Dorchester South railway station

Dorchester South National Rail

Dorchester South railway station in July 2005
Place Dorchester
Local authority District of West Dorset
Coordinates 50°42′32″N 2°26′13″W / 50.709°N 2.437°W / 50.709; -2.437Coordinates: 50°42′32″N 2°26′13″W / 50.709°N 2.437°W / 50.709; -2.437
Grid reference SY692900
Station code DCH
Managed by South West Trains
Number of platforms 2
DfT category D
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2010/11 Increase 0.520 million
– Interchange  Decrease 204
2011/12 Increase 0.532 million
– Interchange  Increase 304
2012/13 Decrease 0.469 million
– Interchange  Increase 311
2013/14 Increase 0.479 million
– Interchange  Increase 354
2014/15 Decrease 0.471 million
– Interchange  Increase 389
Original company Southampton and Dorchester Railway
Pre-grouping London and South Western Railway
Post-grouping Southern Railway
1 June 1847 (1847-06-01) Terminus opened as Dorchester
1878 Westbound through platform opened
26 September 1949 Renamed Dorchester South
1970 Eastbound through platform opened
National Rail – UK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Dorchester South from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Dorchester South railway station is one of two railway stations serving the town of Dorchester in Dorset, England, the other one being Dorchester West. The station is located on the London WaterlooWeymouth main line. The station is managed by South West Trains, who operate all trains serving it.


A 1937 Ordnance Survey showing the location of Dorchester South and Dorchester West

The station opened on 1 June 1847 when the Southampton and Dorchester Railway was completed.[1][2] The station was built as an east facing terminus with the intent of continuing the line westwards towards Exeter.[3] These plans were never realised, and instead another line was built from the terminus towards Weymouth. This joined with the Great Western Railway's line (now the Heart of Wessex Line) from Dorchester West and continued as a joint line to Weymouth.

Originally named Dorchester, the station was renamed Dorchester South on 26 September 1949.[1] The station remained a terminus with trains from Bournemouth having to enter the station, reverse out back the way they came then reverse again and proceed to Weymouth. Trains from Weymouth had to pass the station, then reverse into it, and then back out.[3] This process often caused delays and brought criticism following an accident in 1877. As a result, a curved platform was provided for southbound trains; this was brought into use during 1878.[4] Eastbound trains still reversed into the original platform until 1970 when a platform was built on the curve. The buildings on the trackless original platform remained in use until 1989. As part of the modernisation work preparatory to electrification a new booking hall was built on the curved platform, replacing the building on the original platform which was then demolished.

Motive power depot

The Southampton and Dorchester Railway constructed a motive power depot at the station in 1847 together with a coal stage and turntable. This closed in 1957 and was demolished soon afterwards.[5]


Although the current station was rebuilt only in 1989, there are plans for a new station on the current site in the coming years. Also, the Eldridge Pope Brewery site is being redeveloped with hotels, apartments and houses. It is planned to turn the station into the first ever solar-powered railway station in Britain. This would take several years to come into action, but the station would not change drastically: the building on Platform 1 would have a new solar panel as a roof.

As part of a modernisation scheme of the station, during late 2010/early 2011, CCTV monitor podiums were installed on platform 1 (similar to those used on the London Underground) so as to allow the guards of each London-bound train have easier visuals of the platforms (because platform 1 has a tight curve, and makes it difficult to see the length of the platform whilst a train is in the vicinity of the station. New entrances have also been constructed from the southern end of platform 1 to the adjacent car park, as well as new waiting shelters built near the new entrance, as well as on the site of the former brick hut on platform 2.


A Class 442 train from London Waterloo at Dorchester South in 2006

The station is served by South West Trains. Services originate from London Waterloo or Weymouth Station on the South Western Main Line and are most commonly operated by Class 444 but are sometimes served by Class 450 electric multiple units during times of engineering work (i.e. when they are not required for use on lines near Portsmouth) or at peak times. The basic frequency is 2 trains per hour each way (though not at even intervals) on weekdays and hourly on Sundays.[6]

Preceding station National Rail Following station
Moreton   South West Trains
London to Weymouth

See also


  1. 1 2 Butt 1995, p. 81.
  2. Williams 1968, p. 62.
  3. 1 2 Williams 1968, p. 65.
  4. Williams 1973, p. 184.
  5. Hawkins & Reeve 1979, pp. 24–25.
  6. Table 158 National Rail timetable, May 2016


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