Chippenham railway station

Chippenham National Rail

The station buildings, seen from the south west. Front of the station.
Place Chippenham
Local authority County of Wiltshire
Coordinates 51°27′45″N 2°06′55″W / 51.4625°N 2.1154°W / 51.4625; -2.1154Coordinates: 51°27′45″N 2°06′55″W / 51.4625°N 2.1154°W / 51.4625; -2.1154
Grid reference ST920737
Station code CPM
Managed by Great Western Railway
Owned by Network Rail
Number of platforms 2
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2010/11 Increase 1.654 million
– Interchange  Increase 8,996
2011/12 Increase 1.751 million
– Interchange  Decrease 2,124
2012/13 Decrease 1.747 million
– Interchange  Increase 3,431
2013/14 Increase 1.826 million
– Interchange  Increase 22,376
2014/15 Increase 1.896 million
– Interchange  Increase 27,497
Original company Great Western Railway
Pre-grouping Great Western Railway
Post-grouping Great Western Railway
31 May 1841 Opened
National Rail – UK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Chippenham from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Chippenham railway station is a main line railway station, serving the market town of Chippenham in Wiltshire, South West England. The station is owned by Network Rail and is managed by Great Western Railway (who are the only company to operate at the station).

The station lies on the Great Western Main Line and connects to the Wessex Main Line via Melksham. It is situated between Swindon and Bath Spa, and is served by Great Western Railway main line InterCity services between Bristol Temple Meads, and London Paddington, and a smaller Great Western Railway local service that runs between Swindon and Southampton Central, via Chippenham and Melksham over the northern end of the former Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway.

Only two platforms at the station are now in use; the platform by the main entrance is now disused.


The main line of the Great Western Railway (GWR) was authorised in 1835, and opened in stages.[1] The section between Hay Lane and Chippenham opened on 31 May 1841.[2][3] The final section of the GWR main line, between Chippenham and Bath, opened on 30 June 1841.[4]

Chippenham was soon served by other lines. The Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway (WS&WR) was authorised in 1845 and the first section opened on 5 September 1848; this ran from Thingley Junction, west of Chippenham, to Westbury, and the WS&WR was absorbed by the GWR in 1851.[5][6] The Calne Railway was authorised in 1860 and opened on 3 November 1863; this company remained independent for some years, until absorbed by the GWR in 1892.[7][8]

Station entrance (1989)

In 1858 the station was expanded and included a goods shed and an engine shed.[9] A railway connection was laid to Chippenham Gas Works in 1906. This connection closed in 1932. Chippenham engine shed closed in March 1964 and services on the Calne branch stopped in 1965. Chippenham East and West signal boxes closed on 21 August 1966. As from 1 February 1976 the original down platform was taken out of use and services heading west used the south side of the island platform.[10]

It was also the junction for a GWR branch line to Calne from 1863 until its closure as part of the 'Beeching Axe in 1965.


The original station building at Chippenham was built to Isambard Kingdom Brunel's design and opened in 1841.[11] With the subsequent opening of new lines to Salisbury and Weymouth, the station was not adequate to meet the increased demand and was redesigned by J H Bertram in 1856 to 1858; it is a grade II listed building, constructed in Bath Stone Ashlar with a bay window at one end and a wing at the other making a long, low composition.[12]

In the station yard, there is another grade II listed building partly in random stone but mainly weather-boarded on a timber frame with a pitched slate roof. It is an early weighbridge house and coal merchant's office dating to around 1840.

Platform view in 1989

Immediately west of the station lies the grade II listed Chippenham viaduct designed by Brunel in 1841. The first arch, over New Road, appears to have been modelled on the Roman triumphal arch. It has a 26-foot (8 m) span and is flanked by two smaller pedestrian arches of 10 feet (3 m). All is surmounted by a heavy cornice and parapet. The north side is constructed from Bath Stone Ashlar with some brick patching while the south side is in blue brick following widening in the early 1900s.[13]

Platform 1 is used for westbound Great Western Main Line services towards Bristol Temple Meads, The West Country, South Wales and is also used for Wessex Main Line services towards Southampton Central. Platform 2 is used for eastbound services towards London Paddington and Cheltenham Spa. On the disused platform there is cycle storage, seating area and café.[10]


