Worle railway station
Worle railway station, on the Bristol to Exeter Line, serves the Worle, West Wick and St Georges suburbs of Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, England. It is 16 miles (26 km) west of Bristol Temple Meads railway station, and 134 miles (216 km) from London Paddington. Its three-letter station code is WOR. It was opened in 1990 by British Rail. The station, which has two platforms, is managed by Great Western Railway, the seventh company to be responsible for the station, and the third franchise since privatisation in 1997. They provide all train services at the station, mainly hourly services between Bristol Parkway and Weston-super-Mare, and between Cardiff Central and Taunton. The station's car park was significantly expanded in 2013, by the building of a completely new, North Somerset Council owned and operated car park (with different payment terms) on the opposite side of the line, with a bus interchange built at the same time, meaning a similar facility comprising bus-only barriers and a waiting stand which was never fully commissioned within the relatively recently refurbished franchisee side (car park managed by Acpoa) is largely redundant.
A CrossCountry train passes west through Worle in 2012.
|Local authority||North Somerset|
|Managed by||Great Western Railway|
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Original company||British Rail|
|Opened||24 September 1990|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Worle from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
The line through Worle is not electrified, but there is significant local support for it to be electrified as part of the 21st-century modernisation of the Great Western Main Line, partly motivated by worries that unless the line is electrified, Weston-super-Mare will lose direct services to London.
Worle railway station is located in the east of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, serving the suburbs of Worle, West Wick and St Georges. The surrounding area is primarily residential, but with several commercial developments, including the Worle Parkway office development next to the station. The station is located just off the B3440 Bristol Road, near the M5 motorway junction 21 and the A370. There is a car park on the north, east and south sides of the station. The station is on the Bristol to Exeter Line, 16 miles 11 chains (26.0 km) from Bristol Temple Meads and 134 miles 42 chains (216.5 km) from London Paddington (via Chippenham).[note 1] It is the fifth station along the line from Bristol Temple Meads. The station is oriented along an axis at 57 degrees to the meridian.
There are two platforms, on either side of the two tracks through the station. The southern platform, platform 1, serves westbound trains (towards Weston-super-Mare and Taunton); the northern platform, platform 2, serves eastbound trains (towards Bristol). Both platforms are 100 metres (110 yd) long. The line through the station has a speed limit of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), and is not electrified. Access between the platforms is via an open footbridge with long, sloped ramps for step-free access. Ticket machines are available, and a small ticket office operates during the weekday morning peak, but the station is otherwise unstaffed. Help points are provided, allowing travellers to ask questions of a call centre. There are metal and glass waiting shelters on both platforms – two on the eastbound platform and one on the westbound. Most recently, improved lighting and CCTV has been provided and for the first time since construction, electronic train arrival boards with automated voice announcements have been provided on both platforms and also a silent, less detailed digital arrivals / departures board adjacent to the ticket office.
49 chains (0.99 km) west of the station is Worle Junction, where the single-track loop line to Weston-super-Mare diverges from the main line towards Taunton. The next station west along the loop is Weston Milton, the next station west on the main line is Highbridge & Burnham. The next station east of Worle is Yatton.
The station is managed by Great Western Railway, who operate all rail services from the station. The basic service consists of two trains in each direction per hour: one is the Bristol Parkway to Weston-super-Mare service, calling at all stations; the second is the faster Cardiff Central to Taunton service, non-stop between Bristol Temple Meads and Nailsea & Backwell, Worle and Weston-super-Mare. Some westbound services are extended to Exeter St Davids or Plymouth. There is one service to Avonmouth on weekday evenings. Each Sunday there are two services to and from the Severn Beach Line. During summer months these terminate at Severn Beach; the rest of the year only one does, the other terminating at Avonmouth. The typical journey time to Bristol Temple Meads is 25 minutes, to Weston-super-Mare is 8 minutes.
Services between London Paddington and Weston-super-Mare call at Worle in the early morning and evening, running non-stop between Bristol Temple Meads and Nailsea and Backwell. From Monday to Friday there are four morning services and one evening service to London, with seven services from London, all in the evening. One service from London is extended to Taunton, and another to Penzance. Saturday sees two services to London, all in the morning, and three services from London, all in the evening – one is extended to Exeter St Davids, another to Plymouth. There are five services to and six from London on Sundays, spread throughout the day, with one service extended to Taunton and another to Exeter. All trains call at Weston-super-Mare westbound, and at Yatton and Nailsea and Backwell eastbound, but not all stop at Weston Milton. The typical journey time to London is 2 hours 15 minutes.
The local services described above are formed using Class 150, 153, 158 and 166 diesel multiple-unit trains. Services to and from London are formed of Class 800s, which are longer than the station, so passengers in the front carriages have to move to a different carriage to get out. Passengers are prevented from getting out onto the tracks by a selective door-opening system.
