Salisbury railway station

This article is about the station in the United Kingdom. For other uses, see Salisbury station (disambiguation).
Salisbury National Rail
Place Salisbury
Local authority Wiltshire
Coordinates 51°04′14″N 1°48′20″W / 51.0705°N 1.8055°W / 51.0705; -1.8055Coordinates: 51°04′14″N 1°48′20″W / 51.0705°N 1.8055°W / 51.0705; -1.8055
Grid reference SU136301
Station code SAL
Managed by South West Trains
Number of platforms 6 (4 in use)
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2010/11 Increase 1.824 million
2011/12 Increase 1.873 million
2012/13 Decrease 1.857 million
2013/14 Increase 1.944 million
2014/15 Increase 1.963 million
Original company Salisbury and Yeovil Railway
Pre-grouping London and South Western Railway
Post-grouping Southern Railway
1859 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 Salisbury from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Salisbury railway station is located in the city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England, 83.75 miles (135 km) south-west of London Waterloo. It is operated by South West Trains (SWT) but also served by Great Western Railway (GWR). Salisbury is the crossing point of two routes: SWT's West of England Main Line between London Waterloo and Exeter St Davids, and GWR's Wessex Main Line between Cardiff Central and Portsmouth Harbour/Brighton. In the past it was also served by trains to destinations such as Ilfracombe, Padstow and Plymouth.

Railways in Salisbury


There have been three different railway stations in the city of Salisbury, built by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) from 1847 and the Great Western Railway (GWR) from 1856, as well as two further railway stations at Wilton, two and a half miles away.

London and South Western Railway

The original LSWR station
The new building of 1902

The LSWR opened their Milford station on the Eastern side of the city on 1 March 1847, with the opening of their branch line from Southampton to passenger traffic. For nearly a decade this was the only rail route to the city, until 30 June 1856 when the GWR opened their branch line from Westbury, and 1 May 1857 when the LSWR extended their main line from London to Andover.[1]

On 2 May 1859 the LSWR opened a new station on the south side of the Great Western station, west of Fisherton Street, to coincide with the opening the first section of the Salisbury and Yeovil Railway was opened as an extension of the LSWR's line. As the two railways were built using different gauges through goods traffic had to be unloaded and transhipped in a transfer shed; a footbridge was opened in 1860 linking the two stations to allow passengers to change trains. The LSWR station had a single long platform served by trains in both directions and a second bay platform was provided at the London end.

In the 1870s the LSWR opened a second platform east of Fisherton Street for services towards London; it had an entrance from the street and was linked to the old platform by a subway. It too had another bay platform for trains to the East.

The LSWR station was again enlarged between 1899 and 1902 and the 1870s platform east of Fisherton Street could then be closed.[2] Two new platforms serving three tracks were opened between the GWR platforms and the original LSWR one, reached by a subway from the LSWR's new station offices which were built on the west side of their original building of 1859.

In the early morning of 1 July 1906 an overnight boat train derailed in Salisbury station, killing 24 passengers and 4 railwaymen.[3][4]

Great Western Railway

The former GWR station

The (GWR) opened their 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge Salisbury branch line from Westbury on 30 June 1856. The terminus was on the north side of Salisbury on the west side of Fisherton Street. Isambard Kingdom Brunel provided a brick-built station with a wooden train shed to cover the tracks.[2]

The GWR converted their line to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge in 1874 and four years later a connecting line was laid between the two railways which allowed wagons to be shunted between the two stations. In 1896 a through service between Cardiff on the GWR and Portsmouth on the LSWR began operating over a junction line at Salisbury. The two companies' lines ran alongside each other from Salisbury as far as Wilton (where they finally diverged although there was no connection between the lines there) until October 1973, when a new junction between the lines was put in at Wilton and the former GWR route closed.

On 12 September 1932 the GWR's passenger trains were transferred to the LSWR station, and the two railways were in common ownership by British Railways from 1 January 1948. Brunel's passenger buildings are still used as offices by non-railway businesses.[2] In October 2008, English Heritage gave the station building Grade II listed status.[5]

Goods facilities

The former Salisbury Milford station was used as a goods station until it was closed in 1967 and demolished in 1968.[6] Goods traffic was also handled in goods sheds at the west end of the station – north of the GWR station and south of the LSWR station – and also on the 460 yards (420 m) Market House branch from the east end of the LSWR station which opened in 1859. A new LSWR marshalling yard was opened on the site of the old platform east of Fisherton Street after it had closed in 1902, but the main LSWR goods depot was kept at the old Milford station until 1967. The former GWR station remained in use as a goods depot and was used until about 1991 as the base for British Rail's exhibition trains.