In 2004, the station was given an award to recognise their safety and security. The award, which lasted for 2 years, was given to the station as a passenger survey concluded that 98% of the passenger traffic through Chippenham said they felt 'safe' or 'very safe' whilst on the premises. The station is monitored by 24-hour CCTV and is alarmed.[14]


A First Great Western service from London

The station has frequent eastbound services to London Paddington; and westbound services to Bristol, Bath, Devon, Taunton, and South Wales. Currently, these trains run every half an hour in both directions and extensions to stations further afield westbound are made regularly.[15]

The service on the branch to Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury has been significantly improved from the December 2013 timetable change, with the former twice-daily (once per day on Sundays) frequency increased to every two hours each way on weekdays and five each way on Sundays.[16] Two southbound trains continue through to Southampton Central (on weekdays only), whilst two in the other direction run through to Cheltenham Spa.

Chippenham station connects to the Wessex Main Line via Melksham.

There was a proposal in 2010 from Go-Op to run a service from Birmingham Moor Street, via Oxford and Swindon, to Yeovil, which would call at Chippenham. This would avoid passengers having to change at Didcot or Reading. The company planned to start running services by December 2011,[17] but no firm announcements have been made since.

Preceding station National Rail Following station
Bath Spa   Great Western Railway
London - Bristol
Melksham   Great Western Railway
Wessex Main Line
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
  Great Western Railway
Great Western Main Line
  Christian Malford Halt
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Terminus   BR (Western Region)
Chippenham and Calne Line
  Stanley Bridge Halt


There are plans to electrify the Great Western Main Line by 2016, which would introduce faster and larger capacity 'Super Express' trains on the line, resulting in reduced journey times.[18]

Chippenham is one of many stations that will be improved as part of the 'Access for All scheme' (AfA). When fully completed in 2016, it will assist disabled and less abled passengers to catch services more easily, with the installation of lifts, new accessible foot bridges and tactile paving.[19]

Engineering works

Immediately to the north of the station itself is an engineering works, originally founded to support the Great Western Railway, and now supplying equipment to the worldwide rail industry. It was founded in 1842 by Rowland Brotherhood and, as of 2008, is occupied by Invensys Rail Systems and its UK manufacturing subsidiary, Westinghouse Rail Systems. For most of its life, it manufactured railway air braking systems and railway signalling.[20]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chippenham railway station.
  1. MacDermot, E.T. (1927). History of the Great Western Railway, vol. I: 1833-1863. Paddington: Great Western Railway. p. 25.
  2. MacDermot 1927, p. 124
  3. Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 60. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
  4. MacDermot 1927, p. 131
  5. Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. London: Guild Publishing. p. 52. CN 8983.
  6. MacDermot 1927, p. 286
  7. MacDermot, E.T. (1931). History of the Great Western Railway, vol. II: 1863-1921. Paddington: Great Western Railway. p. 6. OCLC 55853736.
  8. Awdry 1990, p. 20
  9. Daniel, John (April 2013). "A Selection of Great Western Stations". The Great Western Archive. Chippenham. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  10. 1 2 TransWilts Community Rail Partnership (2009). "The "TransWilts" - Some key facts". Melksham, Wilts: Self. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  11. Beckett, Derrick (2006). Brunel's Britain. David & Charles. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-7153-2360-1.
  12. Clark, R H (1981). An Historic Survey of Selected Great Western Stations, volume 3.
  13. Biddle, Gordon (2003). Britain's Historic Railway Buildings: an Oxford Gazetteer of Structures and Sites. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866247-1.
  14. "Chippenham railway station receives national award for security" (Press release). First Great Western. 21 December 2004. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  15. "First Great Western Trains". Services near the bottom. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  16. Table 123 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  17. "Co-operative train operator planning route from Birmingham to south and west". Birmingham Post. 2 May 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  18. "Network Specification 2011 - Western". Network Rail. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  19. "Timeline: Access for All stations list". Network Rail. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  20. Timeline from Chippenham Town Council website. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
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