CrossCountry services pass through the station throughout the day, operating services between Cornwall and Scotland, but do not stop. Occasional Great Western Railway intercity services between London and Weston-super-Mare or Taunton and Exeter also pass through non-stop.
The line through Worle saw its first use on 14 June 1841, when the first section of the Bristol and Exeter Railway's (B&ER) main line between Bristol and Bridgwater was opened. The line, engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was built as 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad-gauge but was reconstructed as a mixed-gauge line to accommodate local 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)-gauge traffic by 1 June 1875. Services were operated by the Great Western Railway (GWR) on behalf of the B&ER until 1 May 1849. The B&ER then took over its own workings until the company was amalgamated into the GWR on 1 January 1876. Broad-gauge trains ceased operation on 20 May 1892. When the railways were nationalised by the Transport Act 1947, the line became part of the Western Region of British Railways.
The modern Worle railway station is the fourth station to serve Worle. The first station, 47 chains (0.95 km) east of the modern station, was opened in 1841 as Banwell and was known as Worle from 1869 to 1884, then as Puxton and Worle from 1922 until closure in 1964. From 1884 to 1922, there was a station called Worle on the loop line to Weston-super-Mare, 60 chains (1.2 km) west of the modern station. There was also a station on the nearby Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Light Railway, which was known as Worle from 1897 to 1913, then as Worle (Moor Lane) until 1917, and as Worle Town until closure in 1940.
The station at Worle was developed as a joint initiative between British Rail and Avon County Council. It cost £700,000 and was built using lightweight construction materials due to being sited on marshy ground. The station was opened on 24 September 1990 by Councillor Betty Perry, the chair of Avon Council. The first train was a westbound Regional Railways service, operated by Class 150 Sprinter DMU 150270. All services were local ones – no scheduled intercity services would call at Worle until 2007.
Upon the privatisation of British Rail in 1997, services were franchised to Wales & West, which was in turn succeeded in 2001 by Wessex Trains, an arm of National Express. The Wessex franchise was amalgamated with the Great Western franchise into the Greater Western franchise from 2006, and responsibility passed to First Great Western, a subsidiary company of FirstGroup, which was later rebranded Great Western Railway. Great Western Railway services to and from London Paddington started calling at Worle in 2007. Due to the trains being longer than the platforms, a selective door opening system was used to prevent passengers opening doors which were not adjacent to the platform.
In 2012, plans to enhance the station's facilities were approved by the Department for Transport. The works, part of a large transport scheme called the Weston Package, included construction of a new council run car park containing 320 spaces on the South side of the station, better facilities for cyclists and motorcyclists, and a bus interchange. A bus link to the nearby Queensway retail park was also included in the scheme. The expansion took over unused land to the east and south of the station, and required the removal of slowworms and grass snakes to a nature reserve in Cheddar. The work, which started in April 2013, was completed later the same year with the new car park opening on 3 September 2013.
Worle has had a large number of incidents of railway vandalism and antisocial behaviour, and the stretch of line through Worle is considered one of the most vandalised in the United Kingdom – obstructions have been left on the line and stones have being thrown at railway staff. There have been several incidents of train guards being attacked by passengers who refused to pay their fares, including one incident where the guard was dragged from the train and knocked to the ground. Vandals have also damaged the station's ticket machines, attacked passengers and slashed the tyres of cars parked at the station.
|Preceding station||Historical railways||Following station|
Bristol to Exeter Line
|Wales & West
Bristol to Exeter Line
Bristol to Exeter Line
First Great Western declined a contractual option to continue the Greater Western passenger franchise (of which services at Worle are a part) beyond 2013, citing a desire for a longer-term contract due to the impending upgrade to the Great Western Main Line. The franchise was put out to tender, but the process was halted and later scrapped due to the fallout from the collapse of the InterCity West Coast franchise competition. A two-year franchise extension until September 2015 was agreed in October 2013, and subsequently extended until March 2019.
With the impending upgrade, the main line from London to Bristol is due to be electrified. However, the electrification will not extend beyond Bristol to Weston-super-Mare, so Worle will continue to be served by diesel trains. This could entail the removal of direct London services, as electric trains would not be able to operate beyond Bristol. Services could however continue using bi-mode trains. The group Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways supports the electrification continuing to Weston, as does MP for Weston-super-Mare John Penrose. Local services will still be diesel-operated, with "Sprinter" units expected to be replaced by Class 165 and 166 "Turbo" units.
Worle is on the Weston-super-Mare/Yate corridor, one of the main axes of the Greater Bristol Metro, a rail transport plan which aims to enhance capacity in the Bristol area. The plan calls for longer and newer trains to prevent overcrowding.
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Media related to Worle railway station at Wikimedia Commons