Merecombe railway station is the main northern terminating station of the Dark Railway. It is located near the city centre of Merecombe, and is the largest original station on the line.
Merecombe Station was constructed late in 1893, becoming the largest station on the railway due to intended traffic coming from and going to the mainline junction at Galen Junction. It is located just outside the main city, built on a clifftop partially overlooking the old town and Industrial Estate.
The station caused some upset when first opened, as the business owners of the Industrial Estate wished to have a rail link directly at their door, rather than having to bring goods up to the new station. Due to public pressure, the railway ended up building a branchline from Manston Fore (then "Merecombe Moor") down to the old town's Gasworks, where a tunnel was built underneath it to access the estate.
A new rail complex was built to the east of the station in 1899, with a large shed building, covered carriage sidings and refuelling station for steam engines then in operation on the line. A diesel pump was later installed here in 1955, when the railway purchased it's first internal combustion locomotive, No D4052 "Ryan".
The station was expanded from three to four platforms in 1902 due to increases in traffic over the line. A turntable was installed on the clifftop in 1903, with additional siding space also being incorporated into the new section just past the station.
The station is often busy, with many services departing an terminating here. This includes the stopping passenger trains, semi-fast services, and two important express services, "The Dark Express", an internal express running between Merecombe and Galen Junction via a stop at Walschurch, and "The Ventura", a mainline express travelling from Merecombe to London. The "Ventura" used to change direction at Galen Junction, but with the closure of the line north to Raxas Heath and Market Leyborough, the express is now routed south to Horton, where it then joins another line to London.
Since 1955, BR Class 10 shunter No. D4052 (Ryan) has worked as the station pilot here.
In 1969, Merecombe stations was given a new layout following the closure of the Goods Branch the previous year, with one of the platforms being demolished and replaced with a small goods yard to manage trucks in.
Layout and FacilitiesEdit
The station has four platforms, with platforms 2, 3 and 4 being used for originating and terminating passenger services.
Platform 1 is the least used platform for passenger services, usually being reserved for postal services (as the station's post office is located on this platform) or freight services (such as coal for the station fireplaces). However, at peak season, it is called into use for passenger services.
The station houses a large ticket office, waiting rooms, a post office, a small convenience outlet, and the "Pilot" restaurant on platforms 2 & 3. There is currently no disabled access to platforms 3, 2 and 1.
Accidents and IncidentsEdit
- In 1962, a runaway freight train crashed through the station's turntable, with the locomotive hauling it (GWR 56xx No 5670) falling down onto the main road to the Industrial Estate. The accident was caused by ice and poor braking distances.
- In 1965, Bulleid "Battle of Britain" Pacific No 34072 "257 Squadron" failed whilst attempting to start a heavy football special. It's chain driven valve gear was destroyed in the incident, but the locomotive was repaired and continued to run on the railway.
The Dark Railway SeriesEdit
- Series 1 - Pilots, The Shunter's Gamble, Will and Won't, and Sir Eustace's Secret
- Series 2 - Dave and Dai and Taking Out the Trash
- Series 3 - The Return of Sir Eustace Missenden, Like a Sir, 257 Squadron, Tender Moments of Tender Engines, BR Blues, Football Shortfalls, and Super 8
- Series 4 - Tender Tantrum, The Big Bad Wolf, and Turbo
- Series 5 - Haunted Hannah, Make Love, Time Waits for No One, and Time Waits for No One, Part 2
- Series 6 - Fustercluck, Ed, Ed and Eddie, Plunk 'n Bang, Asphalt Assault, Burnin', and The Purple Man
- Series 7 - Futura, Braking Bad, The Road to Colhapper, Ey Up?, The Red Herring, Mothership Reconnection, and What a Clarence!
- Merecombe is currently the largest station on the railway, with four long terminating platforms, plenty of passenger facilities, and a well sized car park for visitors.
- The station has an unsual layout, with double track approach allowing access to all platforms, as well as three separate headshunts just past the station itself, and a large turntable at the end of the main headshunt for turning locomotives without having to travel back to the sheds.
- Merecombe station serves the largest city on the railway.
- There was, at one time, four stations serving the area of Merecombe. The others were Manston Fore (a suburb of Merecombe, station still open and in regular use), Merecombe Gasworks (closed in 1967 due to the closure of the city's gasworks) and Merecombe Industrial Estate (rarely used for passenger traffic as of 1968).
- Merecombe station was given a new layout in 1969 with 3 platforms and a small goods yard.
|Locations on The Dark Railway|
|Colhapper • Galen Junction • Axley • Lake (closed) • Walschurch • Upway • Manston Fore • Merecombe • Soma • Merecombe Gasworks (closed) • Merecombe Industrial Estate (closed)|
|Motive Power Depots|
|Colhapper Shed • Galen Junction Shed (closed) • Merecombe Shed|
|Points of Interest|
|Galen Junction Railway Museum • Caracus Smash Ltd • Walschurch Viaduct • Upway Bank • Gasworks Tunnel Incline (closed)|