Wilton Junction (132m33ch GWR / 85m37ch L&SWR ) was created in 1973 when the former GWR route into Salisbury was truncated at Quidhampton chalk pit and to the west of the station. The GWR lines were slewed to join the L&SWR main line thus creating the junction. A spur of the former GWR line remained to serve the pit, this was from a ground frame at 132m 25ch to 132m 54ch with east-facing sidings at the far end. The intermediate or middle section of the GWR route was sold off and redeveloped in the late 1980s to become 'Pullman Drive', a modern housing estate that can be seen from trains on the remaining main line. In 1992-3 the remaining stub at the Salisbury end was reinstated as a headshunt for the new DMU depot that now occupies the site of the GWR station and yard. This line terminates close by a public footpath crossing at the end of Gramshaw Road at 84m22ch.
My understanding is that Quidhampton chalk pit, aka 'Broadlands Quarry' and unused since 2009, is to become a disposal site for spoil from the HS2 construction works. This will be brought in by rail hence the need to refurbish and modernise the points and controls at Wilton Junction. Working Timetable paths have been in place for several years for these workings so it may be that they will soon be fulfilled.
A scheme to build a four-platform 'Wilton Parkway' station north and west of the junction serving both routes has been 'cooking' for several years but no physical work has yet been undertaken. This was recently mentioned in the Salisbury Journal (March 10th 2021).
Qudhampton - a sort of Railtour
I well remember my only ever 'excursion' onto the Quidhampton branch which happened on the blustery morning of Saturday January 2nd 1988. High winds overnight brought down a tree between Wilton and Wishford and this was run into by 33017 heading the first northbound working of the day, 2V56 0550 Portsmouth Harbour-Cardiff Central. Passing the site of the incident en-route I arrived at Salisbury at 0926 on the (undelayed) 1O32 0630 Cardiff-Portsmouth and found 33017 with its train had already been brought back to the Station, less than 2 hours after the incident had occurred. The following northbound 2V58 0658 Portsmouth-Cardiff (with loco 33022) was still being held so I boarded and it duly departed at 0934, 65 minutes late. At Wilton Junction the train stopped and, with a handsignalman in place to operate the ground frame and give appropriate orders, 33022 then reversed 2V58 onto the Quidhampton branch,venturing approximately 500 yards before stopping. When authorised by the handsignaller the train then set off 'wrong line' up the 'down Westbury' line as far as Wylye ground frame where under the watchful eye of a further handsignalman the 'up Westbury' line was rejoined. During this part of the journey the site of the fallen tree was noted where clearance work was coming to an end. I recorded an arrival time in Bristol Temple Meads of 11.00am, some 80 minutes late but with the service having run. Would such arrangements be put into place today I ask? I'll leave readers to answer that one!!
& Bodmin Parkway
A miscellany by Andrew & John Vines
Here's three more of Dad's pictures taken in 1970/71. Two are details of infrastructure at Starcross - the up starter signal, and the down platform shelter, while the Yeovil Jn picture shows a 'Warship' leaving on a Waterloo train, with gas lanterns in evidence on 'barley sugar' posts. The enormous bracket signal looks to be at the limit for such structures before a gantry becomes necessary.
Finally, when we last corresponded I mentioned that visiting Cornwall as a teenager during the 'Western' years was for me like arriving in heaven. You replied at the time that heaven was rather chilly and wet, so just to reassure you that my view wasn't too 'rose-tinted', a picture I took (rather than Dad), showing ' D1973 Western Bulwark' arriving at Bodmin Road on a 'lovely' summer's morning in August 1974. The loco was on a relief service from Penzance to Paddington, and in its last fortnight of service before joining the scrap line at Laira.