Bristol Temple Meads railway station
Bristol Temple Meads is the oldest and largest railway station in Bristol, England. It is an important transport hub for public transport in the city. In addition to the train services there are bus services to many parts of the city and surrounding districts, a ferry to the city centre. Bristol's other major station, Bristol Parkway, is on the northern outskirts of the conurbation. Temple Meads was opened on 31 August 1840 as the western terminus of the Great Western Railway from London Paddington, 116 miles 31 chains from Paddington; the railway was the first to be designed by the British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Soon the station was used by the Bristol and Exeter Railway, the Bristol and Gloucester Railway, the Bristol Harbour Railway and the Bristol and South Wales Union Railway. To accommodate the increasing number of trains, the station was expanded in the 1870s by Francis Fox and again between 1930 and 1935 by Percy Emerson Culverhouse. Brunel's terminus is no longer part of the operational station.
The historical significance of the station has been noted, most of the site is Grade I listed. The platforms are numbered 1 to 15 but passenger trains are confined to just eight tracks. Most platforms are numbered separately at each end, with odd numbers at the east end and numbers at the west. Platform 2 is not signalled for passenger trains, there is no platform 14. Temple Meads is managed by Network Rail and the majority of services are operated by the present-day Great Western Railway. Other operators are South Western Railway. In the 12 months to March 2014, 9.5 million entries and exits were recorded at the station. In Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations by Simon Jenkins, the station was one of only ten to be awarded five stars; the name Temple Meads derives from the nearby Temple Church, gutted by bombing during World War II. The word "meads" is a derivation of "mæd", an Old English variation of "mædwe", referring to the water meadows alongside the River Avon that were part of Temple parish.
As late as 1820 the site was undeveloped pasture outside the boundaries of the old city, some distance from the commercial centre. It lay between the Floating Harbour and the city's cattle market, built in 1830; the original terminus was built in 1839–41 for the Great Western Railway, the first passenger railway in Bristol, was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the railway's engineer. It was built to accommodate Brunel's 7 ft broad gauge; the station was on a viaduct to raise it above the level of the Floating Harbour and River Avon, the latter being crossed via the grade I listed Avon Bridge. The station was covered by a 200-foot train shed, extended beyond the platforms by 155 feet into a storage area and engine shed, fronted by an office building in the Tudor style. Train services to Bath commenced on 31 August 1840 and were extended to Paddington on 30 June 1841 following the completion of Box Tunnel. A few weeks before the start of the services to Paddington the Bristol and Exeter Railway had opened, on 14 June 1841, its trains reversing in and out of the GWR station.
The third railway at Temple Meads was the Bristol and Gloucester Railway, which opened on 8 July 1844 and was taken over by the Midland Railway on 1 July 1845. This used the GWR platforms, diverging onto its own line on the far side of the bridge over the Floating Harbour. Both these new railways were engineered by Brunel and were broad gauge. Brunel designed the Bristol and South Wales Union Railway, but this was not opened until 25 August 1863, nearly four years after his death, it terminated at Temple Meads. In 1845 the B&ER built its own station at right angles to the GWR station and an "express platform" on the curve linking the two lines so that through trains no longer had to reverse; the wooden B&ER station was known locally as "The Cowshed". The Bristol and Portishead Pier and Railway opened a branch off the Bristol and Exeter line west of the city on 18 April 1867, the trains being operated by the B&ER and using its platforms at Temple Meads. In 1850 an engine shed had been opened on the south bank of the River Avon on the east side of the line to the B&ER station.
Between 1859 and 1875, 23 engines were built in the workshops attached to the shed, including several distinctive Bristol and Exeter Railway 4-2-4T locomotives. The GWR built a 326-by-138-foot goods shed on the north side of the station adjacent to the Floating Harbour, with a small dock for transhipment of goods to barges. Wagons had to be lowered 12 feet to the goods shed on hoists. On 11 March 1872, a direct connection to the harbour was made in the form of the Bristol Harbour Railway, a joint operation of the three railways, which ran between the passenger station and the goods yard, across the street outside on a bridge, descended into a tunnel under the churchyard of St. Mary Redcliffe on its way to a wharf downstream of Bristol Bridge; the B&ER had a goods depot at Pylle Hill from 1850, the MR had an independent yard at Avonside Wharf on the opposite side of the Floating Harbour from 1858. On 29 May 1854 the Midland Railway laid a third rail along their line to Gloucester to provide mixed gauge so that it could operate 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in standard gauge passenger trains while broad gauge goods trains could still run to collieries north of Bristol.