Motive power depots

An engine shed, water tower and turntable were erected on the Milford site from the January 1847 as the line was then open for freight traffic.[7] A replacement engine shed was built by the LSWR at Fisherton Street in 1859. The GWR also built a small engine shed adjacent to their station in April 1858. This was demolished in 1899 to allow expansion of the LSWR station, and a replacement built on the north side of the line. This was closed by British Railways in 1950.

A large new and well equipped engine shed was opened by the LSWR on 12 January 1901. This remained in use until the end of steam in southern England on 9 July 1967. The shed lay derelict for some years before being demolished.[6]

The sidings around the former GWR station were redeveloped in the 1960s as Salisbury TMD where South West Trains maintain their fleet of DMUs.


The approach road from the city is accessed from a road junction on the south side of the railway bridge across Fisherton Street, which leads into a one-way parking lot with 287 spaces.[8] The large building on the right of this approach is the old LSWR buildings of 1859, which now houses the Salisbury signal panel. Immediately next door is the red brick building of 1902, now the main entrance where the ticket office and buffet are located.[2]

The main platform adjacent to the entrance is platform 4 which is mainly used for trains towards Exeter and Cardiff, as is platform 3 opposite. This is one side of an island platform, the opposite side of which is platform 2 which is used by trains to London Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour. Platform 5 is a bay platform at the west end which is no longer used by passenger trains, and terminal platform 6 is an eastwards extension of platform 4 and is predominantly used by London Waterloo trains terminating here, and local services to Southampton.

Beyond platform 2 is another disused platform, formerly platform 1. Behind this are the sidings of Salisbury TMD where the trains form the West of England Main Line are maintained. At the east end of this is an old water tank and the brick offices which once served the GWR station.

Alongside the station is Salisbury Depot, where South West Trains maintain their fleet of diesel multiple units.


South West Trains (left) and First Great Western (right) trains to Southampton

South West Trains operate half-hourly services to London Waterloo and hourly to Exeter St Davids. There is also an hourly circular service to Chandlers Ford via Southampton and limited services to Bristol Temple Meads or Yeovil Pen Mill. In 2016 a new service is running once on summer Saturdays between London Waterloo and Weymouth.[9]

Great Western Railway operate hourly regional services between Portsmouth Harbour and Cardiff Central via Bristol and limited services between Brighton & Great Malvern, plus a few Southampton to Bristol/Gloucester stopping trains.[10]

Preceding station National Rail Following station
Warminster   Great Western Railway
Wessex Main Line
Tisbury   South West Trains
West of England Main Line
Warminster   South West Trains
Wessex Main Line
Tisbury   South West Trains
London Waterloo to Frome or Weymouth (Limited Service)
Terminus   South West Trains
Wessex Main Line
Disused railways
Terminus   Southern Region
Salisbury and Dorset Junction Railway


  1. Bradley, D.L. (1965). Locomotives of the London and South Western Railway. Solihull: The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. p. 3.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Oakley, Mike (2004). Wiltshire Railway Stations. Wimbourne: The Dovecote Press. ISBN 1-904349-33-1.
  3. Rolt, L.T.C. (1956 (and later editions)). Red for Danger. Bodley Head / David and Charles / Pan Books. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. Pattenden, Norman (2001). Salisbury 1906 – An answer to the enigma?. Swindon: South Western Circle. ISBN 0-9503741-6-4.
  5. Riddle, Annie (20 October 2008). "Listed status for rail station". Salisbury Journal – Retrieved 20 October 2008.
  6. 1 2 Griffiths p.43.
  7. Griffiths, Roger (1999). The directory of British engine sheds: 1. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Co. p. 43. ISBN 0-86093-542-6.
  8. "National Rail information page". Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  9. South West Trains May 2016 Timetable
  10. Table 123 National Rail timetable, May 2016
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