Station Name: BLACK DOG HALT

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 3.11.1863 (private) 15.9.1952 (public)
Location: On the south side of the Black Dog Hill (A4)
Company on opening: Calne Railway
Date closed to passengers: 20.9.1965
Date closed completely: 20.9.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (Western Region)
Present state: The short passenger platform survives although now partly buried. Part of the back wall of the platform building also survived. The station nameboard has been resturned to the platform although not mounted in its original position. The goods platform also survives as does the stationmaster's house which is now a private residence. The bridge over the A4 to the north of the station has been replaced by a modern footbridge.
County: Wiltshire
OS Grid Ref: ST982708
Date of visit: 20.5.2006

Notes: A private station was opened at Black Dog Siding on about 3rd November 1863 for Lord Lansdowne. There were no restrictions on the use of the station by the public but it did not appear in a public timetable until 15th September 1952 and until that date anyone wishing to travel to the station had to buy a ticket to Calne. In 1898 the GWR requested that Lord Lansdowne should allow a nameboard showing Black Dog Station to be mounted on the platform but permission was refused.

The station was provided with a long goods platform served by a single siding and ground frame. This was often used by Lord Lansdown for the temporary transfer of valuables to his London residence.

During WW1 a top level war cabinet meeting took place in a carriage berthed in the siding. At the time a military unit was stationed in outbuildings opposite the station.

In 1950 the station house was sold and was later converted into a modern bungalow. On 1st February 1960 Black Dog became an unstaffed halt; the siding was last used by a local coal merchant on 1st November 1963 and was lifted shortly afterwards.

The short passenger platform was on the west side of the line, it was provided with a substantial timber building incorporating several rooms and a waiting shelter, this survived until 1967 when the track was lifted.


The railway was originally brought to Calne by the inability of the once-prosperous Calne branch of the Wilts and Berks Canal to cope efficiently with the requirements of local industry. As demand grew across the country for products from the Harris Bacon Factory, Calne's main employer at the time, it became clear that a modern transport system was needed.

On 8th November 1859, the first meeting to discuss opening a branch line from the GWR at Chippenham to Calne was held. The Calne Railway Company was formed and Parliament granted the necessary Act on 15th May 1860.

With no tunnels required, the construction of the line was simple and was built in the broad gauge of 7' 0½" opening to freight traffic on 29th October 1863.

The line was then opened to passengers from 3rd November, 1863, an unofficial holiday in Calne. From the start the service was operated by the Great Western Railway on behalf of the Calne Railway Company.

Initially there were no intermediate stations on the line but a private station was opened at Black Dog Siding for Lord Lansdowne in 1863 and a halt was opened at Stanley Bridge in 1905 with the introduction of steam railcars onto the branch. In August 1874 the line was converted to standard gauge. The independent Calne Railway Company was absorbed into the GWR in 1892.
Both fright and passenger traffic was good and continued to improve through the later years of the 19th century and in 1895 the terminus at Calne underwent extensive renovations and enlargement. The steam railcars were withdrawn from the branch in the mid 1930's.

The passenger station was used during WW2 to transport both servicemen and equipment to the Royal Air Force bases at Compton Bassett and Yatesbury and the goods station also saw increased trade with an increase in coal traffic, fuel for the RAF stations and animal feeds and grain for the local millers. The line had two near misses during German bombing raids in
the Second World War, when bombs fell close to the station and the tracks.

The line was still producing a good profit in the 1950s. Figures for the year ending September 1952, showed an income of more than £150,000, with 300,000 passengers. However, as the Harris factory began to use the roads to transport more of its products, the railway began to see a drop in revenue. DMU's were brought onto the line in September 1958.

Following the closures of the RAF stations at Yatesbury and Compton Bassett, passenger numbers diminished rapidly and by late 1963, freight services had been cut to one a weekday, while Sunday passenger services had been withdrawn. Freight services were withdrawn on 2nd November 1964 and the end was inevitable with Calne finally losing its passenger service during the Beeching cuts closing on 18th September 1965.

Most of track was lifted between Easter and June 1967 leaving just a short section near the junction which was used as a siding. By 1972 a section of the track had been opened up to the public as the Marden Nature Trail and today most of the 6 mile route between Chippenham and Calne is part of the National Cycle Network and known as the Chippenham/Calne Railway Path.

Sources: Swindon Advertiser and 'The Calne Branch" by G Tanner published by Oxford Publishing Company 1972 ISBN 902088 0 72

To see the other stations on the Calne Railway click on the station name: Calne
& Stanley Bridge Halt

Black Dog Halt and siding in September 1938 - the edge of the goods platform
can just be seen far right
Copyright p
hoto from John Alsop collection

Demolition of the station building at Black Dog halt in 1967
Photo by Wiltshire Newspapers

Black Dog Halt in May 2006. The nameboard was originally mounted on the front of the station building.
hoto by Nick Catford

Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Nick Catford]

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