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The West of England line
West of England line
(also known as the West of England Main Line) is a British railway line from Basingstoke, Hampshire, to Exeter
Exeter
St Davids in Devon, England. Passenger services run between London Waterloo station and Exeter. Despite its historic title, it is not today's principal route from London to the West of England: Exeter
Exeter
and everywhere further west is reached more quickly from London Paddington via the Reading–Taunton line. At Salisbury, the line intersects with the Wessex Main Line.

Contents

1 History 2 Route 3 Current operations 4 See also 5 References 6 Bibliography 7 Further reading

History[edit] When all sections had been incorporated into the London and South Western Railway, they consisted of the following:

Basingstoke to Salisbury

Basingstoke to Andover, opened 3 July 1854 Andover to Salisbury, opened 1 May 1857

Branches:

Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway
Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway
opened June 1901, closed 30 May 1936 From Hurstbourne and Andover to Romsey
Romsey
and on to Eastleigh and Southampton: both closed. Link via Longparish
Longparish
opened 1 June 1885; closed 6 July 1931. At Andover, junction with the Midland and South Western Junction Railway to Cheltenham Bulford Camp
Bulford Camp
branch Salisbury
Salisbury
to Romsey, with a branch to Bournemouth At Salisbury, the Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
(GWR) line from Westbury and Bristol
Bristol
had its own terminus: the L&SWR continued the route southeast towards Southampton. This route today is the Wessex Main Line.

Between Salisbury
Salisbury
and Exeter:

Salisbury– Yeovil
Yeovil
opened 2 May 1859 Yeovil– Exeter
Exeter
opened 19 July 1860

Branches:

To Yeovil
Yeovil
Town joint station with the GWR To Chard joint station with the GWR To Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis
from Axminster To Seaton from Seaton Junction (closed) To Sidmouth
Sidmouth
from Sidmouth
Sidmouth
Junction (also alternative route to Exmouth) To Exmouth from Exmouth Junction
Exmouth Junction
near Exeter

The line was downgraded by being singled for long sections west of Salisbury
Salisbury
by British Rail. This restricts the number of trains on this section, but passing loops have been added to alleviate this problem. Beyond Exeter, the line continued to Plymouth
Plymouth
via Okehampton
Okehampton
and Tavistock as the Exeter
Exeter
to Plymouth
Plymouth
railway of the LSWR. This line is now partly closed, with the surviving sections downgraded to branch lines. The section from Exeter
Exeter
to Coleford Junction, near Yeoford, is still in existence as part of the Tarka Line
Tarka Line
(which continues to Barnstaple). The Dartmoor Railway
Dartmoor Railway
still exists as a heritage line and industrial line from Coleford Junction to Okehampton, where the track breaks. Tavistock lacks a rail connection, and the final section of the original main line, from Bere Alston, continues to Plymouth
Plymouth
as part of the Tamar Valley Line. Route[edit] Trains between London Waterloo
London Waterloo
and Exeter
Exeter
run on the South Western Main Line as far as Basingstoke. The West of England Line diverges from this line at Worting Junction, a short distance west of Basingstoke. Network Rail
Network Rail
splits the line into two sections: the first section from the line's start at Worting Junction
Worting Junction
(near Basingstoke) to Wilton Junction (near Salisbury) is classified as "London & SE commuter"; the section from Wilton Junction to Exeter
Exeter
is a "Secondary" route. The secondary route west of Salisbury
Salisbury
is predominantly single track, but has three sections of double track and four passing loops.[1] The double track sections and passing loops are: a loop just outside Tisbury station,a loop at Gillingham station, double track from Templecombe to Yeovil
Yeovil
Junction, a loop at the former Chard Junction station, 3 miles of double track centred on Axminster, a loop at Honiton station, and double track from Pinhoe to Exeter. The line's speed limit is mainly 80–90 mph over its whole length from Basingstoke to Exeter.[2] Speed is further limited around the junctions. The first section to Wilton Junction has a listed line speed of 50–90 mph, and the secondary section to Exeter
Exeter
has a line speed of mainly 85 mph with parts at 70 mph.[1] Current operations[edit]

A Class 159 arrives at Axminster
Axminster
with an Exeter
Exeter
St Davids to London Waterloo service

Passenger services are currently operated by South Western Railway using Class 159 and Class 158 trains. They generally run half-hourly from London to Salisbury
Salisbury
and hourly to Exeter, calling at Clapham Junction and/or Woking and then most stations between Basingstoke and Exeter
Exeter
St Davids although some smaller stations east of Salisbury
Salisbury
and near Exeter
Exeter
have a reduced service.[3][4] The Network Rail
Network Rail
South West Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy (March 2006) recommended building an extended section of double track from Chard Junction to Axminster, plus a passing loop at Whimple. However, Network Rail's Route Plan,[5] is silent on the Whimple loop. The Axminster
Axminster
Loop is centred on Axminster
Axminster
station, and does not extend to Chard Junction as originally proposed. The line between Basingstoke, Salisbury
Salisbury
and Exeter
Exeter
is not electrified. See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to West of England Main Line.