Sidings at South Wales Junction allowed traffic to be transhipped between wagons on the two different gauges. The GWR continued to operate its trains on the broad gauge, but on 3
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was an English mechanical and civil engineer, considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history", "one of the 19th-century engineering giants", "one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, changed the face of the English landscape with his groundbreaking designs and ingenious constructions". Brunel built dockyards, the Great Western Railway, a series of steamships including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship, numerous important bridges and tunnels, his designs revolutionised modern engineering. Though Brunel's projects were not always successful, they contained innovative solutions to long-standing engineering problems. During his career, Brunel achieved many engineering firsts, including assisting in the building of the first tunnel under a navigable river and development of SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven, ocean-going, iron ship, when built in 1843, was the largest ship built. Brunel set the standard for a well-built railway, using careful surveys to minimise gradients and curves.
This necessitated expensive construction techniques, new bridges, new viaducts, the two-mile long Box Tunnel. One controversial feature was the wide gauge, a "broad gauge" of 7 ft 1⁄4 in, instead of what was to be known as "standard gauge" of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in, he astonished Britain by proposing to extend the Great Western Railway westward to North America by building steam-powered, iron-hulled ships. He designed and built three ships that revolutionised naval engineering: the SS Great Western, the SS Great Britain, the SS Great Eastern. In 2002, Brunel was placed second in a BBC public poll to determine the "100 Greatest Britons". In 2006, the bicentenary of his birth, a major programme of events celebrated his life and work under the name Brunel 200. Brunel's given names come from his parents; the first name Isambard was his French-born father's middle name, his father's preferred given name. Isambard is a Norman name of Germanic origin, meaning either "iron-bright" or "iron-axe"; the first element comes from isarn meaning iron.
The second element comes from barđa. His middle name Kingdom was his mother's maiden name; the son of French civil engineer Sir Marc Isambard Brunel and an English mother Sophia Kingdom, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born on 9 April 1806 in Britain Street, Portsmouth, where his father was working on block-making machinery. He had two older sisters and Emma, the whole family moved to London in 1808 for his father's work. Brunel had a happy childhood, despite the family's constant money worries, with his father acting as his teacher during his early years, his father taught him drawing and observational techniques from the age of four and Brunel had learned Euclidean geometry by eight. During this time he learned fluent French and the basic principles of engineering, he was encouraged to identify any faults in their structure. When Brunel was eight he was sent to Dr Morrell's boarding school in Hove, where he learned the classics, his father, a Frenchman by birth, was determined that Brunel should have access to the high-quality education he had enjoyed in his youth in France.
When Brunel was 15, his father Marc, who had accumulated debts of over £5,000, was sent to a debtors' prison. After three months went by with no prospect of release, Marc let it be known that he was considering an offer from the Tsar of Russia. In August 1821, facing the prospect of losing a prominent engineer, the government relented and issued Marc £5,000 to clear his debts in exchange for his promise to remain in Britain; when Brunel completed his studies at Henri-IV in 1822, his father had him presented as a candidate at the renowned engineering school École Polytechnique, but as a foreigner he was deemed ineligible for entry. Brunel subsequently studied under the prominent master clockmaker and horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet, who praised Brunel's potential in letters to his father. In late 1822, having completed his apprenticeship, Brunel returned to England. Brunel worked for several years as an assistant engineer on the project to create a tunnel under London's River Thames between Rotherhithe and Wapping, with tunnellers driving a horizontal shaft from one side of the river to the other under the most difficult and dangerous conditions.
