The Way We Were: Pre-Fa­rina ac­tion in Bournemouth, 1965

It’s a busy scene at the Bournemouth West ter­mi­nus, yet this rail­way sta­tion was only a week from clo­sure

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - RICHARD GUNN RICHARD GUNN joined CCW in 2000. Now a free­lancer, he has al­ways main­tained his con­nec­tion with the news­pa­per that started his ca­reer.


s thriv­ing as this scene may look, it was about to abruptly, and some­what un­ex­pect­edly, dis­ap­pear for­ever. This is Bournemouth West sta­tion (then in Hamp­shire, now part of Dorset), the south­ern ter­mi­nus of the much-loved Som­er­set and Dorset (S&D) Rail­way from Bath, and the fi­nal des­ti­na­tion of the fa­mous

Bournemouth Belle and The Pines Ex­press.

But fi­nal­ity was about to catch up with the sta­tion in other ways for, less than a week af­ter this shot, Bournemouth West would close to pas­sen­ger ser­vices, on 6 Septem­ber 1965, af­ter 91 years of op­er­a­tion.

The move was meant to be tem­po­rary, while the South West­ern Main Line be­tween Water­loo and Bournemouth was elec­tri­fied. But ex­pe­ri­ence proved the town’s Cen­tral sta­tion could han­dle all the rail­way traf­fic and West never re-opened.

Ea­gle-eyed read­ers will spot the new Bri­tish Rail ‘cor­po­rate iden­tity’ style timeta­bles un­der the canopy, topped by the ‘dou­ble ar­row’ logo launched on 1 Jan­uary 1965. This also her­alded the re­paint of rolling stock into uni­form blue and grey. Are the chalk­board no­tices in front of them broad­cast­ing the clo­sure?

Else­where, the old Bri­tish Rail­ways South­ern Re­gion green sig­nage holds sway, in­clud­ing, on the left, an ad­vert for Good­wood. In this case, it’s horse rac­ing, but any of the ve­hi­cles here would be wel­come at the Chich­ester lo­ca­tion’s sub­se­quent big gath­er­ing, the Re­vival. Only a mere 33 years to wait for the first...

Start­ing from the left is what would be a very de­sir­able cir­cuit taxi, a brand new Austin Cam­bridge A60 Coun­try­man, an es­tate which man­aged to re­tain the fins of the saloon. It thus clung on to a tra­di­tional el­e­gance its con­tem­po­rary slab-ended load­lug­gers couldn’t quite muster.

Also big on el­e­gance is the Jaguar Mk1 next door. ‘TOT2’ is a 1957-1959 3.4-litre, judg­ing by its cut­away rear spats. Af­ter the mo­tor­cy­cle – un­doubt­edly Bri­tish – is an­other spank­ing new Austin, this time a Mini. Lack of bumper over­rid­ers sug­gests ‘FLA 513C’ is a base-spec ver­sion, but it’s still the sec­ond show­room-fresh car here. Bournemouth was, and still is, a very af­flu­ent place. Like the ve­hi­cles along­side it, this no longer sur­vives.

A 1956-59 Mor­ris Ox­ford Se­ries III oc­cu­pies the first spot in the ad­ja­cent row, con­ve­niently for­get­ting the white-lined area is for taxis only. Prob­a­bly feel­ing a slight sense of su­pe­ri­or­ity is the owner of its neigh­bour­ing Fa­rina suc­ces­sor, also ig­nor­ing the park­ing re­stric­tions as he ex­its his more mod­ern Mor­ris. Still, Fari­nas were al­ways pop­u­lar mini­cabs in the days be­fore Nis­sans took over, and a gen­uine taxi ex­am­ple is next, wear­ing Austin badges.

Boost­ing the taxi fleet are two Vaux­halls, a 1960-62 Velox PA and its re­place­ment, a 1962-65 PB in the more lux­u­ri­ous Cresta form. Fi­nally, an­other BMC Fa­rina book­ends the line. Nowa­days, lo­cal Bournemouth taxis have to be yel­low, but back in the 1960s, only the lo­cal cor­po­ra­tion buses were this vi­brant shade. Would cit­rus shades re­ally suit Pin­in­fa­rina’s sharp BMC lines?

Bournemouth West was soon de­mol­ished. It’s now, oh irony of ironies, a car and coach park. It’s also one of the places I used to play as a kid in the 1970s, my par­ents liv­ing just down the road. It helped kick­start my fas­ci­na­tion with the S&D that con­tin­ues to this day.

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