Exeter
Exeter
to Plymouth
Plymouth
railway of the LSWR Southern Railway routes west of Salisbury

References[edit]

^ a b "Route Plan C Wessex" (PDF). Network Rail. March 2010. p. 29, figure 20. Retrieved 11 March 2015.  ^ "Route Plan C Wessex" (PDF). Network Rail. March 2010. p. 9, figure 4. Retrieved 11 March 2015.  ^ "Table 160: London to Salisbury
Salisbury
and Exeter" (PDF). Electronic National Rail
National Rail
Timetable. Network Rail. May 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.  ^ "Timetable No. 20" (PDF). South West Trains.  ^ "Route 4: Wessex Routes" (PDF). Route Plans. Network Rail. 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2008. 

Network Rail
Network Rail
Business Plan 2006: Route 3 – South West Main Line (PDF) Network Rail
Network Rail
Business Plan 2006: Route 4 – Wessex Routes (PDF) Network Rail
Network Rail
Business Plan 2006: Route 12 – Reading to Penzance (PDF) Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
[1]

Bibliography[edit]

R.V.J.Butt, (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 9781852605087.  J.H. Lucking (1968). Railways of Dorset: an outline of their establishment, development and progress from 1825. Lichfield: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. OCLC 31916. 

Further reading[edit]

Johnston, Howard (22 April – 5 May 1998). "Unlocking the potential to Exeter". RAIL. No. 329. EMAP Apex Publications. pp. 20–24. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699. 

v t e

Railway lines in the South East

Primary

International

High Speed 1

Ashford Ebbsfleet

National

Great Western main line

Slough Maidenhead Reading Didcot Parkway

West Coast Main Line

Watford Junction Milton Keynes Central

Secondary

Berks/Bucks/Oxon to London

Aylesbury line Chiltern Main Line Waterloo–Reading line
Waterloo–Reading line
(and in Surrey) Windsor & Eton Riverside line (and in Surrey) Crossrail
Crossrail
(under construction) (and past London to Essex)

Kent to London

Bexleyheath line Chatham main line Dartford Loop Line Kent Coast line Maidstone line Medway Valley line North Kent line Ramsgate (via Canterbury West) line Sheerness line South Eastern main line Redhill–Tonbridge line
Redhill–Tonbridge line
(and in Surrey)

Surrey/Sussex/Hants to London

Ascot–Guildford line Alton line Arun Valley line Brighton main line Caterham line Eastleigh–Fareham line Hampton Court branch line Hastings line
Hastings line
(and in Kent) Chertsey branch line Epsom Downs Branch New Guildford line Oxted line
Oxted line
(and in Kent) Portsmouth Direct line Shepperton branch line South Western main line Sutton and Mole Valley lines Tattenham Corner line Thameslink
Thameslink
(and past London to Beds/Herts) West of England line

Others

Cherwell Valley line Cotswold Line Eastleigh– Romsey
Romsey
line East Coastway line
East Coastway line
(inc Marshlink line) Henley branch line Island line Lymington branch line Marlow branch line Marston Vale line North Downs Line Oxford–Bicester line Aylesbury–Princes Risborough line Reading–Taunton line West Coastway line Wessex Main Line Slough–Windsor & Eton line Reading–Basingstoke line Seaford branch line

Heritage

Bluebell Railway Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway Cholsey & Wallingford Railway East Kent Railway Isle of Wight Steam Railway Kent and East Sussex Railway Lavender Line Spa Valley Railway Watercress Line

Non-passenger/ Defunct

Coley branch line Hundred of Hoo Railway Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway

v t e

Railway lines in the South West

Primary

Cross Country Route

Bristol Cheltenham

Great Western main line

Bristol Bath Spa Chippenham Swindon

(fast services principal stations only)

Secondary

To London

South Western main line
South Western main line
(from Weymouth) Reading–Taunton line
Reading–Taunton line
(from Taunton) West of England line
West of England line
(from Exeter)

Others

Atlantic Coast Line Avocet Line Bristol– Exeter
Exeter
line Cornish Main Line Cotswold Line Exeter– Plymouth
Plymouth
line Gloucester–Newport line Golden Valley line Heart of Wessex Line Henbury Loop Looe Valley Line Lostwithiel to Fowey Maritime Line Portishead branch Riviera Line St Ives Bay Line Severn Beach line Tamar Valley Line Tarka Line Wessex Main Line

Heritage

Avon Valley Railway Bristol
Bristol
Harbour Railway Bodmin and Wenford Railway East Somerset Railway Dartmoor Railway Dartmouth Steam Railway Dean Forest Railway Helston Railway Plym Valley Railway South Devon Railway Swanage Railway Swindon & Cricklade Railway Wes

.