The project was funded by the Thames Tunnel Company and Brunel's father, was the chief engineer. The American Naturalist said "It is stated that the operations of the Teredo suggested to Mr. Brunel his method of tunneling the Thames."The composition of the riverbed at Rotherhithe was little more than waterlogged sediment and loose gravel. An ingenious tunnelling shield designed by Marc Brunel helped protect workers from cave-ins, but two incidents of severe flooding halted work for long periods, killing several workers and badly injuring the younger Brunel; the latter incident, in 1828, killed the two most senior miners, Brunel himself narrowly escaped death. He was injured, spent six months recuperating; the event stopped work on the tunnel for several years. Though the Thames Tunnel was completed during Marc Brunel's lifetime, his son had no further involvement with the tunnel proper, only using the abandoned works at Rotherhithe to further his abortive Gaz experiments; this was based on an idea of his father's, was intended to develop into an engine that ran
Chippenham is a large historic market town in northwest Wiltshire, England. It lies 20 miles east of Bristol, 86 miles west of London and 4 miles west of The Cotswolds AONB; the town was established on a crossing of the River Avon and some form of settlement is believed to have existed there since before Roman times. It was a royal vill, a royal hunting lodge, under Alfred the Great; the town continued to grow when the Great Western Railway arrived in 1841. Chippenham is twinned with La Flèche in Friedberg in Germany; the town's motto is Loyalty. Chippenham is in western Wiltshire, at a prominent crossing of the River Avon, between the Marlborough Downs to the east, the southern Cotswolds to the north and west and Salisbury Plain to the southeast; the town is surrounded by sparsely populated countryside and there are several woodlands in or near the town, such as Bird's Marsh, Vincients Wood and Briars Wood. Suburbs include Cepen Park, Monkton, Pewsham, Primrose Hill, Frogwell, The Folly, Queens Crescent, Fenway Park, Hill Rise, loosely corresponding to local government wards.
Chippenham lies 4 miles south of the M4 motorway, which links the town to Bristol, South Wales and London. The A4 former coach road, A420 and B4069 provide further road links to Bath and Oxford; the town is bypassed to the west by the A350, which links the M4 motorway with Chippenham and nearby towns to the south, such as Melksham and Trowbridge. The A4 national route crosses the southern part of the town, linking Chippenham to nearby Corsham and Bath. Local councillors have called for an eastern extension linking the A4 to the A350 north of Cepen Park, although this has been opposed by many residents. Chippenham has a bus station with several companies serving it; these include Stagecoach with the route 55 to Swindon, Faresaver with the X31 to Bath, X34 to Trowbridge and Frome, 33 to Devizes as well as several local routes, Coachstyle with the 92 to Malmesbury. First Bus operate a small number of late evening buses on the X31 route. A smaller secondary bus station is located at Town Bridge, which serves as a hub for short routes within the town, as well as National Express coach services for destinations including Bristol, Northampton and the South West.
Chippenham railway station is on the Great Western Main Line and is served by services between London Paddington and the West Country via Bristol Temple Meads or Swindon, is famous for its railway arches and other buildings engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as part of the Great Western Railway development. It is served by main line services and a smaller service to Southampton Central via Melksham and Salisbury, it is being electrified to make train times faster from London to the West Country. The original Buttercross, a stone structure, was erected in c. 1570 and stood at the centre of the Shambles, at the current location of Barclays Bank. It was used for the sale of dairy products. In 1889, Mr E. C. Lowndes bought the Buttercross for £6 and re-erected it as a gazebo in the kitchen garden of the Castle Combe Manor House, where it subsequently fell into disrepair; the Buttercross was re-erected in 1995 by the Chippenham Civic Society, funded by many local people and organisations. It stands as the centre-piece of the pedestrianised area of the town centre, where a market is held each Friday and Saturday.
The Yelde Hall is one of few remaining medieval timber framed buildings in the town. It was divided up internally for use as a market hall. Both the hall and its meeting room upstairs were used by the burgess and bailiff for a variety of meetings and trials as well as for Council meetings; the space under the Council Chamber was used as the town gaol. Bird's Marsh is a woodland of about 24 hectares, to the north of the town, it is home to many kinds of wildlife, a popular place for walkers, due to its large size and surrounding countryside. One way into Bird's Marsh is through a field close to the Morrisons supermarket, just south of the roundabout on the A350. There are access points off Hill Corner Road and Jacksom's Lane. Although not a marsh, the ground can be boggy off the well-marked paths. In 2008, developers made a planning enquiry about building 800 homes around the Bird's Marsh area. In 2012, developers won the right to build on this area, despite fierce opposition from resident groups.
