioned at the latest by 2025.
Bristol Port is constantly adapting to new market conditions as outlined in the recent FoSBR Newsletter 105 (March 2021).
The overhead line equipment is clearly visible at Bristol Parkway – one of the few local stations in the area to benefit from electrification. Electrification through Bath to Temple Meads was put on hold in 2016, as was electrification from Parkway to Temple Meads.
In 2020, Network Rail published their “Decarbonisation Strategy” which proposes overhead electrification Chippenham-Temple Meads, Filton Bank and Bristol-Exeter. The Severn Beach line could be electrified or could be operated with battery traction – options are left open.
Bristol Temple Meads
This “Way out” next to Pumpkin takeway leads from platforms 5/6 to platforms 7/8. This is the interface between the Matthew Digby Wyatt/Francis Fox 1870s station, with the iconic arched/curved roof, to the 1930s Percy Culverhouse platforms.
A thorough history of Temple Meads, from Brunel’s 1840 terminus through to today, can be found on “The Beauty of Transport” website.
The pipeline of upcoming changes for Temple Meads is illustrated here, works on the roof and Bristol East Junction are already underway:
The Cheddar Valley Line ran from Yatton through to Cheddar and Wells. It became known as the “Strawberry Line” due to the volume of strawberries carried to market from the south-facing slopes of the Cheddar Valley.
The route is now a well-loved cycle path, with potential for future extension to create a “traffic-free route from the Mendips to the sea”.
The station master’s house has unusual round windows. The house (now a private residence) was built in 1906 when the line was doubled – the date “1906” is embedded into the gable. This section of the line was reduced to a single track in 1970. It may be necessary to re-double stretches of the Severn Beach Line to allow for increased frequency of service.
The obscure picture of a puddle at the entrance to the (one remaining) Pilning platform aims to highlight the continuing neglect of Pilning, a station that, with both platforms in operation, could form a key element of the transport mix for the Severnside area.
Patchway is one of the few local stations that uses lifts to provide step-free access to platforms.
The sign at Parson Street reads:
“The stop for Ashton Gate”
Not really a trick question, as there is no Ashton Gate station (yet)! Ashton Gate stadium is less than a mile from Parson Street station, so only a 20-minute walk away. Friends of Parson Street Railway Station are doing a fantastic job in pressing for station improvements, keeping the planters looking good and promoting use of the station.