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The Modern GWR

Brunel Train Shed to be electrified?

I was amazed and delighted to read a short little item in The Railway Magazine that the original Brunel GWR station at Bristol Temple Meads might again see trains when the Great Western main line is electrified in 2016/17.

I know time moves on and buildings inevitably change their use. In some cases the change can be inspirational, such as the conversion of Bankside Power Station to the Tate Modern Art gallery. Having just been to Barcelona, I was also impressed with the new shopping centre built out of the old bull ring, Las Arenas.

Mostly though, and this is usually so when it comes to stations, it is a depressing experience. Nottingham Victoria, for example, is a very nasty shopping mall where a fine station used to stand and we can only despair at what happened at Snow Hill, although at least it has trains again.

I hate walking past what used to be Platforms 12 – 15 at Temple Meads and seeing cars parked in its gloomy and unloved interior. It is a treasured childhood memory of mine of how we set off on holiday to the Lake District from those platforms behind Barrow Road LMS Jubilee No 45583 ‘Assam’ Now, though, there is the chance to bring it back to its proper use with the news that the grotesquely ugly power box that occupies the trackbed in and out of those platforms will be demolished as part of the electrification scheme, opening the way for it to once again see trains.

I also hope that electrification will also see other improvements at BTM, in particular,the demolition of those horrible structures at the platform ends that fed the now derelict Royal Mail sorting office beyond the station. They have always detracted from the visual appearance of the station.

Most tantalising of all, the pointwork is still connected that controls the entrance to the empty site that used to be Bristol Bath Road MPD. Surely the Great western Society should have a Bristol base as well as Didcot?? Now, that really is a pipe dream!!!

For a lovely bit of footage of Bristol Temple Meads in the 1960s and including the old station, click below:

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