In 2013, after nearly five years of campaigning, the protesters achieved partial success. Chippenham's population has grown in recent years to 28,065, an increase of 11% from the 1991 figure of 25,376; this rapid expansion can be attributed to the development of large housing estates such as the large Cepen Park district to the west of the town, the Pewsham development to the east. By 2007 the figure had reached 34,820. Further housing developments progressed, though on a smaller scale. Council projections for 2009 estimated a population of 42,060, the actual figure was 43,880. Projections for 2012 estimated a population of 44,820, would have made Chippenham the highest town population in Wiltshire, with the exception of Swindon, thus larger than Salisbury; the 2011 census revealed this figure to have been exceeded, the census predicts, using a trend-based projection, by 2026, a total mid-year population of 49,340. The Anglo-
A broad-gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge broader than the 1,435 mm standard-gauge railways. Broad gauge was first used in Great Britain in Scotland for two short, isolated lines, the Dundee and Arbroath Railway and the Arbroath and Forfar Railway. Both the lines were built in 5 ft 6 in. Both the lines were subsequently converted to standard gauge and connected to the emerging Scottish rail network; the Great Western Railway, was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, in 1838, with a gauge of 7 ft 1⁄4 in, retained this gauge until 1892. Some harbours used railways of this gauge for construction and maintenance; these included Portland Harbour and Holyhead Breakwater, which used a locomotive for working sidings. As it was not connected to the national network, this broad-gauge operation continued until the locomotive wore out in 1913; the gauge proposed by Brunel was 7 ft but this was soon increased by 1⁄4 in to 7 ft 1⁄4 in to accommodate clearance problems identified during early testing.
While the parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was prepared to authorise lines built to the broad gauge of 7 ft, it was rejected by the Gauge Commission in favour of all new railways in England and Scotland being built to standard gauge of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in, this being the gauge with the greatest mileage. Railways which had received their enabling Act would continue at the 7 ft gauge. Ireland, using the same criteria, was allocated a different standard gauge, the Irish gauge, of 5 ft 3 in, used in the Australian states of South Australia and Victoria. Broad-gauge lines in Britain were converted to dual gauge or standard gauge from 1864, the last of Brunel's broad gauge was converted over a single weekend in 1892. In 1839 the Netherlands started its railway system with two broad-gauge railways; the chosen gauge of 1,945 mm was applied between 1839 and 1866 by the Hollandsche IJzeren Spoorweg-Maatschappij for its Amsterdam–The Hague–Rotterdam line and between 1842 and 1855, firstly by the Dutch state, but soon by the Nederlandsche Rhijnspoorweg-Maatschappij, for its Amsterdam–Utrecht–Arnhem line.
But the neighbouring countries Prussia and Belgium used standard gauge, so the two companies had to regauge their first lines. In 1855, NRS regauged its line and shortly afterwards connected to the Prussian railways; the HSM followed in 1866. There are replicas of one broad-gauge 2-2-2 locomotive and three carriages in the Dutch Railway Museum in Utrecht; these replicas were built for the 100th anniversary of the Dutch Railways in 1938–39. Ireland and some states in Australia and Brazil have a gauge of 5 ft 3 in, but Luas, the Dublin light rail system, is built to standard gauge. Russia and the other former Soviet Republics use a 1,520 mm gauge while Finland continues to use the 5 ft gauge inherited from Imperial Russia. Portugal and the Spanish Renfe system use a gauge of 1,668 mm called Ancho Ibérico in Spanish or Bitola Ibérica in Portuguese. In Toronto, the gauge for TTC subways and streetcars was chosen in 1861. Toronto adopted a unique gauge of 4 ft 10 7⁄8 in, an "overgauge" stated to "allow horse-drawn wagons to use the rails", but with the practical effect of precluding the use of standard-gauge equipment in the street.
The Toronto Transit Commission still operates the Toronto streetcar system and three subway lines on its own unique gauge of 4 ft 10 7⁄8 in. The Scarborough RT, uses standard gauge, as will the future light rail lines of the Transit City plan. In 1851 the 5 ft 6 in broad gauge was adopted as the standard gauge for the Province of Canada, becoming known as the Provincial gauge, government subsidies were unavailable for railways that chose other gauges; this caused problems in interchanging freight cars with northern United States railroads, most of which were built to standard gauge or a gauge similar to it. In the 1870s between 1872 and 1874, Canadian broad-gauge lines were changed to standard gauge to facilitate interchange and the exchange of rolling stock with American railroads. Today, all Canadian railways are standard-gauge. In the early days of rail transport in the US, railways tended to be built out from coastal cities into the hinterland, systems did not connect; each builder was free to choose its own gauge, although the availability of British-built locomotives encouraged some railways to be built to standard gauge.
As a general rule, southern railways were built to one or another broad gauge 5 ft, while northern railroads that were not standard gauge tended to be narrow gauge. Most of the original track in Ohio was built in 4 ft 10 in Ohio gauge, special "compromise cars" were able to run on both this track and standard gauge track. In 1848, Ohio passed a law stating "The width of the track or gauge of all roads under this act, shall be four feet ten inches between the rails." When American railroads' track extended to the point that they began to interconnect, it became clear that a single nationwide gauge was desirable. Six-foot-gauge railroads had developed a large regional following in New York State in the first part of the 19th century, due to the influence of the New York and Erie, one of the early pioneering railroads in
London Paddington station
Paddington known as London Paddington, is a Central London railway terminus and London Underground station complex, located on Praed Street in the Paddington area. The site has been the London terminus of services provided by the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the main line station was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Paddington is the London terminus of the Great Western main line, operated today by Great Western Railway, which provides the majority of commuter and regional passenger services to west London and the Thames Valley region as well as long-distance intercity services to South West England and South Wales, it is the terminus for the Heathrow Express and TfL Rail services to and from Heathrow Airport. It is one of 11 London stations managed directly by Network Rail, it is situated in fare zone 1 and has two separate tube stations providing connections to the Bakerloo, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines. The station has been perennially popular for passengers and goods milk and parcels.
Major upgrades took place in the 1870s, the 1910s and the 1960s, each trying to add additional platforms and space while trying to preserve the existing services and architecture as much as possible. Paddington was first served by London Underground trains in 1863, as the original western terminus of the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground railway. In the 20th century and commuter services appeared at Paddington as the urban sprawl of London moved westwards. Despite the numerous upgrades and rebuilding, plus damage sustained in particular during World War II, Brunel's original design is still recognisable; the station complex is bounded at the front by Praed Street and at the rear by Bishop's Bridge Road, which crosses the station throat on Bishop's Bridge. On the west side of the station is Eastbourne Terrace, while the east side is bounded by the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal; the station is in a shallow cutting, a fact obscured at the front by a hotel building, but which can be seen from the other three sides.
To the north of the station is the Westway, to the northeast is Edgware Road, to the east and southeast is the London Inner Ring Road. The surrounding area is residential, includes the major St Mary's Hospital and hotels; until there was little office accommodation in the area, most commuters interchanged between National Rail and the London Underground to reach workplaces in the West End or the City. However, recent redevelopment of derelict railway and canal land, marketed as Paddington Waterside, has resulted in new office complexes nearby; the station is in London fare zone 1. In addition to the Underground stations at Paddington, Lancaster Gate station on the Central line is a short walk away to the south. A little further to the south lie the conjoined parks of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Several London Buses routes, including Nos. 23 and 205 serve the station. The National Rail station is named London Paddington, a name used outside London but by Londoners, who call it just Paddington, as on the London Underground map.
This same practice applies except London Bridge. Parts of the station, including the main train shed, date from 1854, when it was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as the London terminus for the Great Western Railway, it is one of eleven stations in London managed by Network Rail. After several false starts, Brunel announced the construction of a railway from Bristol to London on 30 July 1833; this became the GWR, he intended it to be the best railway in the country. The GWR had planned to terminate London services at Euston as this allowed them to use part of the London and Birmingham Railway's track into the station, which would have been cost effective; this received government approval in 1835, but was rejected as a long-term solution by Brunel as he was concerned it would allow Liverpool to compete as a port with Bristol if the railway from Birmingham was extended. The first station was a temporary terminus for the GWR on the west side of Bishop's Bridge Road, opened on 4 June 1838; the first GWR service from London to Taplow, near Maidenhead, ran from Paddington in 1838.
After the main station opened, this became the site of the goods depot. Brunel did not consider that anything less than a grand terminus dedicated to the GWR would be acceptable, this was approved in February 1853; the main station between Bishop's Bridge Road and Praed Street was designed by Brunel, enthusiastic at the idea of being able to design a railway station himself, although much of the architectural detailing was by his associate Matthew Digby Wyatt. He took inspiration from the München Hauptbahnhof; the glazed roof is supported by wrought iron arches in three spans spanning 68 feet, 102 feet and 70 feet. The roof is 699 feet long, the original roof spans had two transepts connecting the three spans, it is believed that these were provided by Brunel to accommodate traversers to carry coaches between the tracks within the station. However recent research, using early documents and photographs, does not seem to support this belief, their actual purpose is unknown; the original station used four platforms, 27-foot -wide and 24-foot-6-inch -wide departure platforms, a 21-foot arrival platform, a 47-foot combined arrival platform and cab road.
A series of nineteen turnplates were sited beyond the ends of the platforms for horse and coach traffic. The first GWR service from the new station departed on 16 January 1854, though the roof had not been finished at this point a
Bath Spa railway station
Bath Spa railway station is the principal station serving the city of Bath in South West England. It is on the Great Western Main Line, 106 miles 71 chains down the line from London Paddington between Chippenham to the east and Oldfield Park to the west, its three-letter station code is BTH. The station is managed by Great Western Railway, is served by trains operated by CrossCountry, Great Western Railway and South Western Railway. Bath Spa station was built in 1840 for the Great Western Railway by Brunel and is a Grade II* listed building, it is in an asymmetrical Tudor style with curving gables on the north bank of the Avon where the line curves across from the southern bank to the station and back again. Opened on 31 August 1840, the station was named Bath and was renamed Bath Spa in 1949 to distinguish it from Bath Green Park station, which did not have its name altered from Bath until 1951. A convenient feature for passengers was ramps that led up to both platforms, giving the disabled and those with luggage easy access from the platforms to cars or taxis.
In 2011 the northern ramp was removed in a redevelopment. A footbridge leads from the station across the Avon allowing direct access to the Widcombe area, it was tolled, known locally as the Ha'penny Bridge. The station has wide spacing between the platforms because it was built with two broad gauge carriage sidings between the platform lines; the hammerbeam roof that covered the area between the platforms when the station was built was removed in 1897 when the station was remodelled with longer platforms. A three-track goods shed was built west of the station, to the north of the main track. In 1877 a goods depot was built about 500 metres to the west at Westmoreland and the goods shed was demolished for the station remodelling in 1897. All Bath's rail services run through Bath Spa station; the station has regular inter-city services to London Paddington via Swindon and Chippenham and to Bristol Temple Meads. The station is served hourly by the Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour and Gloucester and Bristol to Westbury and Weymouth regional trains.
A limited service to London Waterloo via Salisbury and Basingstoke operated by South Western Railway, which operates three direct services per day Monday-Saturday and two on Sunday. An early morning Basingstoke to Bristol Temple Meads service calls at Bath Spa. A late-evening Bristol Temple Meads to Salisbury service is the last train of the day to Warminster railway station and Salisbury. Services are operated by British Rail Class 159 units, although British Rail Class 158 units have been used. Since the May 2010 timetable started, an early morning CrossCountry service to Glasgow Central via Bristol, Sheffield, Leeds and Edinburgh starts at Bath, it does not run at weekends. It arrives in Glasgow at 14:12. There is no southbound return service; the steam-hauled Torbay Express calls at Bath on certain Sundays between September. It was first run in summer 2014 when engineering works between Bristol and Taunton closed the line and it was diverted via Bath and Westbury and proved so popular that since the 2015 season some of these services call at Bath each year.
Since privatisation Great Western Railway has managed Bath Spa. In 2005 the company obtained listed building consent for alterations to the building, including the installation of lifts to the platforms. Ticket barriers have been installed. Other developments started in 2011 to integrate the station with the new Bath bus station and SouthGate shopping centre, redevelop some of the station car park and northern ramp into a restaurant complex at a cost of £12 million. There are plans to adapt some arches at the station to encourage retail use. Bath Spa won awards for Best Medium-Sized Station and Overall Best Station at the 2013 International Station Awards; the station was modified in April 2017 for the Great Western Main Line electrification project. Because of its listed status, the platform canopies could not be cut back to fit overhead electrification equipment on the alignment and so the platforms were widened so that future electrification masts could be installed between the tracks.. The work reduced the gap between train and platform.
The only other open station in Bath is Oldfield Park, a small commuter station in a western suburb, with limited services to Bristol and to Bath Spa, onward stations. Former stations now closed in Bath were Green Park and Weston. Westmoreland Road was a GWR goods station. Twerton-on-Avon, Hampton Row Halt, both on the GWR route, closed in 1917 as a World War I economy measure. Slow motion video of Bath Spa
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid. The steam engine uses the force produced by steam pressure to push a piston back and forth inside a cylinder; this pushing force is transformed, into rotational force for work. The term "steam engine" is applied only to reciprocating engines as just described, not to the steam turbine. Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separated from the combustion products; the ideal thermodynamic cycle used to analyze this process is called the Rankine cycle. In general usage, the term steam engine can refer to either complete steam plants such as railway steam locomotives and portable engines, or may refer to the piston or turbine machinery alone, as in the beam engine and stationary steam engine. Steam-driven devices were known as early as the aeliopile in the first century AD, with a few other uses recorded in the 16th and 17th century. Thomas Savery's dewatering pump used steam pressure operating directly on water.
The first commercially-successful engine that could transmit continuous power to a machine was developed in 1712 by Thomas Newcomen. James Watt made a critical improvement by removing spent steam to a separate vessel for condensation improving the amount of work obtained per unit of fuel consumed. By the 19th century, stationary steam engines powered the factories of the Industrial Revolution. Steam engines replaced sail for ships, steam locomotives operated on the railways. Reciprocating piston type steam engines were the dominant source of power until the early 20th century, when advances in the design of electric motors and internal combustion engines resulted in the replacement of reciprocating steam engines in commercial usage. Steam turbines replaced reciprocating engines in power generation, due to lower cost, higher operating speed, higher efficiency; the first recorded rudimentary steam-powered "engine" was the aeolipile described by Hero of Alexandria, a mathematician and engineer in Roman Egypt in the first century AD.
In the following centuries, the few steam-powered "engines" known were, like the aeolipile experimental devices used by inventors to demonstrate the properties of steam. A rudimentary steam turbine device was described by Taqi al-Din in Ottoman Egypt in 1551 and by Giovanni Branca in Italy in 1629. Jerónimo de Ayanz y Beaumont received patents in 1606 for 50 steam powered inventions, including a water pump for draining inundated mines. Denis Papin, a Huguenot refugee, did some useful work on the steam digester in 1679, first used a piston to raise weights in 1690; the first commercial steam-powered device was a water pump, developed in 1698 by Thomas Savery. It used condensing steam to create a vacuum which raised water from below and used steam pressure to raise it higher. Small engines were effective, they were prone to boiler explosions. Savery's engine was used in mines, pumping stations and supplying water to water wheels that powered textile machinery. Savery engine was of low cost. Bento de Moura Portugal introduced an improvement of Savery's construction "to render it capable of working itself", as described by John Smeaton in the Philosophical Transactions published in 1751.
It continued to be manufactured until the late 18th century. One engine was still known to be operating in 1820; the first commercially-successful engine that could transmit continuous power to a machine, was the atmospheric engine, invented by Thomas Newcomen around 1712. It improved on Savery's steam pump. Newcomen's engine was inefficient, used for pumping water, it worked by creating a partial vacuum by condensing steam under a piston within a cylinder. It was employed for draining mine workings at depths hitherto impossible, for providing reusable water for driving waterwheels at factories sited away from a suitable "head". Water that passed over the wheel was pumped up into a storage reservoir above the wheel. In 1720 Jacob Leupold described a two-cylinder high-pressure steam engine; the invention was published in his major work "Theatri Machinarum Hydraulicarum". The engine used two heavy pistons to provide motion to a water pump; each piston was returned to its original position by gravity.
The two pistons shared a common four way rotary valve connected directly to a steam boiler. The next major step occurred when James Watt developed an improved version of Newcomen's engine, with a separate condenser. Boulton and Watt's early engines used half as much coal as John Smeaton's improved version of Newcomen's. Newcomen's and Watt's early engines were "atmospheric", they were powered by air pressure pushing a piston into the partial vacuum generated by condensing steam, instead of the pressure of expanding steam. The engine cylinders had to be large because the only usable force acting on them was atmospheric pressure. Watt developed his engine further, modifying it to provide a rotary motion suitable for driving machinery; this enabled factories to be sited away from rivers, accelerated the pace of the Industrial Revolution. The meaning of high pressure, together with an actual value above ambient, depends on the era in which the term was used. For early use of the term Van Reimsdijk refers to steam being at a sufficiently high pressure that it could be exhausted to atmosphere without reliance on a vacuum to enable it to perform useful work.
Ewing states that Watt's condensing engines were known, at the time, as low pressure compared to high pressure, non-condensing engines of the same period. Watt's patent prevented others from making high pres